Opinions: What to do?
Posted by AJ
Opinions are an interesting phenomenon. We all have them. We all have opinions about everything and anything. That’s just how it is. What separates a smart person from an idiot however is how he or she puts forth that opinion. If you can’t put your opinions forward without coming across as condescending, dismissive, arrogant, twat, angry, needlessly aggressive, and so on and so forth, then it is better to keep your opinion to yourself.
Let’s see why.
Like I said, we all have opinions and for us our opinions matter to us, irrespective of how they matter to anyone else. They are OUR opinions and we are entitled to having whatever opinions we want. Its just that when we try and have a conversation, whether face-to-face with someone or on the internet, it is important to keep in mind that often times intent translates rather badly, especially in the case of the latter. The challenge therefore is to be succinct and respectful of whatever opinions the person acros from you has.
Personally, and frankly speaking, I often jump the gun myself. I’m easily rattled when someone talks smack at me, or my friends, and since I can’t really take a thunder hammer to their face, I sometimes shamelessly resort to making unwarranted accusations. We are all guilty of it at one time or another. If you are not, well in the case you can have an internet cookie.
So anyway. Intent translates badly on the internet. That is a fact as in F.A.C.T. FACT. What you say can end up meaning something entirely different to whoever you are addressing. I see this almost everyday on Facebook, on the Bolthole, on Warseer, on news sites, and pretty much everywhere else to, even author blogs. We all have a right to our opinions but we don’t have the right to shove those opinions down someone else’s throat. Or to call them names if they don’t agree. Or insult their family or their religion or anything else.
By now you are probably wondering just what on earth prompted this post.
Answer: I’m not really sure. This post has been bubbling for quite a while, more so since January when I published a certain review. I can already see some of you shaking your heads at that or at least raising your eyebrows.
For those who don’t know, I gave said item a really low score, which by my standards means it is just short of boring and uninventive and not something I would recommend, I got a lot of hate mail from readers. Not to rehash everything or anything that was said, but people were surprised that I could downgrade such AN AWESOME publication by such AN AWESOME author.
Its kinda like that one guy who really likes the Star Wars prequel movies and says so in front of a bunch of people who hate it and they all gang up on him and forcefully try to make him change his opinion. Right. That is definitely going to work.
The thing about being a reviewer, just as being a writer, is that you can’t please everyone. That is just not possible, no matter how hard you try to aim for that. The best that was possible under the circumstances was for me to be as objective as I could in that review. It certainly wasn’t a review where I didn’t like anything about the publication. It had some good things going for it but overall, the experience just left me disappointed. There just didn’t seem to be any particular point to the publication as part of the larger series and characters that it was telling the story of. It was just, cool because it is cool.
I still stand by that opinion and nothing is really going to change that. I wanted to like it but I couldn’t. Plain and simple. High expectations and glowing word of mouth had something to do with it too but that’s a topic for a future post.
The point is that we all have different views about things, whether it is about what we write or what we read or what we see or what we feel or whatever else.
One of the golden rules of life: you can’t please everybody so stop trying to.
I see comments from people on Black Library’s Facebook/twitter feeds and on fora where people talk downright smack at the authors and editors and the marketing people and everyone else with respect to the limited edition releases. Yes, they are expensive. Yes, they may not be worth the high price as YOU find it. But guess what, if you think its too expensive and that Black Library is “shooting itself in the foot with this abomination” then that’s your opinion. And you are welcome to it. Just don’t come crying round the corner and complain like a child who has had his toys taken away by Darth Vader. Don’t come to discussion boards and insult the people who worked their asses off to bring you those special releases. Don’t get personal with people who defend Black Library’s practice (and yes, I have had THIS happen to me as well).
You are just going to come across as an utter fucking tool. Opinions are a dime a thousand on the internet. Being wilfully dismissive and arrogant and condescending isn’t really going to set you apart from the rest of the people like you. Doesn’t matter if you think it does. That’s another fact for you.
People do the same kind of personal bullshit when it comes to eBooks. I know a lot of people who don’t like eBooks and will never read eBooks and that’s fine, because they all don’t go around telling others off for it. They are respectful of other people’s views and while they may make jokes about it and what not, they don’t act holier than thou.
