It's not just dogs that have their day. Everything seems these days to have its day, everything from bottled water to breakfast out, and to spare you the disappointment of being trapped in the crescendo I'm sharing my list of the overrated.
Dogs, of course, are overrated. They've moved in recent years from backyard animal companion to in-house family member, when the simple fact is that they are pudenda-licking, cat-poo-gobbling, crotch-nosing, public-defecating dogs. Canis familiaris.
Whenever you hear a dog owner refer to his or her dog as a fur baby, refer in response to the dog as a hair baby. Just a small, polite protest. Have you noticed, too, that when people meet someone with a dog they stand around in a circle talking about the dog? Try to introduce the weather into the chat.
Bottled water is waning but it is still overrated. It must be a marker of insane affluence that so many nitwits would buy a bottle of water when any number of taps within reach had the same water for free. The promotion of hydration as perennially urgent has been quietly abandoned, too.
The American passion for meeting over a big, fat, sugar-drenched breakfast never quite made it here as the fist-pumping opportunity it is over there, but even here as merely an opportunity to be seen among the beautiful people it is crass. It's the new fine dining, and just as affected.
Prawns are tasteless, a fact that everyone knows but very few are prepared to acknowledge publicly. And if you're among the one third of Australians who are allergic to or intolerant of prawns find the courage to admit it. You won't be shipped offshore.
The stupid sensitivity that suddenly forbids people from using the words dead, death and any of its forms won't die soon enough. As you know it is now deceased and passing, and the notion that either death or sex and never both can be discussed directly holds still.
Animal racing is as overrated as ever. Racing horses is no more noble than requiring donkeys, crabs, camels, dogs or cockroaches to run or scrabble from A to B. The computer-generated animated horse racing on gambling screens in pubs and clubs uncloaks the so-called sport.
Ayers Rock, or Uluru, is overrated, and not just because I will be prevented from climbing it from October. There are much more interesting rocky outcrops if they're your thing.
Remember, too, that footballers play a game called football. A game. As a claim to fame it is thin, as thin as the record of bad behaviour of footballers is fat.
Old age is definitely overrated. From what I've seen there's nothing cute or inspirational about it.
Air travel from Newcastle or Sydney to anywhere else on the East Coast, bar North Queensland, should be high on everyone's list of the overrated. The claim is that it is quick, that you're there in an hour and a half, when the reality is very different.
First you have to arrange to get to the airport, which can be an expensive exercise, then you have to ensure that you get there at least one hour, or one and a half hours if you have to check in baggage, before the scheduled departure, then you sit around interminably, then you hear that the flight is delayed, and eventually, that day or the next, you will spend an hour or so getting from the destination airport into the city.
I cannot recall taking an Australian domestic flight that was not delayed by at least a couple of hours. In my experience it is easier, quicker, less stressful, more comfortable and with a vastly more reliable ETA to drive.
Sexuality as a matter of public importance is more than overrated. As a matter of individual importance it cannot be rated highly enough, but where is the public pride in sexuality? How can anyone be proud that he or she is of one sexuality rather than another? Are these proud people proud too of their height?
Let's allow sexuality to rate no higher in the public domain than an individual's blood type.
Music is so overrated that for many number of people it has become an excuse to waste their life. To make or to listen to music is an ephemeral pastime, a peripheral activity that no more warrants the dedication of a life than does eating chocolate.
Both chocolate and music make for a pleasant interlude or at the best a good time, and it is likely that you need to re-calibrate your measure of significance.
Remind yourself, too, that actors pretend they're someone while directed by someone else and reciting lines written by someone they've never met. That is all they are, even if they're good at it.
Finally, both the fear of offending and the enthusiasm for being offended has become so rampant that the hunt for offensiveness is comically desperate. Our society has been reduced to taking offence from people who don't matter, with beliefs that don't matter, expressing opinions that don't matter.
Offence is topping the overratings so far this year.
- Jeff Corbett is a former journalist with the Newcastle Herald. He contributes a weekly column to Herald's Saturday edition. Contact Jeff: email@example.com
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