mage67 (mage67) wrote,

The Best and the Worst

I asked which film you hated the most in this post. So far everyone has a different answer. I'm still awaiting more answers coming in, but it reinforces a point you might not be aware of.

Everyone seems to like the same things and hate differently. It was sort of like what Tolstoy said, "all families are happy in the same way but unhappy in their own ways", however this is not really getting at the heart of the matter.

I think that people tend to not only be much more in touch with what they hate, they tend to be more honest about it too. Example, why do so many people claim their favorite book is the Bible or their favorite movie is some obscure art film? While they have virtues, they're also safe choices. If you say you're favorite book is the Bible, who could possibly ridicule you openly? If you claim an arty film is your favorite and someone ridicules you, you can ridicule them harder by claiming they're too ignorant to know better. Who could possibly openly hate a film like "The Passion of Christ", since it's "our savior" just getting beaten to a horrible pulp for two hours straight?

We have more sympathy when someone is put-off. It is easier to hate someone blissfully happy than terribly miserable. It is poor taste to ridicule a misery, yet great fun to bring down the overly righteous or happy people just a little. Therefore people can be more honest in their miseries and therefore can more safely go away from the crowd's opinion.

There are so many closet fans of certain things. Many people won't admit to loving childish TV programs and feel partly ashamed to watch them. Millions of people read the Enquirer, yet few will admit to buying or reading it.

It also illustrates a bit what Nietzsche said, "The more freedom you give people, the more they'll act like everyone else". However people conform for comfort and not instinctively for pleasure. The conformity is not initially their true expression, but usually becomes part of their expression gradually. People "love" the "Lord of the Rings" films or "Lost in Translation", yet try to get a coherent answer as to why. It's not so easy. People feel they should love them and so they state they do. As long as the film isn't bad, it can be great if people are afraid to assault it. They may even convince themselves they love them. It creates a snowball effect.

A particular example that comes to mind is swooning over Frank Sinatra. It was originally a stunt set up by Sinatra's manager for a show, but only a couple of women were staged to do it. As soon as more than one did it, it became acceptable and other people not involved in the stunt wound up swooning too. While Sinatra had virtues as an entertainer which helped propagate the swooning, it would never have happened probably if the stunt wasn't staged.

What point am I trying to make? Simply try to think more about what you truly like. Try to be honest with yourself about what you enjoy, even if you can't be honest about it with others. Also you can get in touch with what you like more by eliminating the possibilities you find you hate, since dislikes are easier to identify and be honest about.
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