April 26, 2011

A book about what's annoying is entertaining... to people I find annoying.

Here's a NYT review of a book called "Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us."  The review is actually annoying me, maybe because the reviewer couldn't find entertaining enough tidbits (and consequently it's much less bloggable than I'd predicted). Now, the reviewer does assert that the book is "immensely entertaining," and I note that it's written by Joe Palca, a science correspondent for National Public Radio, and Flora Lichtman, an editor for the network’s “Science Friday” program, and so I'm thinking it's "immensely entertaining" the way NPR is immensely entertaining... to people I find annoying.

Here's the most annoying sentence in the review:
And so when you begin to kick my chair, I could try to pretend that I am Japanese, for it seems that the Asian ideal of subjugation of the self to the group makes for less annoyance with one’s neighbor.
***

Here's an old post of mine "Will you quit annoying me?" It contains the ultimate film clip about annoyingness.

21 comments:

Ut said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
traditionalguy said...

Distraction is a useful tactic as shown in the Duck Soup piece by Marx Brothers. In the digital age we are faced with annoying distractions of increasing sophistication. One new annoyance is 10 seconds of computer generated flashing lights and whorling images in TV show intros. Are people that easy to mesmerize today.

vbspurs said...

Annoyingness is very closely tied to obnoxiousness, in my opinion. From the earliest age, I found childishness, annoying, something usually practised by obnoxious kids around me.

Yet, it's curious that I never intellectualised annoyingness and therefore didn't think, I'll subjugate my feelings so that the collective's harmony is unbroken through my complaints -- a BAD, leftist misreading of Asian culture.

Few in Asia would kick the back of someone's chair without censure (being as it is, a lack of respect and manners, especially to anyone older). Even fewer would take it upon themselves to take one for the team, for so bad a public outburst.

That sounds more like something a Trappist monk would do, but NPR would never come to that positive a conclusion about Catholicism.

Cheers,
Victoria

edutcher said...

They couldn't find any examples?

Just watch the Lefty talk show hosts brought in to bring "balance" on Fox News.

vbspurs said...

Annoyingness is very closely tied to obnoxiousness, in my opinion

The difference between annoying and obnoxious is that annoying just makes you want to give them a smack in the head.

Obnoxious you usually want to flatten them.

(not civilized, I know, but I was raised in an Irish-American home)

vbspurs said...

I actually did shove a girl who was pulling my ponytails for the upteenth time during playtime. I must have a little Irish in me, Edu.

(She stopped)

Henry said...

Who needs a book? I have kids.

The classic line in our house:

"Please do not scare your sister with cheese."

phx said...

Why would someone "begin to kick my chair"? Sorry, I just didn't want to read the article.

My belief is that we get annoyed way too easily, that there's a beneficial aspect to learning not to be annoyed by what "normally" would push our buttons. Whatever is annoying is the sign of an opportunity to become, if not a more perfect being, at least a more interesting one.

I'm not a Buddhist but I'm sympathetic to the idea of non-attachment. In my case it starts with the things that annoy me.

As always I speak strictly for myself. Any plural pronouns and plural possessives are used only to bring comfort to our stark existence.

Brennan said...

Are people that easy to mesmerize today.

Have you heard of the Medvedev Dance?

Almost as good as the Barack.

vbspurs said...

phx wrote:

I'm not a Buddhist but I'm sympathetic to the idea of non-attachment.

I have respect for such people, but I can't shake the feeling that they become marks for bullies due to their acceptance and transcendence of discomfort.

In simple terms, this is why I believe the European traits of defiance and selfishness, which they farmed out to the Americas, brought us the kind of democracy we have come to expect in the West. Not so true of Asia.

Brennan said...

The reduction in the size of the family has made individuals less nurtured in the fine arts of annoyance as givers and receivers.

My sources are impeccable. They are the exiting congregation at the conclusion of Sunday Mass.

If you don't buy that, I read it in the NY Times.

edutcher said...

vbspurs said...

I actually did shove a girl who was pulling my ponytails for the upteenth time during playtime. I must have a little Irish in me, Edu.

(She stopped)


People like to test boundaries; it's usually the way wars get started.

For the record, my mother's family came over in the first wave (mid-1840s) from Ireland, with occasional reinforcements.

My father was of mixed Dutch and English stock. I think your response was the traditional English answer to those who fail to abide by the rules of civilized conduct, usually countered by a shot with a brolly or a blackthorn walking stick.

Pitt and Disraeli would have approved.

traditionalguy said...

The scientist guy studying the brain's ways of slowing reality way down in a crisis, or only for an eye blink in contextual processing time in normal life may be onto the annoyance area. We may resent using up our brain's processing capacity for unnecessary to process events generated by another person. Have you ever bee annoyed by being called honey by a waitress who doesn't know you and whom you do not want a relationship?

Chip Ahoy said...

The cover is a tangle of Christmas light strings. Hah! I just no tossed out two boxes of such lights to clear my space because 1/4 of each string doesn't work and they were the net kind, annoying to stretch out, annoying to find a fuse, annoying to discover which is the offending lamp. It's not worth the trouble even though they are still 3/4 good.

Mary Beth said...

Some people respect boundaries, some don't even know they are there.

ricpic said...

By sheer coincidence I am reading an essay about Brazil by the poet, Elizabeth Bishop. Regarding annoyance and the ability to put up with it she writes: "There is a Brazilian joke about a man walking down the street with a friend. He is grossly insulted by a stranger, and says nothing. The friend tries to rouse his fighting instincts, 'Didn't you hear what he called you? Are you going to take that? Are you a man, or arent you?' The man replies, 'Yes, I'm a man. But not fanatically.' This is the true Brazilian temper."

vbspurs said...

TradGuy wrote:

Have you ever bee annoyed by being called honey by a waitress who doesn't know you and whom you do not want a relationship?

Y-essss.

Although if it's in a diner, and the waitress is a blue-haired old lady called Beryl, I don't mind. In fact, I love it. But some young chick with a nosering...no.

Coketown said...

My biggest pet peeve is when people stand in doorways. Just stand there either talking to people in the room or just goofing off. Oh, I'm supposed to say "excuse me" because you are blocking the only entrance/exit and I need through? How dare!

Coketown said...

And I find it charming when waitresses/cashiers/concierges call me honey or sweetheart. Especially after a night of unbridled passion.

ricpic said...

My biggest pet peeve is when people stand in doorways.

The thing you've got to come to understand is that for many people only they exist. You don't exist. Once you've internalized that realization, really gotten it, all else will become clear...not that you won't still be annoyed, it'll just be a less elevated blood pressure annoyance.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Public Radio has a real talent for the annoying. You just can't get much more annoying than Wisconsin Public Radio's Jean Feraca.

abeer ahmed said...

visit us on lifeandstylemag.com
http://whois.domaintasks.com/lifeandstylemag.com