To celebrate the Grinch version of Christmas, here’s my 2016 list of stuff I’ve gotten tired of over the past year. I’m not suggesting that nobody should use any of these memes in the future. Go ahead! Who cares whether I’m annoyed? Nor are they the the worst cliches or most overused examples in the world. They’re just things I’ve grown weary of. They are in no particular order. Enjoy!
- Side-eye tweets about “takes.” This is mostly annoying coming from people who all write takes themselves. Stop the self-hatred! Some people are makers (i.e. reporters) and some people are takers. You should revel in your role in the journalistic ecosystem.
- The madman theory. Yes, yes, we all know that Richard Nixon tried to make Russia and China think he was a madman who needed to be treated with kid gloves. This strategy lasted, what? A year? And it didn’t work. We’ve also heard it “explained” a thousand times by analogy to two cars speeding toward each other on a one-lane road, and one guy throws away his steering wheel. We get it.
- Correlation is not causation. If you’re a serious researcher making a serious point about a serious study, you’re fine. However, this usage is vanishingly rare. Most often it’s tossed off by someone who thinks it’s a brilliant riposte to anyone who demonstrates a correlation. Knock it off. It’s not nearly as smart as you think it is.
- Container shipping revolutionized world trade. This is a true fact. I know it’s true because people keep writing articles about it, as if it’s some kind of revelation. Maybe it was 20 years ago. Today, not so much.
- Van Halen’s brown M&Ms. If you don’t know what this is, Google it. As for the rest of you, please find some other example to make whatever point you’re trying to make.
- _____ is wealthier than the bottom 50 percent of the world. Look, the wealth of the bottom 50 percent of the world is zero. Everything is wealthier than the bottom 50 percent of the world. Headlines that use this format are nowhere near as amazeballs as many people appear to think they are.
- Ironic criticism of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner from people who go to it. I know: you think this shows that you’re a regular joe who’s in on the joke. It doesn’t. It just shows that you’re afraid of people thinking you’re part of the DC press corps.
- ____’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad ____. This is not the most overused cliche in the world, but it might be the laziest. You don’t even have to think of some kind of clever construction. You just fill in the blanks and call it a day. Let’s all give it a rest.
- Bloggers who complain about the press covering Donald Trump’s tweets even though they obsess over them too. These guys are the worst.