I finished a popular fiction recently that I enjoyed. I’ve read a lot by the author and I thought this one was actually more enjoyable than others. It was easy to read, it didn’t piss me off, it sent me down interesting thought spirals, and it allowed me to put one more book on my listen getting me closer to my 2018 goal of 100 books. I then followed up with a few people telling them how I liked it because they hadn’t read it yet.
And then – maybe a few days after I finished it – I saw someone post about the same book on Facebook and they said something like, “This book was so terrible I had to throw it against the wall when I finished it! Give me better books to read!”
I’ll be honest. It stung. I had a bit of a personal crisis and I spent the next several days questioning my potential for evaluating books and wondered if I should quit making recommendations. WHAT IF I AM ALWAYS WRONG? Am I just so simple-minded that I like dumb stuff? SHOULD I QUIT TELLING PEOPLE TO READ DUMB STUFF?
(Notice I’m not even revealing the book because I’m still too embarrassed that I liked it. I’ll need to see a few more friends admit they liked it before I’ll actually admit which one it was. NOW I AM WORRIED EVERYONE BUT ME WILL HATE IT BECAUSE I AM DUMB.)
Obviously this happens a lot on social media: LOUD PROCLAMATIONS OF OPINIONS! I tend to do it more with status like: OMG THIS WAS AMAZING GO SEE/READ/BUY IT NOW!
But for the purposes of this post, I’m talking about the loud NEGATIVE posts. When it’s about something obscure it doesn’t phase me too much. But that’s not usually when you see it. More often than not people like to be LOUD about their negative opinions most often in regards to something popular. I saw it A LOT during the Twilight Era, which is understandable because it’s all kinda terrible. BUT I STILL LOVE THEM WITH ALL OF MY HEART! (Do you see what I did there?) But you also see it about things like the Marvel Franchise, or Kanye West, or [Insert Popular YouTube Star Here, I Don’t Know Any Of Them].
Whenever it happens, especially when it’s about something popular that I maybe didn’t hate, it stings quite a bit. Like – suddenly I’m embarrassed that I liked the thing in question. But then I worry, wait…have I voiced LOUD and NEGATIVE opinions on social media about popular culture contributions that I didn’t like? Because I do NOT want to poop on your joy.
There are definitely popular forms of entertainment I don’t like. I don’t play video games. I don’t watch shows on Showtime or HBO. I didn’t like Season 2 of the Serial Podcast (S-Town.) I did not see the movie Gone Girl because I closed the book hating every character in it.
But when I express my distaste online, I try to do it like this:
- “I don’t watch that show on HBO, I’m more of a CW girl. I’m too prudish for adult-themed shows.”
- “I could not stop reading Gone Girl, it definitely a page-turner, I just didn’t really like the characters at all. There was no one I felt like I could root for.”
I guess I try to provide an explanation so that if someone did like the thing I’m admitting I don’t like, then they can see that my thought is more: THIS WAS NOT FOR ME, instead of THIS WAS A TERRIBLE CREATION. But I honestly don’t know if I’ve been really consistent about that. Seeing the, “THIS BOOK WAS TERRIBLE!” status a few weeks ago made me worry that maybe I have doe the same thing.
Because I’ve read A LOT OF TERRIBLE BOOKS. I just started one few weeks ago that I was told by several people was wonderful but I put it down after about 40 pages and just couldn’t motivate myself to pick it back up again. And it was a Pulitzer Prize winner!
I can’t really hunt down any statuses or tweets where I’ve aggressively lambasted something a lot of other people have enjoyed, but if I have ever done that to something you loved, please forgive me. I saw the Twilight movie 7 times in the movie theater, I have no room to judge.
But I will try to do better. I will try to remember that the words I put out into the ether are read by more people than I can really know in terms of their personal tastes in movies/tv/games. I mean…I’m the first in line to see any movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, NO MATTER WHICH ONE IT IS AND I WILL LOVE THEM ALL. I’ve seen Baywatch three times. THREE TIMES. I really hope if I’ve ever done something dumb like use my social media to blast some sort of pop culture product, that everyone would remember: Oh, wait. She still swears that “Pump Up The Volume” was Christian Slater’s best movie. Maybe I’ll just let her opinions roll off my back a bit.