Problems and Irritants

Here's where I list some of the things that disturb or irritate me -- ranging from conflicts of interest to smiley faces. This is also where I probably alienate many of my visitors.

Appearance Over Substance
Putting appearance over substance is a tremendous problem -- in government, in business, and in society at large. Society's emphasis on political correctness is an example.

Loss of Common Sense
Evidences of this problem are everywhere. Judges often rule on pedantic technicalities rather than on the intent of the law. Congress frequently passes laws that feel good or sound good, but that have far more negative results than positive ones. Children are suspended from schools for breaking asinine Zero Tolerance rules. Foreseeable consequences of proposed rules should be considered carefully prior to enacting any new law, regulation, or policy.

Conflicts of Interest
Conflicts of interest create some of the worst problems in this country. Here are some examples. Congress both levies taxes and determines how those taxes are spent. Lawyers initiate outrageous suits and benefit by being paid a percentage of the settlement. The Internal Revenue Service interprets tax law and collects taxes. Politicians are paid well to govern our country, yet they spend a large percentage of their time seeking funds and campaigning rather than doing what they're being paid to do.

News with a Spin
Reporters should convey the facts of news items as objectively as possible. Instead they use stories to provoke, horrify, or brainwash. The viewer (or reader) is seldom offered unbiased information with which to form his own opinions. I am always surprised by how blatantly network news shows try to propagate fear.

Aggressive Marketing
We are all victims of irritating, aggressive marketing in various forms. Here's one example. Commercial television stations have relentlessly escalated the intrusiveness of advertising. There used to be short advertisements every fifteen minutes. Then they started making it so the advertisements were louder than the shows. Then the frequency and length of advertisements was increased. I recently watched a movie on a commercial channel, performed some calculations after it was over, and was amazed that more than one fourth of the time was advertising. Now many stations have started showing advertisements on the screen while the show is playing. I wonder how far this trend will continue?

Religion
I have never understood why people participate in religious behavior. I have never felt that need. If a person is good, it seems irrelevant with which god he is affiliated. Which god a person believes in is largely due to the culture in which the person was born and raised. I am skeptical of claims that one culture's belief is in some way more valid than another's.

Purchased Beauty
There's a pervasive perception that people are more attractive who have superficially enhanced their bodies with wigs, makeup, breast implants, jewelry, tattoos, etc. I find people who are comfortable with their natural appearance to be more attractive.

Policies Based on Emotional Reactions
I encountered a good example of this problem at my bank's 24-hour ATM. A sign had been posted forbidding concealed weapons on the premises. What does the bank's management intend? The penalty for armed robbery is several years in prison. The penalty for carrying a concealed weapon where a sign forbids it, is a fine of $200. A criminal willing to risk years of imprisonment for armed robbery will not be deterred by the threat of a $200 fine. So the result of the sign is simply to disarm the law-abiding customers. And since robbers prefer unarmed targets to armed targets, the sign actually increases the likelihood of a robbery. The sign invites robbers by announcing that law-abiding customers are disarmed. I feel like bait every time I use the ATM.

Other obvious examples are the excessive reactionary mentalities associated with anti-drug and anti-smoking campaigns. Why aren't other self-destructive activities singled out? Sunbathing increases skin cancer, yet we glorify tans. Overeaters contribute to high death rates from obesity-related illnesses, yet all-you-can-eat buffets are prevalent.

Other Objectionable Items Worth Mentioning:
Buzzwords
Smiley Faces (purposeful emoticons are okay)
Rejection of Individual Responsibility (it's always someone else's fault)
Corporate Mission and Vision Statements
Perfumes and Colognes
Sex as a Manipulative Tool
Misuse of "I" and "Me"

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Copyright © 2005-2015 by Jon Maloney