In the 1970s, TV’s Saturday Night Live program, one of their skits involved "The Whiner Family." Anybody remember that skit? The family members spoke with a grating, irritating whine. When they engaged in a conversation, the sounds of their voices were annoying. Wendy Whiner, the wife, was a nasally-pitched woman who, with her equally whiny husband, annoyed everyone they met. They both claimed to suffer from diverticulitis, and neither would eat anything but macaroni and cheese.
Or there was Debbie Downer, another character on Saturday Night Live. The character’s name is connected to a phrase which refers to someone who has a persistent need to add bad news or negative feelings to a gathering, thus bringing down the mood of everyone around them.
The Debbie Downer character would make these types of negative opinions and pronouncements at every turn, making her very unpopular to be around. She was oddly and especially concerned with the epidemic of feline AIDS, which is, as she put it, "the number one killer of domestic cats".
What made these skits so funny was that all of us have met constant whiners -- you know, those folks who never have a positive thing to say about themselves or anyone else? And most of all the skits remind us of ourselves—we have met the enemy and it is us!