Tag Archives: debate

What’s So Funny ’bout Peace, Love and Understanding?

People watching can be lots of fun.

It can also be very eye-opening, especially when watching people on social media, where they can hide behind their keyboard with relative anonymity.

By and large, people tend to conform to behavioral norms when they know their actions can be seen. Sure, there’s always exceptions, especially if alcohol is involved, but we’re talking in general. But, there is ample evidence to show that once they hit social media…the “rules” of good conduct are completely optional.

I’m not going to go into the unprecedented nastiness of the current political atmosphere – that would be too easy – and probably incendiary. No – I have a much lighter example to illustrate my point…although there is no guarantee that there will be no “spirited debate” here.

The story began on January 9, 2013.

I posted, what I thought was, a humorous meme on my facebook page. I had no intention of offending anyone, I just thought it was funny. But what I discovered almost immediately was that while many saw the humor in the meme (as well as in my intent) there was a fairly significant number of people who took offense to it.

Here is the meme…

zep-minaj

As I said, I posted it on Jan. 9, 2013. And as you can see (or maybe not) it;’s relatively inane.

However, it received a steady flow of likes and comments for about a month – until around Feb. 5, 2013 when the interest seemed to fizzle out.

I was actually surprised it lasted that long. I’ve posted things which I thought were much funnier that barely got a reaction.

Little did I know that the fun had not even begun!

Let’s fast forward to Jan. 20, 2016 – for those of you keeping score at home, that’s 3 years later. I had all but forgotten about the meme. Generally I post anywhere from 3 to 10 memes, pictures, etc. on my page every day…so after 3 years, even a conservative estimate would have the Led Zeppelin/Nicki Minaj debate about 6,000 posts in the past. So when I got a notification about a reaction to the meme I was, needless to say, a bit surprised.

Imagine my surprise when my facebook page blew up shortly thereafter!! The likes, dislikes, comments, arguments, and counter-responses started rolling in at a rate that defied explanation – and it didn’t slow down.

As I watched Super Bowl 50 (Feb. 7, 2016) I had my laptop on the stand next to my recliner and the facebook notification counter looked like the odometer of my car…the comments were coming in almost one every minute.

This surge lasted quite a while before eventually petering out.

But this meme is quite literally the meme that will not be silenced!

Here we are in January, 2017 – a full 4 years after the original posting – and a fresh round of chatter has commenced!

I have to admit, I find it a bit mind-boggling.

As of this writing (Jan. 31, 2017) the meme has been shared 111,897 times. On my page alone it has received over 13,000 likes, dislikes, etc., and there are more than 1,800 comments. I can’t imagine how many people have viewed it without responding, and thousands of people have tagged others in it.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself…here is a link to the meme on my page… http://tinyurl.com/j5gca5k

Now back to the original point of this post…the behavior of people on social media.

As you can easily imagine, the comments on this meme range from complete agreement, to complete disagreement.

There has been laughter and anger.

People have defended Zeppelin and Minaj with equal enthusiasm.

These reactions are all understandable, but there have been some responses I never would have expected.

I’ve had to delete several comments made by people who were a little over-zealous in the expression of their position. People have called those with differing opinions all sorts of nasty names, and I have been called a racist (among other things) for posting it.

This is what really surprised me.

Anger…and so much of it.

Music, like life, is subject to opinion.

To be offended or angry because somebody’s opinion doesn’t jive with yours is nothing but destructive.

If their opinion is going to change, it will not be the result of your outrage…and more importantly, carrying that anger around with you will never do you any good.

Whether you prefer Led Zeppelin or Nicki Minaj – you’re right. And if somebody disagrees with you – they’re right too.

As for those who have the effrontery to take the opposing view…it doesn’t make them a bad person. It just makes them somebody with a different perspective…it’s what makes the world go ‘round.

Don’t take it personally – that’s when the trouble starts.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Fifty Shades of Grey is Art – Whether You Like It or Not

Before we get to today’s topic please take a couple of minutes to watch this video of an Australian movie critic’s review of the movie adaptation of the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

critic

Well – this is embarrassing…the review has been taken down because of copyright issues. I’m sorry about that.

