COLUMN: A few of my least favourite things

Reporter Dan Ferguson shares a small list of things that he is not fond of.

Full disclosure: I don’t know who the Kardashians are, beyond what I see in the supermarket checkout line.

I have managed to make this far without viewing more than a few seconds of The Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, Teen Mom and any number of other reality-TV show train wrecks.

But given the power, I would probably ban them all.

So it’s probably a good thing that I don’t have that kind of authority.

Recognizing that my own affection is for a slightly higher grade of cheese – like The Amazing Race, Survivor and pretty much any show dealing with auctioning off abandoned storage lockers – I must concede my tastes ain’t exactly cosmopolitan, either.

Different strokes for different folks, and all that. But still, there are a few things, not all of them on television, that I would like to see gone. Now.

Opening a column with “full disclosure” for example.

Lame. And excessively used.

Just like the three-point landing in far too many movies. Note to filmmakers: the first dozen or so times that a character landed in a kneeling position with one hand on the ground and the other holding a weapon, it was kind of cool.

It hasn’t been for some time.

And no more characters howling “noooo” as they leap toward the camera.

Who does that, anyway?

And do I really have to talk about the violation of basic physics that occurs every time an action hero (and, sometimes, a sidekick) runs toward the camera with a fireball behind them?

Didn’t think so.

Or the infinite supply of bullets in any number of action movies.

And by that way, what is with holding guns sideways?

Seriously, does anyone think that make any kind of difference?

And what about the all-too-often seen sequence where someone sets something on fire/launches a missile/triggers a bomb, then turns and walks toward the camera way as the target goes boom?

Again, full disclosure: I actually used that bit, once, in a previous career, for a screenplay that went unproduced.

Much funnier people than me have made sport of a recent science fiction epic (cough>Prometheus

I’ll limit myself to the part where two characters are fleeing a collapsing space ship by running in the shadow of it, instead of heading right or left to get out from under.

Come to think of it, the “cough>name of thing you’re pretending not to mention

Along with columns about the horror of getting older.

It seems to be a rite of passage for opinion writers to do at least one about the shock to the system that ensues the first time someone calls them “sir” or “ma’am” for the first time. As if there were somehow a reasonable alternative to getting older.

And while we’re on the subject of journalism, perhaps we could stop trying to torque the living daylights out of stories that don’t actually involve the fate of the free world.

Some of you may remember SCTV and a comically desperate television anchor who tried to make every simple city council story into a drama of outrage and intrigue. How about we just tell the story without trying to bully people into getting all worked up?

A vastly better writer than me once observed that approach feels like having someone standing behind you with a rolled-up newspaper whacking you on the back of your  head.

Like the famous story of the editor telling a rookie reporter to never use the word “tragedy” again.

If something is a tragedy, he said, the reader will be able to figure it out.

And please, no more election stories that open with “and they’re off.”

Dan Ferguson is a Peace Arch News reporter.


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