Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ins and Outs

I must be the most uncool person around.  Maybe you had long ago come to that conclusion, but it is something that, though I had sensed it, was recently had confirmed when I looked at the Washington Post’s list of “What’s In, What’s Out for 2011.”
Who gets to decide this stuff anyway?  I’ve always wondered about that.  Does the Washington Post have an exclusive bead on what’s going to be out and what’s going to be in this next year?  How do they find this stuff out?  I mean, they outed Nixon, so I guess they’ve proven that they can find out stuff that nobody else knows about.  Maybe the reporters who wrote the article, Monica Hesse and Dan Zak, have some source that they meet in some D.C. parking garage, their very own “Deep Throat” of Coolness. 
But I rather doubt it.  I don’t know who Monica Hesse and Dan Zak are, but I have a feeling they are less like Woodward and Bernstein and more like the cool kids who all ate together in the high school cafeteria, scorning the rest of us who, for reasons unbeknownst to us, didn’t cut it for coolness.
So why do they get to decide what’s in and what’s out for next year?  If I and some of my friends were allowed to decide, then maybe “Late Night Theological Discussions at the Frederick Coffee Company” would be “in” and me and my friends would all be cool.
Except “Late Night Theological Discussions at the Frederick Coffee Company” sounds pretty nerdy any way you cut it, doesn’t it?
Back to the list.  Here’s how I realized that I am so far from being cool that you can’t even see it from here: I don’t even know what most of the stuff on the list means.  For instance, apparently “Mummblecore” is out and “The King’s Speech” is in.  Huh?  What is “Mummblecore” and why is it out?  More to the point, how did it ever get in?  And how did it get supplanted by “The King’s Speech”, whatever that is?  See, I’m so uncool that I didn’t even know that something that is out was once in and what is now in, I haven’t a clue what it actually is.  What king, and which of his speeches?  Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was “in” from the moment he gave it, and it’s never been out, so I don’t imagine that’s what they are talking about.  (And the nerd in me snickers to the rest of the kids at my cafeteria table that the cool kids probably don’t even know who Martin Luther King, Jr. is.)
Don’t think that I picked the most obscure pairing on the list, for almost all of it is like that.  Apparently, “Epic” is out and “Brobdingnagian” is in; “Tiny houses”: out.  “Teepees”: in.
Here’s one I understand, but don’t.  “Brussels Sprouts” are out and “Sauerkraut” is in.  Excuse me, but how were Brussels sprouts ever in?  And why are they replaced by sauerkraut?  If it were my list I’d replace Brussels sprouts with potato chips.  In fact, that’s what I do, and it works for me.
Want more?  OK, just so you’ll know, “Circumnavigation” is out in 2011, and “Sofalizing” is in.  That’s upsetting, because on my list of goals to accomplish this next year, “Sailing around the world” was number 6, right after “Watch all previous seasons of ‘The Big-Bang Theory’ on DVD.”  “Bobbleheads” are out and “Throttlenecks” are in.  I’m sorry, but as a life-long baseball fan bobbleheads are never out.  If the Orioles have a Nick Markakis bobblehead giveway this season, I’m there, wearing my brand new Nick Markakis Orioles jersey.
(And, no, that is not nerdy.  It’s not at all like going to a Star Trek convention wearing a Spock outfit.)
“Oprahism” is out, but I got tired of her a long time ago.  Unfortunately, it’s been replaced by “Atheism.”  I’m not sure there’s much difference, but there has arisen a more militant, confrontational form of atheism these last few years.  It doesn’t bother me as much as you might think, because atheism in any form requires as much faith as theism, maybe more.  And anybody who has the capacity for great faith is not beyond the reach of the Kingdom of God.
One final “out/in” pairing: the cool kids have declared that “Betty White” is out and “Anne Meara” is in.  Anne Meara is a nice character actress, and I’m glad that someone is giving her some love.
But Betty White will never be out.

OK, I’m done.  Now I’m just going to sit here with my friends and have my chocolate milk and bologna sandwich.

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