the unheedables

I first noticed it shortly after the 2005 baby boom.

"So, I saw Click the other day," said one new dad of the Adam Sandler remote control movie. "A masterpiece. It really made me think."

"I have never cried so hard at a movie," said one new mom of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. "Huge, racking sobs. Rob Schneider was sublime."

Okay, so I made those quotes up, but that's what I remember: new parents are so goddamned happy to have two hours of normality, of them-time, that they can enjoy any drek whatsoever. Viewed through the bloodshot eyes of the life-deprived, The Mummy III is Raiders of the Lost Ark wrapped in Citizen Kane stuffed inside The Hangover.

I totally get it. I'm just not listening to it. A movie recommendation from a new parent means as much as a music recommendation from the stone deaf.

There are other unheedable recommendations. Beer snobs, for one, cannot be trusted to recommend a restaurant. To me, "great restaurant" means great food. To them, it means their favorite lager is on tap. I can't tell you how many truly atrocious meals I've suffered while my friends held forth about the beers they were sampling.

When a woman calls a guy "handsome," I never find myself questioning her criteria. Invariably, he's empirically handsome. When she calls another woman "pretty," however, I have to tune it out. It's beyond useless data. I don't pretend to understand the pathologies involved (least of all my own), but from what I've seen

"pretty" = she's unattractive
"she treats people badly" = actually pretty

Minorities about minority candidates/art. So my gay buddies think Milk was robbed of the Oscar. My black buddies think Obama can do no wrong. What a shocking turn of events. Really, you couldn't even make a movie about it; these endorsements would be that implausible. The first time I experienced this was in 1984, when a lifelong Republican voted for Mondale/Ferraro for one reason: "I can't not vote for an Italian!" All I hear is white noise.

Baltimorons about why the Browns left Cleveland. You bribed another town's beloved team away. Stop repeating rationalizations. You paid rape forward.

I can't tell you how many times I've fallen for a Seattle person recommending pizza. "It's real, genuine New York style pizza, at last!" the Seatard will proclaim. "Not like this other crap I keep falling for," he'll add, forcibly ratcheting down my skepticism. And so, knowing I'm being a sucker but not willing to risk missing out, I'll try the pizza, and it will be doughy glop with a radioactive polymer melted on top, and I hate myself anew.