Man is still good. We break things, tear them down, but we can rebuild. We can be better, we have to be.
-Batman v Superman
I see this come up at geek get-togethers as well. There are always those in the room who will bring conversations around their hatred of a favorite target – the Star Wars prequels, Batman v Superman, Prometheus, Oscar Award-winner Suicide Squad, etc – and then expound and revel in their hate for hours on end.
Personally, I find it profoundly boring.
What you hate isn’t interesting. It doesn’t make you a pleasant person to be around. And it’s a sign of a deeper discontent.
Your focus on what you hate demonstrates not only an entitlement, but an anger that the world is not being made to conform to your tastes and your ideals.
There will be movies you don’t like.
There will songs you despise.
There will be books you find boring.
And every minute you give them more attention is a minute not spent taking that risk again, on something you might love.
Film, TV, books, and comics are all art forms. They are not empirically good or bad, only our own unique perspective makes them so.
My usual choice is to smile and walk away, knowing the person has nothing of value to add to my day.
I recently stumbled upon an alternate approach.
Politely say “I don’t like to focus on what people hate. So tell me, what have you seen lately that you loved?”
The first time I tried it, the look of shock and confusion was most interesting.
After a long pause, they responded “…. I like The Flash…”
And I replied, admittedly a touch condescendingly, “I know, we all like The Flash.”
I’ve heard others try this and it’s powerful.
It makes it clear you will not be engaging in this celebration of hate. Also, hopefully, it turns the conversation to something joyful.
I delight in hearing someone champion a movie or book I did not personally care for. My friend Scott Kowalchuk put Catwoman into a fresh perspective for me, and I was able to revisit the film with joy. His excitement added value to my life.
What you love is always more interesting to other people than what you hate.