I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to things I enjoy.
Music. Films. Books. Beer. Restaurants. Pens. The list goes on and on.
I have very specific tastes regarding what I like. And I think that’s fine. Taste is one thing. However, imposing those tastes on others is quite a different story. Sadly, this is also an attitude I see taking root with more and more critics, making their reviews more slanted op-eds than honest and objective critiques.
Often, this feeling – just like arrogance itself – is a result of insecurity. When an insecure person lacks confidence in their opinions, they have a much greater need for others to not only see their angle on things, but to agree with them. To them, if you disagree it’s not because you feel differently, it’s because you have bad taste and can’t appreciate true greatness.
And, I’m ashamed to admit, I did that. I did it with an equal mixture of anger and glee. I used to mock and berate people for what they liked, telling them they were wrong or silly or dumb.
Basically, I was a dick.
It’s an attribute I still occasionally have trouble shaking, but I’ve come to reverse my position on this. The most ironic thing is that it’s not like I was the arbiter of high brow taste. My wife and I used to eat Chinese takeout while watching Hoarders. That’s not exactly Urban League material. Shit, I love and champion Batman v Superman and Macklemore and Young Guns II and even wrote an entire book defending individuals and projects that I feel have been unfairly maligned, so who am I to tell people what is or is not good?
While this is a personal evolution that has been occurring for several years now, it accelerated greatly when my daughter began showing interest in different activities because I want to encourage my daughter to pursue whatever she loves, whether it’s a tea party or sports, dressing up as a princess or a handy(wo)man, gender roles be damned. These things bring her unmitigated joy.
Once we hit adolescence, we become pretty good at masking our emotions, but kids’ faces show you everything and when you tell a child they can’t do something that makes them happy, they give you a look of confusion and sadness. I realized that this is the feeling that people have inside when you tell them that.
So I’m done with being the judge, jury, and executioner of these things and I think everyone should follow suit.
If you find something you love and it doesn’t hurt others, enjoy the hell out of it. And, on the flip slide, let people enjoy what they like. Whether it’s professional wrestling or swings or bad romantic comedies.
There is so much anger and bigotry and hate in this serious, scary world that if people find something that brings them joy, don’t try to extinguish their love of it.
It may be the only thing getting them through the day.
Christopher Pierznik’s eight books are available in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, Medium, and many more.Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.