Confident Ignorance

Sometimes, I feel like identity leads to improper knowledge for people who like or dislike  a certain thing. What I mean by this is how people tend to go crazy in saying something like a movie or a person is the best or worst thing ever, just because its identity is classified as such in society or popular culture. For example, everyone hates “Twilight,” “Transformers,” and Justin Bieber. But why? What knowledge can you give that will explain your distaste for these subjects?

For this topic, the theme of “phenomenon” comes up. Phenomenon is described (not the Locke definition) as something observable that is happening in society and reaching all parts and people. For example, “Harry Potter” is a phenomenon. “Hunger Games” is a phenomenon. But what exactly entails these things to be such important things to talk about, or things that everyone tends to over-defend in their honor?

After all, people go crazy over people like Jennifer Lawrence, but people hate Justin Bieber. Now, this analogy isn’t the best, because Bieber has done some questionable things as a human being, but even before that, when he was a fresh, young Youtube star, people already hated him. Granted, Justin Bieber isn’t someone I admire for his music, but he wasn’t a person who deserved all that hate for no reason. His style of music might have been simplistic and he reached fame and riches, but did he really deserve that hate?

On the other side of the spectrum, you see things like Frozen, who people consider the best movie “evar,” with amazing songs that really liberate female characters from Disney princess stereotypes of needing a man. Now, if those are the reasons why you like that movie, then fine. You can like Frozen for that reason.  But tell me YOUR reasons why you like them, not what the reason that popular culture in society gives. Be honest; when you watched Frozen, you weren’t thinking about Female-liberation (well, maybe you have, but I doubt the first impression that Frozen gave you wasn’t with this message, but rather with its music and animation). But nowadays, people start identify things with what society is categorizing them with. There is no fresh, personal identity to these opinions because if you deviate from them, it’s seen as strange.

That’s where “phenomena” comes in. People like to be part of phenomena, but only if they  are part of something that people don’t mind, or even approve of. If you look at that recent post about the color of the dress, it’s full of people wanting to be part of the next big thing or “phenomenon.” They want to be in the in-crowd, so when people discuss what color they saw, they can be in a certain color group. Same thing with Frozen or Twilight; it’s cool to love Frozen and cool to hate Twilight, but once you deviate from this popular opinion, you receive some raised eyebrows.

Now, this isn’t some hipster rant. I’m not saying to hate popular things or go with the popular opinion; I’m just saying: Be honest with yourself. Don’t let other people tell you what to like or dislike. Just speak your mind, but make sure you have good reasons to why you like them, and let those reasons be yours. After all, do you REALLY need a reason to like something?

I’ll let you decide, but the answer is yes.

Calvin and Hobbes - Snowflake photo Snowflake.gif

And just because I can.

2 responses to “Confident Ignorance

  1. Jake, I think you posit an interesting argument. I agree that it is odd how people seem to adopt this mentality that they must love what everyone else loves and hate what everyone else hates. I do agree however that the Bieber example is slightly skewed. The example that immediately comes to mind is Nickelback. When Nickelback first came out, I don’t remember many, if any people, saying how much they hate Nickelback, but rather a lot of kids really enjoyed their music. Then, as soon as the internet began mocking them millions of people immediately began stating their hatred for Nickelback with no reason at all. A similar occurrence happened with Nicolas Cage. Even though Nicolas Cage won an Oscar for best actor, has been in several fun, interesting, and good movies, and has been a pretty straight-shooter off the screen, at some point he became the butt of everyone’s jokes for no clear reason. This ability for people to just adopt what everyone else thinks is odd. I think a lot of it simply has to do with people trying to fit in and that they actually just fear being different. For example, I am sure there are many people who still listen to Nickelback regularly, I mean they have sold over 50 million albums all over the world. I think a lot of these people who “hate” Nickelback simply are afraid to show affection for their music. I also would argue that this idea of “hating” or “loving” a certain phenomenon produced a lot of contrarians. For example, when Frozen became incredibly popular, there were a lot of people who would openly express their “hatred” for Frozen, just to demonstrate that they are different, and by expressing their “hatred” those people soon formed their own group.

  2. Exactly. I can’t stand when people act like this for no reason. There is no reason to bash these people, like Nickleback and Nicholas Cage, nor movies like “Frozen” just because they’re hyped. I understand that people would be irritated at how much praise these people would get, but I feel like their irritation is being misdirected at the wrong places. I guess though, once these things are hyped, I wonder if it would really show the quality of these mediums or artists, because once people start to talk about them, more people would read or analyzed the final product or performance, thus allowing more accuracy on how people feel. If only people didn’t succumb to just giving everything 10/10 just because they liked it, or hate just because they thought it was mildly annoying. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves

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