Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Rant

First, let me wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year from London (pics C. Getty & Reuters)

In my opinion the internet is spoiling the noble art of the rant. The web is full of nutters who think that a rant consists of illiterate ramblings about subjects they don't understand, such as complex science or economics. Cyberspace is choked by offerings from conspiracy clowns wearing tinfoil hats, offering their personal theories that the world is run by giant lizards disguised as George W Bush and Queen Elizabeth.

Personal or corporate abuse is meat and drink to a good rant but it must be witty and cutting. It should sting rather than bludgeon. Calling someone a rude word, as such, is gauche, boring and says more about the speaker than the speakee.

Daniel Seidel has a good rant about the lost art of the rant here:

As an aside, I particularly liked the link to the rant by the tube letch who raises that great age-old mysteryin a rant - 'Why do ladies put their charms on public display only to get annoyed when men notice the aforementioned delights?'

However, in the literary world it has been the ladies who have shown the way and given us some of the best rants recently.

Ursula Le Guin published an open letter in which she resigns from the Author's Guild after more than three decades of memebership.
Note she builds up steam by taking a standard pot from those in the provinces about the parochialism of those in the centre before discharging her main weapons. That letter is a master class in how to write a crushing put down in a handful of lines without a single wasted word.

PD James skewered Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, over the ludicrous bureaucracy of overpaid executives with meaningless job titles here:

Lynda La Plante also slung a ballistic missile at the BBC for their fatuous politically correct commissioning policy and layers of management here:

These ladies are very bright, literate, focussed, and well informed on the subject of their rant.

So feel free, what would you like to rant about for the New Year.


Anonymous said...

Store discount cards.

I mean, don't doubt for an instance that my loyalty cannot be bought. A few cents off the laundry detergent and I'll be returning to your store forever.

But my supermarket only wants my personal information, so that the advertisements they send me might gain a glance, rather than an instant trip to the circular file.

Barnes and Noble thinks I should should purchase my loyalty.

Excuse me? I already have my self interest in mind, I don't need to purchase it. Twenty-five dollars for a ten percent discount? So I'll break even if I buy two hundred and fifty dollars of qualified merchandise? Well, I probably spend more than that a year on books, but doesn't charge tax, shipping isn't too expensive, and my credit card sends me twenty-five dollar coupons regularly for buying my gas with their card.

Hmm, should I go with the company that buys my loyalty or the one that charges me for it?

Decisions, decisions . . .

Anonymous said...

Plus, if you buy $25 worth of stuff or more at Amazon, you get free shipping on top of not having to pay sales tax.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack.

John Lambshead said...

Dear Pam
You have to buy a Barnes & Noble loyalty card????

Waterstones beg you to take one.


John Lambshead said...

Dear Sarah

The strain of the season is starting to show.


Anonymous said...


Yes. Instead of buying your loyalty, they try to sell it to you.

I'm offended enough by two prices for food - members and non-members - when the membership is free.

So when you opened the floor for rants, B&N came quickly to mind.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

John, what wonderful rants.

I've asked my agent his opinion on the Google settlement.

What does everyone else think?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Forgot to do my rant.

I can't stand TV. Especially the 'news' programs, which are 75% sport and 25% salacious voyeurism.

I hate it when a reporter goes up to someone after their family home has burned to the ground or they've lost family members in a horrific car crash and asks:

'How do you feel?'

How do you think they feel?!!

Kate said...

Um. Rant? Okay. I should probably leave the "I hate my digestive system" rant alone, and the "US plumbing" rant, too. Then there's the "how can people be so STUPID!" rant, which can apply anywhere and everywhere and usually does. Or the "Stupid bloody right handed (insert gadget name here)" rant - yes, I've VERY left-handed and find myself cursing right-handed gear on a regular basis.

Sigh... So many, many rants, so little comment space.

C Kelsey said...

Hmm, rants...

There's the "no sequel to Lucy's Blade" rant. ;) Then there's my favorite "psychologists ain't scientists" rant. And there's also the "why the heck won't this story write itself!" rant.

Happy New Year all of you.

I must say, I peddled B&N memberships for over a year whilst working toward my Masters and my Flight Instructor certificate, AND being president of a home owners association, all at the same time. The B&N thing, while annoying to sell, never bothered me all that much.

John Lambshead said...

Dear Rowena
Ah yes - 'How do you feel?'

The dumb TV reporters lazy question.

Do you recall the famous enquiry mnade by a BBC reporter in an African refugee camp - 'Is there anyone here who has been raped and speaks English?'


John Lambshead said...

Dear Kate

I never had a problem with US plumbing but the US telephone system "£$£"£$.

There motto is 'You can't phone there from here.'


John Lambshead said...

Dear Chris

Re Lucy's Blade sequel.......

slinks slowly offstage trying to look inconspicuous.........

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


I have the book 'Anyone here been raped and speak English?'