Not To Be Negative, but No*
Hating hate, for goodness sake
It’s OK not to like certain things. Hell, we are defined as often by our dislikes as we are our likes (ask my wife about my feelings on corduroy — the satanic fabric, not the cute bear). There comes a time, however, when that much negativity can become toxic to the soul, and I find myself worrying about a certain type of person — namely, people who are apparently making a living hating things.
A friend and I are watching The Rings of Power (we’re still a week behind as I write this, so no spoilers, please!), and I’m digging it. I’ve never been Tolkien reader, but I really enjoyed the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. I was indifferent about The Hobbit trilogy (“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread,” to quote the titular Hobbit, albeit from a different film). So, I recognize I’m coming at this from a certain point of view.
I’m enjoying the spectacle of it, and not too worried when it veers away from The Silmarillion, because there are a lot of books that I’m never going to get around to reading, and that’s probably one of them.
Everyone’s got an opinion, but omigod, a quick search for “Rings of Power” on YouTube and the resulting torrent of negativity is honestly breathtaking:
- Amazon LOST! Rings of Power: One FAILURE To Rule Them All
- Rings of Power Showrunners Are DELUSIONAL!
- Rings Of Power Is A PATHETIC FAILURE!
And on and on.
My curiosity piqued, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole and noticed that so many YouTubers seem to make a career of just absolutely hating things. Now, I know, videos that have a strong opinion verses a lukewarm reaction (“Eh, this was all right, I guess”) probably get more clicks and therefore bring in more revenue from eyeballs on advertising.
(A quick aside: YouTube, please stop showing me those Liberty Mutual commercials. Please?)
Still, it’s not healthy to hate so much. It’s just not good for the soul.
The truly puzzling thing to me are fans of certain intellectual properties who seem to detest any new thing that comes out. In other words, no one hates Star Wars like Star Wars fans.
I’ll admit I was guilty of my fair share of Episode I pile ons, but I don’t think I made it a major part of my personality make up, and I certainly didn’t tell people they were wrong for liking it.
(At least I hope I didn’t — I’ve done a lot of podcasting over the years, and it’s hard to keep track of everything. If I ever came close to committing this sin, I wholeheartedly apologize.)
Sometimes, something isn’t made for you, and that’s OK. It’s OK that a film doesn’t make you feel like you did when you saw Raiders of the Lost Ark when you were 10. It’s easier to move a 10-year-old than a 50-year-old. It’s not the movie’s fault. It’s no one’s fault.
One of my favorite YouTube channels is CinemaWins, and their “Everything GREAT About (insert film title).” It’s not a Pollyanna, “isn’t this wonderful” experience — the host will point out things that aren’t great about the film, and he does some really questionable movies — they’re not all masterpieces. What I love is the channel’s mission — “Every movie is someone’s favorite movie” and “Liking things is more fun than not liking things.”
Hell, the channel got me to rewatch The Eternals with fresh eyes, and y’know what? There were some things to enjoy in that film. It’s still not my favorite MCU film (not by a long shot), but it made me appreciate what’s there.
I know my little opinion piece here is like shooting a forest fire with a 29 cent water pistol, but I feel better, anyway. It’s OK to take a breath. Relax. If you don’t enjoy something, you don’t have to watch it. If there’s been a bad film made off of your favorite book, the book is still there.
(* I stole that line from somewhere, but for the life of me I can’t remember where. The Young Ones, perhaps?)