In 2016, I look forward to the limitless potential and innumerable opportunities that lay ahead, I have only one resolution worth sharing, in the hope that it catches on with other people. No more Hating. Three simple words that are going to be as hard, if not harder to stick too, than getting ripped abs or eating better (or whatever transient thing people aspire to in the wake of the emotionally trying holidays with family and in the drunken hours leading up to a regrettable hook up).
For the purpose of this article, I’m talking about a very narrow and specific context, one that given the current pop culture landscape and the economy of internet content, has become a huge overwhelming part of our daily lives. The discussion, evaluation, and speculation of entertainment based consumable pop culture intellectual properties i.e. nerdery.
I’m a fan of criticism: positive constructive criticism from disciplined and knowledgeable people in the pursuit of truth and understanding. A life not merely consumed but appreciated and understood, cherished and honored. A life more grateful.
But let’s not kid ourselves most discourse is an unending interminable hellscape of hate, trolling, and loathing. Especially, in the world of social media. The psychic distance of the platform that allows trolls to feel the anonymity necessary to inflict their self hate on others like a perverse reverse Care Bear Stare; has the unfortunate buff of being able to pierce not only the intended victim but other people like hateful universal shrapnel that ignores armor rating and pierces us to the core.
But it’s not just the willfully malicious that send these hurtful messages reverberating through the internet liquefying hearts and minds, it’s all of us. The accidental trolls. The Devil’s Advocate in a meaningless subjective conversation that adds nothing of value to the OP or the needs of the audience. It’s the entitled and unchecked reactionary nerdiness that is at it’s core naive, compulsive, and fascist.
Not all of us want the same things, or appreciate the same things in the same way, and that is OK. None of us are Paladins charged by a higher power to proselytize and convert, or correct the thinking of others in situations where our negative influence is unwanted, unnecessary, and counterproductive.
Allow me the indulgence to lay out some assumptions, for the purpose of informed consent, so those of you that choose to hate can understand exactly what you are doing in the context of the present attention economy. Entertainment properties are not concepts they are businesses. We can engage them as poetry, and the associated tropes and themes of the intellectual property as concepts but in doing so you must accept both the joys and limits of rhetoric: it’s all subjective, there is no final word, and unless you derive pleasure or compensation for your discourse — you are wasting your time.
We are operating in an attention based economy and clicks are not subjective and quality is irrelevant. People’s love, like their faith, is not a truth based quantity; it is a value proposition and it has value and relevance to the individual therefore it does, that is faith in economic terms. The social contract of nostalgia.
It’s a numbers game and the property’s chance of finding more people that want what they provide is increased directly in proportion to how much they are discussed/spread/trend. When you discuss something merely for the purpose of hating on it, all you are doing is increasing the amplitude. You are boosting the signal. If you dislike something and you want to see it fail, be effective shun it. Voldemort that shit. This counterintuitive and wasteful use of creative energies most of us are engaging in is just sad and naive. Nerdery is a business enterprise it operates by known laws and thrives under known conditions. You are only hurting yourself when you give into the hate and give the thing you hate power over you. Why validate or legitimize something by engaging it? Never feed the troll my friend, or you become one.
In the sixties marketers created the teeny bopper to focus their efforts on acquiring the disposable income of those children and to use their love as leverage to take even more money from their parents. And olds like me will tell you that the word, or even social class of The Nerd was once reserved for the awkward, obsessed, and liminal outsiders that were scorned until the very things that made them different made them valuable to larger society. But the word has been elevated and democratized.
There are some that will tell you that these things matter. It matters if someone likes something they don’t like. It’s important to explain to them why they are wrong for consuming X instead of Y. But I’m just gonna suggest that we enjoy the buffet, and keep our eyes on our own plates. There is literally too much good stuff to waste your time hating on the things you don’t like.
People may feign intelligence or some sort of romantic outsider status by self determining themselves a nerd. And that’s cool, it’s an accepted social script for them to initiate a conversation about the things they love with other people and maybe make a friend. That is all it is and that is ok; relax. There is zero value to asserting your beliefs over theirs, in regard to, what or who they appreciate or love. You are only outing yourself as an asshole when you hating. And that is ok too, we are all assholes at one point or another. But try not to make a habit of it.