Sometimes I find myself thinking “everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
More and more these days I find myself asking why it is an entitlement. I find myself now thinking that it shouldn’t be an entitlement at all; it should be a privilege, a privilege which you earn by being informed, logical, and willing to express it in a tactful, mature and reasonable way.
I’m not some advocate of radically over-the-top political correctness to the point where it stops making common sense, but I do believe that people should stop being so unpleasant, hostile and downright confrontational on matters of subjectivity.
I recently read a Blog about how a certain high profile Metal musician was supposedly a hack. Fair enough. If you’ve noticed a pattern of artistically-questionable decision-making by that artist then feel free to document it, feel free to question it, but why do you have to get so worked-up and rude about it? Why do you have to break out homophobic bigoted comments for people who disagree? Why does the whole thing have to be written in a spiteful and undeservingly superior tone?
I’ve also read a few dozen blogs about bands that were overrated or undeserving of their success. I’ve watched those youtube-sensation videos of teenagers arguing into the camera about why certain trendy bands are good or bad. Even the people disagreeing with the uninformed and poorly expressed originals are usually haughty and superior. Instead of educating people out of their ignorance, people choose to just pour derision on them in a pseudo-intellectual manner that makes them look as childish as the people they are complaining about.
Why can nobody respectfully disagree with each other anymore? Why does everybody have to churlishly insult each other and go out of their way to be as needlessly offensive and confrontational as possible? Is it really that fulfilling and enjoyable to be a jerk to people?
Current Metal Internet Culture Example:
Blogger: This fucking faggot is a talentless sack of shit. He is so fucking useless that I hope he gets murdered.
Commenter: I love that musician.You are a pathetic retard and I hope you get raped.
Blogger: Fuck you, go to hell you cock-sucking peadophile, your parents have down-syndrome and I hope you get AIDs.
Hypothetical Better Metal Internet Culture Example:
Blogger: Here are a list of well-explained reasons why I dislike this piece of media.
Commenter: I love that piece of media. I respectfully disagree with you.
Blogger: That doesn’t change my mind. I strongly dislike them. You know what? This is all subjective anyway. Let’s agree to disagree.
Ok, I know that is an amusingly over-simplified and slightly awkward/robotic alternative to what we currently have, but you get the gist of it. There’s no need to be so vicious and hateful over something as subjective as music.
Homophobia and offending the disabled have no place in a discussion about whether some piece of music is good or not, or whether some artist is credible or not. Even calling each other virgins, idiots, losers, saddos and any other deliberately goading remark is a bit far – there’s no need to damage each other’s self-esteem over a simple disagreement over a matter of taste. I definitely think everyone should stop wishing serious illness and injury on each other. Its just unnecessary. Who wants that sort of aggro in their life?
Maybe you feel that Metallica sold-out. Good. Write about that, it may be interesting. Maybe you don’t think Metallica sold-out. Good. Write about that, it may be interesting. Just maybe don’t write about musicians with the same vitriol and nastiness that racists use in their hate-speech.
Next time you want to tell someone to drown in their own shit just because they told you that your assessment of a piece of art didn’t chime with their own, instead try and understand why they feel that way and start a discussion with them, maybe you’ll have someone interesting to talk to and share opinions with.
Next time you see something about a band you like that is poorly written and overtly offensive, instead of telling them that they have severe learning disabilities and support Adolf Hitler’s cause, maybe instead work with them and tell them how to better express themselves. Ask them if they’d be willing to edit the comments to remove the slurs. Most of it is probably written in-the-moment by people who mightn’t know any better and they may benefit much more from supportive and constructive criticism than outright argument and attack.
I know its only the internet, but everyone on here is a human being. Let’s try and stop being so hurtful to each other and at least try to treat each other with consideration and respect.