Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

PopLife Review of the Year #2.1: 13 Things That Need To Stop Now

1. ‘Ah here, leave it out’. I must be the only person who thought that the catchphrase of the year wasn’t remotely amusing considering it involved people getting the absolute crap beaten out of them in Dublin 1. LOL STREET …

Fri, Dec 28, 2012, 12:33


1. ‘Ah here, leave it out’.
I must be the only person who thought that the catchphrase of the year wasn’t remotely amusing considering it involved people getting the absolute crap beaten out of them in Dublin 1. LOL STREET VIOLENCE.

2. The word ‘hipster’.
If there’s ever a word that has lost all meaning (if it every had any) it’s ‘hipster’. In a weird way, hipster became the new begrudger. ‘Begrudger’ is something that’s hurled at anyone who gives out about anything. Not sure about the latest Irish film, well, you’re just a begrudger. Can’t get over The Coronas playing the O2? Pipe down, begrudger! Hipster became a default term for anyone who wasn’t too keen on County Colours nights in clubs, someone who dared to listen to any music outside of a Today FM playlist, or had the audacity to wear, oh, I don’t know, glasses.

3. Non-committal RTE lifestyle programmes
I often get the feeling that the entertainment schedule on RTE is the programming equivalent of someone apprehensively dipping their toe in a cold swimming pool. They know they should probably get in, but it just doesn’t feel right. This year has been full of programmes that don’t seem to have a defined audience, nor a defined plot, with dodgy comedy (“hey, let’s call Katherine Lynch’s show a breakfast programme even though it’s not! Zany!”) and miscellaneous Craig Doyle vehicles that aim to be yoofy, topical and down with the internetz but are none of the above. The glut of satire that has come late in the year is welcome, however, but how can you really be confident in a strand called ‘Format Farm’? Shouldn’t these things actually be properly developed before they come to our screens?

4. Bubble Tea
Burritos I understand, Ye Olde Sweetshops and Cake Emporiums I get because they’re cheap ‘luxury’ items, milkshakes I never really got the swing of, but Bubble Tea? Why?

5. People RTing praise
An uncomfortable sign of insecurity.

6. Polarised Current Affairs Debate.
“I know, let’s put Ronan Mullen and Ivana Bacik on the same show and let the bun fight commence!” Who does this actually serve? There’s a difference between informed debate where the viewer or listener actually gets to learn something, and just constructing an rage-level-raising argument.

7. Cheap booze
Yep, I’m a killjoy, but creating a nightlife experience around cheap shots, watery pints and booze giveaways primarily does very little for anyone’s enjoyment apart from causing annoying rowdiness, fights, and horrific hangovers for all involved. And in the supermarkets, there is something very wrong when a bottle of beer costs less than a bottle of water. Nobody needs to have ten drinks in a night. Nobody should be drinking alcohol just to get wasted.

8. The glorification of disposable fashion
It gets my goat when the latest line from ultra-cheap highstreet stores are heralded as fashion-forward bargains. Where are these clothes made? Who’s making them? Why is it ok to dump something after a couple of wears? Buy less, buy responsibly.

9. Politicians adoring the micro while the macro gets ignored.
The newly established Oireachtas Committee investigating abuse on social media sites is not the worst idea in the world. We should probably be monitoring how new media impacts on people’s lives, both positively and negatively. But this issue is being seen through a very dark prism, given that it has gained attention recently following the suicide of TD Shane McEntee where it is alleged that interaction on social media sites had a negative impact on him. It’s an awful, tragic situation, and my heart goes out to his family. Yet given that time and time again our suicide rate is highlighted alongside a seemingly massive lack of accessible mental health care for young people, vulnerable people, adults and others, and given that there is still a stigma around depression and mental health issues, and given that everyone knows someone who has taken their own life yet we rarely talk about it at a legislative and medical level and instead keep it at a hushed emotional one, then surely it’s time to be investigating and funding services relating to this, and not looking a modern articulation of nasty communication – abuse on social media sites instead. The latter should happen too, of course, but that’s a tiny element in something that is just so much bigger. Our political system is amazing at reacting. But unfortunately reactionary legislation is bad legislation. We react to headshops by rushing in shoddy legislation that needs constant amendments, yet ignore the wider drugs debate. We bring in a law on blasphemy without examining the role of religion in our society properly. We’re currently embroiled in a debate on abortion based on micro situations without looking at the broader issues of health, women’s rights, and a progressive society. Our politicians need to cut out the knee-jerking and start being proactive and seeing the big picture.

10. Taking photos of your food
A while ago, taking your iPhone out in a restaurant the minute the plate hit the table became the new ‘bon appetit’. Maybe that’s tolerable if you’ve made something awesome yourself and want to proclaim an achievement, but the self-indulgence and LOOK AT ITisms of food photos is just plain boring.

11. Facebook photos of your kids
No one cares. And isn’t it kind of weird to be sharing photos of young children without their consent? Are they going to appreciate a photo of them semi-naked or with chocolate all over their face being online forever?

12. The glorification of Apple products
Show me a MacBook without a broken disc drive and I will show you, em, something.

13. The media relying on lists for content.


Coming up in the PopLife Review of the Year #2.2, Things To Look Forward To.