Which is what a troll does in respect to the topic of this post. Which is what an utter fucking tool does in respect to the topic of this post.
Just don’t be a preacher man. I hate a preacher like that. And I hate morons who go around calling people out for their views. Give what you wanna receive and at least it won’t put people off using discussion boards and social media. I see this happenign a lot. I even know a select few people who don’t use discussion boards and social media for precisely that reason.
The anti-opinion police is everywhere. And it doesn’t play nice. Not at all.
I’m sort of rambling by now but you know what, this be my blog. So I can do as I wish. I can act as I wish because this is my little corner of the internet that I theoretically own.
Yes, this is quite a reminder of Christopher Priest’s recent comments on his blog about the Clarke Award shortlist for the year isn’t it? A lot of people on various places defended him by saying that he has his opinions and is entitled to them and that as long as he is doing it all on his blog what’s the harm?
I hope I’m not the only person who sees the problem there. Yes, CP, did it on his blog, which DOES happen to be the place where he talks about stuff that matters to him and what not. But, shouldhe really have come across as condescending and judgemental as he did, especially given the popularity he has and that a lot of people undoubtedly depend on him for book recommendations and what not?
I have never read anything by Christopher Priest and I don’t have any interest to do so anyway, because his work (what I have glimpsed on his site) doesn’t really intrigue me. And just to make it clear, I don’t have any interest in reading his work because of how he wrote that one blog post. And I wouldn’t advise people to be put off by being potential readers for that post.
Objectivity is key. Respect is key. Without either of those, our opinions are worth nothing more than faecal matter.
Opinions, opinions, opinions. They are all around us. How we choose to respond to them indicates what kind of people we are. How we put forth our opinions does the same.
I am a Science-fiction geek and nerd and fanboi. I love the Star Wars prequel movies. I have seen Episode 1 on DVD, on television and in 3D. Loved it every single time. I think the prequel trilogy is fantastic and that George Lucas did an excellent bang-up job with them. You can feel free to disagree of course. Whether or not you disagree doesn’t really matter to me.
I have seen all four Twilight movies. They are not great movies, but they are not as terrible as people make them out to be either. Sparkly vampires you say? So what? Be really careful and ask yourself just how many times you actually see them sparkle. And that whole bloodless thing and having sex? Come on. Grow the fuck up. Don’t hate just because the author didn’t realize the particular connections about that part of our biology. You’d be surprised at how many random, obvious as hell concepts YOU miss in any given week. Trust me on that.
I have read almost all of C.S.Goto’s fiction work for Black Library. Particularly, I have read his Dawn of War novels and the Deathwatch novels more than three times each. You know what? They are not half as bad as people make them out to be. The first Dawn of War novel isn’t any good for sure but that’s irrelevant. Lamentable that there really aren’t any good video game novelizations out there but that’s just reality. The other two are actually decent and intriguing. And I do happen to like Warrior Brood quite a bit. It has some really good moments with the Deathwatch and the Mantis Warriors. I’d go so far as to say that I would actually recommend that one to people. Warrior Coven, not so much because that one is really loopy with the lore and is confusing. But on its own, it is a decent enough read.
Another thing that really gets me mad is author snobbery. Authors have a right to feel superior about what they do in any number of ways except one: showing that superiority on discussion boards. Where I’m concerned, the less said about this the better. But suffice to say, no author has the right to talk down to anyone, at least not unless the other person is being downright rude and insulting. Even then however, I wouldn’t really advise it. There’s been a lot of shitstorms in the reviewing internet space the last few months because authors lash out at reviewers but honestly, while I acknowledge that that is a big problem, the bigger issue is authors being passive aggressive towards fora members.
Anyways, this has been too much of a rambling and ranting post. Which was kinda sorta the point but it still grew too much. Like I said, thoughts have been churning for a while now and I just had to get this all off my chest. I don’t really like to rant in general like this and while there have been a few isolated cases over the last few months (very few cases I assure you), this post in itself is very much a singular entity for a good long while (read: very long while).