Welcome to this column’s annual Get Off My Lawn! awards. Once again we assess the 10 most annoyingly pointless stories of the year. We’re talking about the things that barely deserve to be reported. Why is this news? Beats me. Most of it isn’t.
Pepsi gets woke
If I learned anything from Mad Men, it's that top advertising people are as cynical as they are brilliant. Forget all that. The Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner that sought to capitalise on Black Lives Matter set new standards for tone deafness. Swiftly banished, it is now to advertising as the recently late Jerry Lewis's The Day the Clown Cried is to cinema. These guys are actually no brighter than me.
Rick and Morty’s Szechaun sauce
Listen closely. The animated series featured a reference to a McDonald's promotional sauce originally released to promote Disney's Mulan. That burger giant then announced the sauce would be coming back, but (Ahhhhh!) they didn't provide nearly enough sachets. Worse still, in an echo of Watergate, they tried to cover up their terrible crimes. The hilarious overreaction by grown fans damaged the show's reputation and did nothing for the standing of nerddom in general.
Twitter goes for 280 characters
Was this one annoying because people overreacted or because Twitter were fixing something that wasn't broke? A little of both. This being Twitter, there was a bit of: "Why can you do this when you can't ban fascists?" One does not preclude the other, punters. But it is true that a certain purity was lost when tweets gained the potential to become paragraphs.
RTÉ removes Northern Ireland from a map
Like many "Get off my Lawn!" entrants this non-story concerned something that, though regrettable, really didn't warrant the rending of garments. During a conversation on the distribution of healthcare, The Late Late Show dared to display a map that placed sea where the six counties had once been. "RTÉ's Taliban-like desecration of Ireland's map is appalling and deeply offensive," Fr Seán McManus of the Irish National Caucus said. It really isn't.
Here is the avocado news
When did it all become about the humble alligator pear? All year that fruit has been dragged out to taunt millennials who can’t afford to buy houses. Apparently, they would be able to afford the deposit if they just ate a little less avocado toast. Then, towards the middle of 2017, doctors began whining about the cases of “avocado hand” – injuries caused when de-stoning – clogging up emergency departments.
Here is the doughnut news
We sincerely advise that you stay within your house at all times and answer the door only to close associates. Leave the building for an hour and there is – according to a report I've just made up – a 90 per cent chance that your home will be turned into a doughnut shop. Not since the Great Kebab Rush of 1982 has a convenience food so dominated retail space.
Vogue Williams calls for internment
After a week of pondering, Vogue did admit that: “suggesting internment camps . . . was a misguided opinion”. You think? “I know it didn’t work with the internment of IRA members,” she had written in the aftermath of the London Bridge attacks. “But in today’s case the terrorists cannot be negotiated with. They want to ruin the western world and they will stop at nothing to do this, so we need to have the same approach with them.” How did we get here?
Airheads whining about Saoirse
A confession. I did write a note about the awful Saturday Night Live sketch in which Saoirse Ronan played an Aer Lingus flight attendant. This was probably an error. That complaint became wound in with an extraordinary backlash against a personality who has barely put a foot wrong since achieving fame. What most annoys the fat-headed, mean-spirited, curtain-twitching thugs most is, apparently, the fact that she speaks with a Dublin accent. They wouldn't try that on Twink.
See RTÉ and the map above. Call me a big fat Brit, but I saw nothing wrong with Adam Boulton, Sky News's bruiser in chief, cheekily provoking Simon Coveney with devil's advocate taunts about a "kerfuffle" over Brexit. That's what he does. His tweeted response to criticism – using the dreaded phrase "you Irish" – was ill judged, but it was not worth having kittens over.
‘The Last Jedi’ should be removed from ‘the canon’
And we have a fast-breaking late entry. It seems that hardcore Star Wars fans, annoyed at betrayals of "lore" in the admittedly dull The Last Jedi, have launched a poll to get the film removed from the official Star Wars timeline. "Episode VIII was a travesty. It completely destroyed the legacy of Luke Skywalker and the Jedi," the rambling intro argued. Earlier generations fought actual wars, you know.