In high school I had this English teacher who (as far as I could tell) came from little to no Spanish descent. But did that stop her from pronouncing every Spanish word in our book in a thick Spanish accent? Oh no. She would ramble on normally but when “Hacienda” or “Mr. Estaban” popped up, it went straight to the Spanish accent. I used to think it was just me who couldn’t stand it, but apparently I was wrong… Katherine Sands, FOX News intern
James in Virginia: After the volume of comments about the pronunciation of various culinary terms, I am I more than a little confused. On one hand I see people complaining about all the "whitebread idiots" pronouncing mozzarella "motza-rella." On the other hand, people whine about wannabe Italians pronouncing it "MOOTS-A-RELL" or some other "authentic" variation. So what are we non-Italians supposed to do? Butcher the word or pretend like we're Italian? Or do I just point at the cheese and say "that white blob of cultured buffalo milk product"?
Jen writes: Thank you for saying what should be said every minute of every day to a society of wusses. All these PC mongers need to put on their big girl panties and stop complaining. Have a great day!!!!! You ROCK!!
Sandy writes: Why doesn't anyone ever mention that being offended is a personal choice?
You can't offend me. I choose to be offended ... or not. Lots of folks must like to be offended since they choose it so often.
Michelle G. writes: I love your PC ignorance. I laughed out loud at your piece yesterday because I grew up going to New Jersey beaches and I noticed the same thing. You have managed to offend the masses. Watch your back, sugar.
Tim Able writes: I have been alive for 27 years now and literally not until the afternoon I read your column about popcorn eaters and those who swallow loudly did I think there was someone on Earth quite like me. Your attention to the annoying is very similar to mine. I have once referred to movie theaters as torture chambers to someone like me. I don’t know what it is … a bad karma or something … but I could be the only bloke in the theater and where does Mr. Loud Wrapper Big Popcorn Loud Talker with a Kid Who Always Kicks My Chair (long name) sit down? Behind me! My wife cannot understand my Oblivimeter, nor does she choose to try and understand. I’ve come to realize that my affliction to the less obvious annoyances is much like the creed of Spider-Man. “It’s my gift … it’s my curse.” I think your Italian friends missed a classic from Michael Keaton’s movie "Johnny Dangerously": “You farggin’ icehole!”
Julie R. writes: Hey Mike, nice article. My husband just e-mailed it to me asking me if I was the writer. We have had this discussion/argument/debate/whatever before. I always chuckle at him when he pronounces Italian words in that manner and he has not a drop of Italian blood in him. It cracks me up when I hear people speaking like that and then they continue to talk and it is obvious they don't have an actual Italian accent. I liken the whole thing to when Oprah starts to speak "downhome" with her guest or the audience. You have a person with great diction and command of the language and then all of a sudden she slips into "Girrrrrl...." If you are going to make fun of that then you have to also find the whole Italian speech thing pretty funny. Love the article. I am officially adopting "Sopranos" as the nickname for those folks which may or may not include my husband. He is now on notice. Great job!
Dan, a displaced New Yorker living in DC, writes: After reading multiple "I disagree, I am offended, I won't read your column anymore" e-mails, here is my two cents: This column started as a great idea and a fun read, but has now become a forum for the whiners of America. Come on, people … I'm sure you can dish out your Grrrs all day long, but do you really think you are perfect? Do you not think someone is out there writing about YOUR annoying habits? To Mike, I will continue to read the column for what it is: entertainment. Sure, I disagreed with the "Soprano"-wannabe comments. But offended? The only reason I could be offended is by those who took offense to what I am sure was a great laugh for the rest of us Italian-American New Yorkers who tawk wit our hands, eat spaghetti wit gravy and can't believe Tony Soprano let Phil get away wit whackin' Vito. So I will continue to slow down in the left lane when people tailgate me at 65 mph, talk on my cell phone while on line at the store and chew my popcorn as loudly as I want, because I love hearing everyone whine about it!!!
