Now that we’re all married and happy together, maybe some writing can happen around here.
In planning what to write about here, I’ve started to notice a trend, at least in the things I write.
It’s a lot of reviews of things.
Nothing wrong with that – whole blogs are purely reviews of things. I could make my entire blog about reacting to things, and that may remain the same. But there is something I do want to change.
I’ve started to notice, reviews kinda, really, suck.
It All Comes Back to Capitalism
Western society has this hilarious, if stressful preoccupation with time. As in, time’s really valuable to the West (time’s not real). As a result, when someone over here wants to do something, most people want to be sure it’s going to be worth the time they spend.
And thus the review was born.
It streamlines making good choices. Do I want to see this movie? It’s got 97 on Rotten Tomatoes, so sure, I’ll probably enjoy myself as long as it deals with something I’m interested in. Do I want to pay $60 for this new game? It got a 1/5 on IGN, so maybe I’ll skip it. If you look at all the resources you utilize to make decisions throughout your day, you might be surprised. I know I was when I started noticing just how many review videos I would watch before playing/seeing the thing they were talking about, trying to judge if it was worth the time or money. Those decisions are important when you have expensive Colorado rent to pay, so I can make an argument supporting the practice.
Live Your Life
But I can make an argument for the other side as well, and it’s a trend I’ve been noticing for a few years.
The first time was a couple years ago, right when I started getting back into podcasts.
Those who know me are well aware, but for those who don’t, I eat podcasts like snack food. That shit’s my jam. I listen to them while I’m driving, especially while I’m at work. I’ll take time out when I’m at home and have a listen to stay caught up if I get behind, it’s something that really gives me joy.
One of my favorites in Invisibilia, probably the first podcasts I picked up. It was a gateway drug, with interesting stories and heartfelt narratives that got me interested in the whole enterprise. Invisibilia has remained the only podcast that was able to make me weep actual tears from a really powerful story they told about mental illness – I was really moved.
And then, stupidly, I wanted to be vindicated for my love of the show. So I hopped on the Dumbass Express over to the reviews for the show to check out what other people thought, thinking that they could only have the same as opinion as me. This was my favorite show, and I have good taste, they have to see it the same way, right?
They hated it.
Everyone had their own complaints about various things, but I want to take a quick aside here and discuss one in particular. Out of all the negative things people said about the show, the one thing that came up more than anything else, was something called ‘vocal fry’. For the uninitiated, vocal fry is common among people who have a voice with a low register, where you’re trying to speak and be heard, but at a respectable volume, so your voice bottoms out a little. The three women that do Invisibilia all have deeper voices (really great for radio), but that means their voices can bottom out.
I’m taking the mic for a quick aside. Complaining about vocal fry is like complaining about someone’s face shape, or old people whining about the kids these days and what they wear and how they sound. I said I wouldn’t do this anymore, and I’m going to try after this, but I feel like this is important. No one actually speaks in perfect stage English and projects like they’re trying to land that King Lear role, people talk the way they talk. Vocal fry is so innocuous it has to be pointed out before it can be noticed – otherwise, no one cares. People don’t listen to that, and people who are annoyed by it are pretentious and need to check their privilege. People will talk the way they talk, and will be comfortable, and complaining about it changes nothing, especially people who sometimes talk with vocal fry.
Get over it.
I feel a little better.
Despite how much I disagreed with people’s assessment of the show, now it’s something I notice when I listen to the show. It doesn’t take away from how much I enjoy the show, but it does distract me a little, more than when I was ignorant. The voices don’t bother me, but I just catch it when it happens, and am reminded about how crappy the reviews were versus my own enjoyment of the show.
So, I started ignoring reviews for things.
As valuable as my time is, I realize that it was guarding me from experiences. Some of them would be bad experiences, because some reviews are correct and things are genuinely not that enjoyable. But only to the people who don’t enjoy that thing and take it upon themselves to be internet warriors and save the masses from experiencing something they don’t personally agree with.
My advice, just try stuff you think you might like. Don’t listen to the crowd, see what you think for yourself, make your own choices about your life. You might realize people are right after the fact, and not enjoy something, but you learned something, about the activity and yourself. And sometimes, you’ll find those magical things that you enjoy and everyone else can’t stand.
I like smooth jazz.
I like 90’s pop.
I like BBC Sherlock.
I don’t say those things to throw in my lot with people who also like those things – it’s purely for me. Empirically, I understand why people don’t like those things, and understand the reasons that shows and music can be bad. But I made those assertions myself and came to my own conclusions – you can like something without endorsing all of its make up.
Like what you like. Make your own decisions about things. From now on, reviews on here are just going to be my thoughts. People are free to enjoy what they want, I can infer nothing about those people for the things they like, even if I thought I could. Don’t listen to reviews, experience things and create your own thoughts.
Live your life in all it’s fullness.