I’m taking today to not discuss writing. It’s a thing I do occasionally. Instead, I want to talk about people.
I was a part of two rather interesting discussions yesterday. The first was involved the new Indiana Jones movie, and the other got me thinking.
The Indiana Jones one was fairly typical for the internet. Some one posted an article about the movie, and fifty people immediately jumped to “It’s a terrible move, and cash grab! It’s going to suck.”
And, at first, I didn’t care. I’m an old school, hardcore geek. Most people think my interests are weird and/or boring. I’m used to it. But as the thread continued, the amount of vitriol aimed at this movie (which is pretty much all rumor at this point) began to get to me. I was (and am) excited about this. I love Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford is too old (dammit) to play the part. Chris Pratt will, probably, be an awesome Indy.
But my dear gods, people were talking about this movie like it was the anti-Christ on celluloid. And I got mad. As my friends will tell you, once I get the bit between my teeth, I will not give up.
And it wasn’t that I wanted to convince them that this was going to be a great movie. I wanted them to admit that remakes aren’t inherently terrible. I even said multiple times, “If you don’t want to watch it, fine, don’t.” They refused to stop saying it was going to be terrible and ‘ruin’ the legacy of the first three.
And it seemed that no matter how many times I pointed out that good movies can and have been remade/rebooted into equally good movies, they would not budge. Even when they admitted that a certain remake was good.
There were so damn many pivots in the discussion, but I refused to stop. After refuting their diversionary tactics I kept circling back to my point: Not all remakes/reboots are terrible.
And while that discussion was circling the drain, I tiptoed in on another. Some one was complaining about their friend being ‘too sensitive.’ Their complaints centered on the phrase ‘Well, that’s just your opinion.’ The complainer seemed to feel that this phrase was unnecessary, as they had only pointed out that they don’t like the X-men.
Upon reading the alleged conversation, I came to a conclusion. It wasn’t that the complainer didn’t like X-men, it was how they said it. They made it sound like a judgement call. It wasn’t that they didn’t like X-men, they made their friend feel stupid for liking X-men.
And upon that realization, I turned back to my discussion of Indiana Jones, and to post yet another refutation (Guys, seriously, they do reboot plays. Rent is a reboot of La Vie Boheme!), and I realized what my real problem was.
I don’t care if you don’t want an Indiana Jones reboot! But I do care if you make me feel inferior or stupid for wanting one. And I will defend my right to like whatever the hell I want.
And we’ve finally come to my point. Everybody talks about how ‘sensitive’ people are these days, without ever thinking about what they themselves are saying. Maybe it isn’t that people are sensitive. Maybe you’re being a jerk.
And it’s especially grievous when I’m talking to other writers. We’re supposed to attention to language. We’re supposed to think about wordage and usage, and how it affects other people.
I’m not pointing fingers, and I certainly avoided names in this. I also doubt anybody involved in either discussion reads this blog. So why bother?
Well, I think it needs to be said, and often. If you find yourself complaining that people are too sensitive all the time, maybe it’s not them. Perhaps, it’s you.
And even if you’re not, think about what you say. Consider the fact that the people who read and/or listen to your words are people with thoughts and emotions. What you say means something. Words do not exist in a vacuum and they don’t have handy little links that people can click to see your true intent.