SSG VanDerZee in Tallil, Iraq, writes: Way to go, Mike! I believe you're hitting the nail right on the head when idiotic people patronize their stereotypes. It is amazing how thin-skinned everyone has become. It is to the point where you can say anything and have someone take it the wrong way. Why is it that people refer to themselves as Italian-Americans or African-American and not just American? I don’t run around saying I’m Dutch-American. People need to get over themselves and stop segregating themselves from the rest of America.
James in Erie, Pa., writes: Hey Mike, good luck with all of the hate mail you’re probably going to get. Can we throw white kids from the suburbs that turn into hard-core thugged out rappers into the mix? They go from suburbia to the ghetto without physically relocating. They watch too much MTV and movies like “8 Mile” and “Boyz in the Hood” and suddenly they have a struggling existence and feel that they are hardened rappers. We have a few rap groups like that in the city I live in. I also enjoy watching "The Sopranos" and I recently married into an Italian family and I’m sure that they don’t talk the way you are describing yet they have many cultural customs. I’m pretty sure that people assume their identities nowadays from TV and movies way too much. It would be equivalent to me walking around with a 5 foot sword and wearing a kilt and painting my face blue because "Braveheart" is one of my favorite movies. Doesn’t sound too rational, does it? I’m also positive that James Gandolfini does not talk in “real life” the way his CHARACTER talks on the show. Let all of the wanna-be Goombas know that it is still a show and that it is not real. I applaud you for saying things in your column that other people think every day.
Randy S. in Lawton, Okla., writes: We went to see "The Devil Wears Prada" at our local Carmike cinema last Tuesday. We go to the matinees because they're cheaper and less crowded. My Grrr is not about the popcorn, that's just the American way, it's not about someone talking, or kicking my seat or using a cell phone. What really got my Grrr was that the scheduled start time for the movie was 1:30, but by the time they started late, showed commercials, showed some previews, plugged their snack bar, showed MORE previews, it was straight up 2:00 before the 1:30 movie started. I did take the time after the show was over to find the manager and inform him that in future, my moviegoing dollars will be spent at the theater in the mall where they're pretty good at starting on time or close to it.
A.F. in Plano, Texas, writes: OK, so I’m driving around in the Frisco/Plano area of Dallas/Ft. Worth, and I see this really nice Lexus SUV. On the back windshield this was written in shoe polish, “I support Chavez, Castro, and Communism!” Now, that’s them exercising their right to free speech. Here’s mine ... ”Get the hell out of my country!” What kind of a moron writes that on their car ... in Texas!!! I would have loved to see a big F-150 with a “W – The President” sticker on their back windshield run right up the back end of that car.
William Kelly in Houston writes: Mike: Here's my latest GRRRR. I'm flying between Atlanta and Cancun with my brand new bride last week. Before departure, the flight attendant goes on the PA system asking everyone to turn off their cell phones and other electronic equipment. Some do, some don't. The plane takes off. As the plane is making initial ascent, the pilot now gets on the PA and once again tells all of those people who ignored the previous requests to turn off their electronic equipment, now. He sounded quite agitated. Whether or not you believe that your cell phone could interfere with the plane's electronic readouts, the airline has a policy that says, turn your phone or iPod OFF! The people I saw actually got offended! The policy is for the safety of passengers. I'm sorry that these Oblivions couldn't see fit to turn off the Tetris game they were playing, or ImporTants loudly telling their girlfriends, "Hey, I'm like on this plane." It isn't just the Ugly American doing this, but also the Ugly German, Mexican and Brit. Grrrrrr!
