Like What You Like


A thing I notice about generations and gaps...

It's been well-commented upon that comic book fans and lovers of superhero movies get unusually defensive when their favorite films, which are literally the most popular in the world, get any criticism at all. Now, for a critic like me, when Martin Scorsese says they aren't cinema I get my arguin' hat on, because analyzing cinema is my thing, and I find that a vacuous argument. But if somebody just wants to say Captain America sucks, well, I hear that sort of thing all the time.

The funny thing is that while I see this defensiveness in my generation and those below me -- the utterly moronic need to bash any DC movie that isn't a Zack Snyder film, as made by some Snyder stans, is some of the worst of it -- I've seen a new variant in Boomers on social media. Some of these folks, including people I really like, feel the need to constantly lash out at commenters who don't love the holy triumvirate of Elvis/The Beatles/Bob Dylan. Throw Springsteen on there if you like, though his recent overpriced tickets have induced some dissent.

Simply put: Elvis, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan are indisputable icons of music, like them or not. Society long ago validated them, their popularity is far reaching, and I'd say exponentially more people like them than dislike them. And yet I see Boomers getting actively angry that they see comments to the contrary existing.

Here's the real deal: people need to love. It's key to our identity. If you cannot find it in a person, you find it in a fandom, be it sports, music, or fictional universe. And that fandom becomes so key to your identity that any attack on it is an attack on you personally. It's hard to get out of that when you do find love, and also hard to make yourself desirably available while you still lean on it in the process of looking elsewhere. Trust me; I lived a decade or so like that. And it's that which the alt-right exploits, warning you that cancel culture is coming to take away your fandom. Maybe they want to delete cartoon nudity from your hooker-killing video game in the name of feminism, or maybe they want to stigmatize Elvis as an unrepentant racist in the name of wokeness. Either way, your identity is under attack by the Left. Join the right, who'll let you be you! ("You" probably being a white man; it's harder to recruit others this way.)

Don't fall for it. Like what you like, and let haters hate.