In short – she trashed it. According to her there was not a single redeeming quality to be found in the movie. She called it “domestic violence dressed up as erotica” and several other negative things. She even went as far as to say that her husband did not get lucky after the movie because (I’m paraphrasing) it left her anything but in the mood.

Agree? Disagree? Don’t care?

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have never read any of the Fifty Shades novels, nor have I seen the movie…and barring a frontal lobotomy, I never will.

50 shadesThat being said…let’s talk about taste.

A wise man once said “Opinions are like assholes…everybody has one, and everybody thinks everybody else’s stinks.”

I posted the above video (when it could actually be seen) on my facebook page recently and, within minutes, I had a nice little string of comments – some agreeing with the critic and some accusing her of having her head where her opinion is.

I’m not picking on Fifty Shades (even though it was originally written as fan fiction for the Twilight saga), I chose it specifically because it has an immediate polarizing effect whenever it comes up in conversation, so I figured it would be a good example for my point…

Book(s) or movie…it doesn’t matter…mention Fifty Shades of Grey and you’ll have a debate raging in no time. Not just your garden variety debate either…you’ll have a full-blown free-for-all with one side saying it’s awesome, another side saying it’s trash, the third side will tear it up for the way it objectifies women and there will even be a side complaining that the author didn’t properly research the whole BDSM scene before writing about it.

debate

Men, women, young, old – Fifty Shades gets ‘em hot…and not in a good way.

But is it good?

Is it trash?

Is it a poor excuse for erotica?

Is it a brilliantly played card by the author to cash in on horny housewives?

Relax…those are all trick questions.

The answer is to each one of them is Yes…and No

When it comes to our taste in art there are no right, or wrong, answers. Good taste and bad taste are totally arbitrary concepts. Art appeals to each of us in a different way, for different reasons. The world would be extremely boring if everybody liked the exact same kind of music, movies, paintings and books.

I think we need to amend the list of taboo discussion topics…Religion, Politics, Sex and Art.

Call it what you will…but Fifty Shades is art.

That’s right, I said it. It’s art. art

You couldn’t pay me to read it and I’d rather pour bleach in my eyes than watch the movie…

…but, love it or hate it, it’s art, and the thing that makes it art is the fact that we can’t come to an all-encompassing opinion about its quality (or lack thereof).

It’s the difference between art and science.

If I say “Jaws is the best movie ever made” there will be people who agree with me and people who disagree with me, and with varying degrees of intensity.

Now if I say “The sum of the squares of the two legs of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.” Nobody can disagree with me – because it’s science.

pythagorean theorum

A fact is a fact is a fact…but an opinion is, well, we’ve already covered that.

Whether you’re talking about books, music, movies, paintings or interpretive dance – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

The interesting thing, to me anyway, is how defensive some people get.

I’ve seen people defend their favorite artist with more ferocity than they would their own children. I remember once, in high school, when I wanted to pound a classmate six ways from Sunday for having the audacity to say that Kiss was a better band than The Beatles.

beatles

I kid you not…to this day I’m still amazed at the self-restraint I was able to muster in the face of such blasphemy.

But, I digress…

I imagine the first art critic made his debut in a cave in France, and there was probably more than one Neanderthal there with their leopard skin wrap in a twist over his review. Who knows…it may have been the reason for the first war, or at least the first rumble.

critics

Since then there has been no shortage of people standing by to tell us why something is good or bad—and an equally ample supply of folks willing to let everyone know how wrong the dingbats in the first group are.

It’s funny how people will call a reviewer all sorts of names when said reviewer takes an opposing stance on a particular work of art, but those same people, when trying to decide which movie to see, will say “oh, let’s watch that one….they say it’s really good.”

Who says it’s really good?

Probably the same guy you called a moron last week because he panned Fifty Shades.

The impetus for this entire post, believe it or not, was a conversation with a fellow author about book reviews. We authors ask (more like beg) readers to post reviews knowing that it’s only a matter of time until somebody trashes our book.

It’s not an easy pill to swallow, but you have to take the good with the bad. The trick to dealing with it is to remember that it’s all a matter of taste.

So, the bottom line is, whether you’re an artist or an art aficionado, screw the critics, because art appreciation it is not a matter of black and white…

…it’s all about shades of grey.

face palm

(come on – tell me you didn’t see that coming!!)

 

As always – thank you for reading

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