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2019: Snarknado returns!!



December 31, 2018
Monday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Last year, my New Year's Resolution was to be less snarky in 2018. 

jpg  Dave Kiffer

It just seemed like in an increasingly angry world, it didn't help with me stirring the pot even a little.

Sad to say that by January 7th,  I had already been "snarky" 106 times and the rest of the year was much the same. 

It wasn't that I wasn't mindful of my resolution. Each of the 72,176 times that I was snarky in 2018 caused me a minor pang of conscience, but that didn't stop me. Oh no, I just kept plowing on, rolling my eyes, sighing and letting the clueless have it. It is just so hard to not be snarky when other people do things that absolutely, completely require a snarky response.

For example, in helping my high school senior sift through college options I came across an advertisement for an "on line college" that was trying to prove that it offered just as many amenities as "bricks and mortar" colleges. In fact, the ad noted, Ripoff Tech (not it's real name) has one of the "Most Honored ESports programs in the Northwest."

Say what? ESports are a thing?

Apparently so. And colleges, in their rush to capitalize...uh I mean educate, are reaching out to the gamers of the millennium world. Along with English, Math and Science you can also take classes in "Competitive Gaming Theory," hold team practices and, I assume, do some serious gym time with your "clicker" fingers.

But I digress.

Well, now that a new year has dawned I no longer have to worry about being snarky. so that leads me to make another resolution that "other people need to stop doing things that cause me to be snarky."

Yeah, I get that you really can't make resolutions for other people (particularly such a large group of people that "say or do things that require me to respond in a  snarky manner"). But I have always been a very helpful person and I think it would be very helpful of me to "resolve" that said nincompoops would stop being so nincompoopian.

For example I've been thinking a lot of about word use lately, especially how some folks are trying to "up their game" at least perceptually by using big words - especially big words in entirely new - and sometimes wildly incorrect - contexts

Now this has be going on for a long time. A generation or so ago we started seeing engineer added job titles in such a manner. My favorite was "sanitation engineer" for "garbage person."  I didn't complain because frankly the folks that deal with our waste have my utmost respect. We tend to throw out some pretty foul items. They deal with it all. God bless them.

But recently, a former colleague of mine got a big raise at the newspaper he now works for. Once upon a time you would have called his new job "managing editor." But now he is "Chief Content Officer." Say, what?

It seems that we no longer need people to edit newspapers, we need them to manage "content." This "content" seems to include all sorts of "platforms." Which is another idiotic word. A platform is somewhere you stack pallets before you stuff them into a truck. Or it is somewhere you wait for a train. But apparently, now it is somewhere you stack news "content" as you are shipping it off into the multi-level ethosphere where it will be consumed.

Or completely ignored.

Which is probably more often the case. But since it is now "content" I guess that should be less troublesome. Because no one really knows exactly what that means.

Another word that has come up a lot recently is "curate."

I have a long history with museums, so I am used to the "content officers" at museums being called "curators." Although I also wonder why they also call upper level religious folks "curates." Is that because they collect souls?

Anyway, I even accept it if art galleries "curate" collections, because essentially a museum is also really just a gallery with a "collection of really, really old stuff."

And museum and art galleries also use other funny words, like docent. Everywhere else that person would be a guide, an aide, an assistant, a flunky, whatever. But in museums and galleries they are "docents." Which I believe is Latin for "someone who is happy to work for free on the mistaken belief that someday they will be given a paid position." See also "intern."

As I was leaving a museum once, one of the docents held the door open for me and I said "thank you. You are one decent docent." And he didn't even crack a smile.

Go figure.

But I digress, again.

Anyway, I saw an ad for a new coffee emporium in which it was proclaimed that each brew was "carefully curated with maximum customer pleasure in mind." Wow, just wow.

I don't think you can really consider a bunch of different "cups of joe" as a "collection" in need of an form of "curation.".Although as the prices of said "curated coffees" continue to rise it may get to that point.

What's next? Higher prices in the cat food aisle because each can was also "carefully curated?"

Anyway, off into the new year, in which I will be "constantly curating snarky responsorial content."

You are so very welcome.



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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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