C.M. from Richmond, Va., writes: Mike, I just heard that Cindy Sheehan and a bunch of her overzealous celebrity friends have begun a hunger strike to protest the Iraq war. Are you kidding me?! They are planning to have a hunger drive, switching off after 24 hours of fasting. I'm glad to know those big Hollywood stars are putting their stomachs where their mouths are. Seriously, most of Hollywood starves themselves for their roles anyway (a la Nicole Richie, Keira Knightley, the list goes on and on). For them, it's just like any other audition or role that they prepare to shoot. They are willing to starve themselves and suffer longer from eating disorders in the name of fashion, PR, roles and dollars than they are for any real cause they claim to support. Just another example of Hollywood trying to tell America that they know something we don't (I bet they learned this secret knowledge high in the Hollywood hilltops in their million-dollar mansions or on their yachts in the French Riviera rather than talking to everyday Joes working in factories or offices, or actually the soldiers on the front lines). Sorry, posers, but you'll have to do something a lot more drastic for the rest of America to care about what a bunch of wackos do for attention. Here's an idea, read something by Gandhi and learn what a hunger strike really is. Thanks for letting me vent and keep up the good reporting.
Michael Rigney writes: Mike, why do people think that it's OK to clip their fingernails in the office? There's nothing like going into someone's office and seeing fingernails (or worse yet toenails) lying around unattended, not to mention the incessant clicking of the clippers ringing in your ears. Glad to know the boss is paying these people for a job well done. Thanks!
Keith Ott in Norfolk, Va., writes: Mike, I have to Grrr on law enforcement and the media combining forces against privacy. I don't care if Rush Limbaugh is the "Anti-Christ," or if you like his political views, or even if you don't like them. It was a bottle of Viagra legally obtained. We should all have a right to a modicum of privacy when dealing with the "Law." "Johnny Law" could have handled this with a phone call to the doctor, but once again they like being in the news. "Look at us," we busted a celebrity Viagra smuggler. Crime must be slowing up down south if Viagra is the big bust of the week … I'm adding a "Grinning Grrr" to Jen in Iowa. Jen has to be one of the only people in America who appreciates the credits after a show. Sorry Jen, but I think most of America gave up on the credits when they lengthened into an almost mini-feature in themselves. Most of us really don't care who the key grip was etc. or what he/she did. We just want to move on to the next show. But God bless ya ... at least they know someone does.
Brian George writes in response to Wayne Conway in Tulsa, Okla.: Hey Wayne, tell me this, why are you still in the way of the conveyor belt when supposedly "I was completing my purchase"? You know what my Grrr is? People who stand in my way when I'm trying to put my items on the belt. I just want to pay for my items and get out of there, not stand around lackadaisically and enjoy the sights and sounds of all the Walmartians. You've already put your items on the belt, the nice clerk has bagged all your items and is waiting for your payment, move over to the other side of the cashier please!
Jake from SLC, Utah, writes: Mike, so I watched the World Cup Sunday afternoon. Great, great, game. However, I had to watch it on three different channels. Grrr to ABC for skipping the pregame (Toni Braxton, Shakira), halftime (Placido Domingo) and then their HD programming missed the first few penalty kicks in the final. I ended up watching Univision for the festivities, ABC for the penalty kicks and ABC HD for the other parts of the game. On this same grrr, why do our networks think we’re so interested in what our “professionals” have to say about the game? Why can’t we just watch the game and the parties like Univision showed? While the pregame was going on, watchers of ABC had to sit through the commentators debating about the good ol’ days when they were in the world cups. I gladly switched to Univision. It’s times like these that I’m glad I understand Spanish. Secondly, grrr to the whole U.S. media for making such a big deal out of Zidane’s red card. Italy won. Univision didn’t say another word about it. It happened, he got penalized, it was over. ABC repeatedly mentioned how that changed the way the game went. When Italy was up about to receive the trophy, all ABC could talk about was Zidane. What happened to honoring the winners? Why wasn’t the attention where it was supposed to be? Grrr to ABC, grrr to all those who felt they got robbed because of Zidane. Good game Italy, you deserved it.
J.G. in Washington State writes: Grr to my supervisor, the manager of a retail outlet. She emerged from our breakroom yesterday (which has no kitchen) with her dirty silverware in hand, and asked me to take it to the public bathroom in the next building to "give these a good scrubbing." Gross! Wash your own silverware!