Category: Personal Commentary

Passion, Not Venom

I have my favorites. Books, sports teams, music, movies, video games, food, and so on. Things I feel passionate enough about to recommend to others, to defend against attacks, and to explain the reasons why I like them so much when compared to other things.

One thing I’ve never felt compelled to do is to state my opinion with such vehemence that I leave no room for the possibility of people feeling differently than I do about (insert title/team/food etc here). I’ve never felt compelled to attack people for their likes and dislikes. I’ve never felt the need to ridicule them for liking something that I think it’s odd for a person like them (whoever they may be) to like. There are things I love and am passionate about, but not so passionate that I feel the need to try to convert people to thinking the same way as me about them. It’s okay for people to like other things. It’s more than okay, it’s a simple fact of life. Billions of people sharing the same thought about the same thing? Just not going to happen.

That ideal is so simple and such a given to me that I simply do not understand the venom some people choose to spew over the things they dislike. Whether it be directed at the creators of such things or the people who enjoy them.

Truth be told, I’m a pretty easy mark when it comes to entertainment. I can find some kind of value in pretty much anything. Some people might call that low standards, but personally I think it’s just a highly developed ability to seek and find the silver linings, and appreciate a work for its positives rather than condemning it for the negatives. I can’t think about a topic like this without thinking of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. A polarizing work if there ever was one.

I like the books. Are they literary masterpieces? No. But I never expected them to be. There are two aspects of the series though, that I feel deserve recognition and admiration. One, Stephanie Meyer really keyed in on her target audience with the story. It’s possible for everyone to find enjoyment in everything, but this book was definitely aimed at the teen girl audience, and I felt that the writing and the story reflected that. She’s clearly no Shakespeare, but how well does Shakespeare really go over in most high school English classes? The voice, the style, the writing all hit the right notes for the intended audience. It may not hit the standards you want/expect for yourself, but there are ways to express that without out right attacks or condemning her for her success.

The second thing I found exceptional about the series is Meyer’s courage to take such an iconic figure like a vampire and change it into something so different. Believe me, I prefer my vampires more monstrous and less sparkly, but for someone to even conceive of that idea and put it into practice is something that takes a unique mind and strong spine. In a realm where truly original ideas are pretty tough to come by, that one ranks up there as one of the more original in a very long time. Whether I think it was the “right” choice or not, when there really is no right or wrong to begin with, I can still admire the originality and how she made it work for her.

Just like I can laugh at the low-brow comedy of Adam Sandler, find enjoyment in the music of Nickelback, and greatly appreciate the superb technical aspects of Citizen Kane (even while thinking that the movie itself is one of the most boring things I’ve ever seen). Even when I don’t like something, even when the appeal makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever (The Jersey Shore for example) I’ve never once wondered how something gets popular. I know exactly how things like that get popular. I already said it earlier. There are BILLIONS of people on this planet. That’s billions with a b. Just a bit under 7 billion people actually. Do you know what 1 percent of 7 billion is? 70 million. That means if just one percent of the world shares a similar mindset and likes something, 70 MILLION people like it. Getting one percent of anything isn’t all that difficult, so ultimately nothing surprises me when it comes to what people find enjoyment in.

I’m not arrogant or foolish enough to think that everyone is going to think like me. Nor do I care enough to expend energy trying to convince people to do so. I have more than enough going on in my life to consume my energy, that’s not an area I choose to spend my time worrying about. Simply stating my opinion and allowing them the space and courtesy to make up their own mind is enough. After all, if one person doesn’t agree, there are still 6,999,999,999 more people to go.


Round 8,292,417.9

Ok, so perhaps it’s not that many rounds, but it feels like it, so that’s the number my brain came up with and the one I’m rolling with. The number of course representing the number of times I’ve sworn to myself I’m going to buckle down with my writing and then didn’t follow through.

I’m doing it again though, glutton for punishment that I am. Didn’t realize it’s coming up on TWO years since I made my last real “commitment”. On one side it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, and on the other, the last 2 years of my life feel like they’ve taken decades to get through. I have to try again, because giving up means giving in, and that just isn’t an option that ends well for me.

It’s not a resolution… it’s not even a goal… it just is. I’m going to write more this year. I’m going to try to cobble together some semblance of consistency with my efforts. Which should be really easy to do since pretty much any effort is going to be more consistent than previous efforts.

I’m going to figure out what I want from this life, and then I’m going to get it. Right now, what I really want is to be able to look back when December 2013 rolls around and NOT be able to say “This was the worst year of my life”, because that was the phrase that was on my tongue at the end of 2010, 2011, AND 2012.

Looking back now (at least at 2010 and 2011), it’s become easier to see that those years weren’t as bad as I originally perceived. That it was just one or two big events that skewed my perception of the entire year, masking the good stuff that happened the rest of the year.  And I have to believe the same will happen for last year at some point as well. But it’ll be nice to not have to wait for hindsight for those realizations to enter my mind. I’m hoping for fewer hard hits this year, but even if they continue to come, I’m going to keep my perspective, and keep pushing forward in a POSITIVE frame of mind. Easier said than done, but saying it out loud (or at least typing it out so I can read it) is the first step towards achievement.

So we begin…again… and again… and again… as many times as necessary