by Sarah Bennett
Ed. Note: This is the maiden post of the lovely Sarah Bennett, who will be joining our team here at Commutes. We’re thrilled to have her on board though Sarah’s prowess and skill will likely give you a dim view of the men of Commutes going forward. Read charitably, reader.
This week, Commutes is discussing the Kings of Leon Effect, where underrated things eventually become overrated. As a new writer for this blog, I figure that a great way to alienate readers upon first impression is by making a list of things I dislike or think are overrated:
1. Sushi. It used to be that outside of major cities, Asian restaurants were limited to places that served only Kung Pow chicken in takeout containers and suggesting you go for a bite of raw fish was a gross idea. As we’ve hit our 20s, the default dinner out suggestion with my friends seems to be sushi. I love it, but it’s constant and seems like more of a snack than a meal. I don’t know if this is actually true or it’s all a big show, but everyone else seems stuffed after five pieces of sushi, while I’m ordering my tenth roll and avoiding giving anyone a ride home so I can stop to pick up White Castle with a side of shame on the way home.
2. Liking Things Ironically. There was a time many moons ago when people were earnest and you didn’t always have to parse their sentences for level of sincerity. Irony was still funny, but could be lost on others. Now, it is the default assumption. I could pretend that my love for 80s and 90s pop is an intellectual statement about high vs. low culture and somehow a reflection of my own intellectual superiority, but that would be a lie, not to mention exhausting. The truth is, I love it when “King of Wishful Thinking” comes on the radio. It’s OK to actually enjoy things, and a waste of time to purposefully spend your time on things you don’t like to prove your sense of irony and wit. Plus, the influx of irony makes for uncomfortable conversations: “I love this song!” “I know! Isn’t it terrible?” Awkward.
3. Johnny from Devil Went Down to Georgia. A bit out there, but it’s the end of the week. This is a musician who has continually suffered from the Kings of Leon Effect since long before Kings of Leon existed. The devil certainly underestimated Johnny in the beginning; he has talent and the Devil should have considered that. But there is no way in Hell that Johnny beat the devil. Sure, Johnny is good, but the Devil has a BAND OF DEMONS. His version has a much more badass fiddle part, funky guitar, and an awesome bass line, while Johnny’s is nice, but nothing particularly original. Who would you rather see in concert? The Devil would have a 100-piece demon band behind him with Mephistopheles on drums. There would probably be a laser light show and a mosh pit. All Johnny has going for him is a soul and the ability to rhyme “run” with “sun.” He did not deserve that golden fiddle.
4. Pants. In college, there seemed to be a major pants shortage. People went around in tee-shirts without pants, because leggings are not now nor have they ever been pants, no matter what the occasion. On nights out, it was short skirts and dresses, trading pants in for hypothermia. Guys, too, often eschewed pants for mesh shorts, whether they were actually playing basketball or not. I scoffed at these people then. Now that everyone else seems to have jumped on the wearing pants bandwagon, I‘m beginning to think that they were on to something. While most of my friends are now young professionals with the wardrobes to match, this period of freelancing from home while in between jobs (read: without dental insurance) has made me question my commitment to proper clothing. They all seem to like how they now seem more “put together and appropriate” compared to others in the same age bracket, whereas I’ve begun to resent going in for interviews because they require me to wear real pants. Maybe I’m not a productive member of society, but at least I’m comfy.
5. Ordering Scotch. I would like to preface this by saying that I love whiskey in all its forms. It is by far my favorite drink. But for a long time, scotch was strictly an old man drink. With the advent of Mad Men—a show with characters who would now be old men in real life— young people have taken to ordering scotch on nights out. For me, still being in the “I’ll have a glass of whatever your cheapest beer is, thanks” phase of life, this is problematic because there is no Popov’s equivalent of scotch. But the greater problem with the increase in people ordering scotch is that a lot of people don’t actually like it. Once the first person orders one, though, the gauntlet has been thrown, an d anyone after has to also order a scotch or risk looking like a sissy. Nothing kills the party mood faster than the sudden hush that falls over the room as eight out of nine people try to choke back their drinks without grimacing.