A few days ago, I posted an opinion on Facebook about a popular TV show. More specifically, the finale and how I felt it was “dumb”. One person commented that he strongly disagreed and tried to explain how it fit into the theme of the franchise. I responded that I understood the theme, but the humour fell flat, then sincerely welcomed the debate. Because to be perfectly honest, it’s a fucking TV show, not a conversation about geopolitical affairs!
But it’s kind of crazy and sad how worked up people get about opinions, even on inconsequential stuff, myself included. In my late 20s-early 30s, I would get really stressed in conversations, and had a brief “hard left” phase, where everything was about environmentalism and animal rights. People were evil, and the world sucked. In other words, I was annoying AF. It wasn’t until my mid 30s, that I realized that having this kind of tunnel vision was limiting my growth and making me a drag to hang around. Don’t get me wrong, I still care about the environment and animals, but I don’t drag a soapbox around with me everywhere. (Thank goodness, those things get heavy after awhile)
Of course, I still catch myself sometimes getting a little too worked up about a topic or stating an opinion undiplomatically, so I’m still a work in progress, but I hope I’m getting better. There’s an art to debate that seems to be lost in today’s society; If you have a particular viewpoint, you’re lumped in with this group or that group, and I really hate it. I’m still pretty left-wing, but a moderate who tries to see various points of view, and I don’t just follow every liberal consensus on a topic. This has gotten me criticized by some who are more extreme left, but those people can be highly irrational. Unless I hear discriminatory or anti-science rants, which I will always be against, life is complicated. It’s like those on the extreme left and right have black and white thinking, but criticize the other for this narrow mode of thinking. And honestly, this stubborn clashing stagnates society and makes things worse, as it inevitably leads to mud slinging and fighting. And then there’s the whole “cancel culture” thing. What began as a noble cause to hold certain companies and people accountable for abhorrent views or behaviour has since morphed into a weird kind of sadistic hobby for some people. There is no room for misunderstandings or personal growth, once someone has been cancelled, their life is over. Some deserve this social ostracizing, but a few don’t, hell I’ve even heard threats of intimidation towards a well-known comic book artist, because they made a sketch of themselves with a tan! NOT blackface, a tan. Y’know the colour some pale people can turn by spending too much time in the sun! Crazy! Cancel culture is indeed a double edged sword, but it’s a shame when it devolves into this kind of pettiness. And then there’s the plethora of obnoxious videos on Youtube, with titles such as someone being “Destroyed” or “Humiliated”. I’ve noticed these tend to come from people on the opposite side of the political spectrum, and they are cringeworthy and heavily edited. But again same thing; This person is an “enemy” and must be shamed. Beyond ridiculous and stupid. People just don’t want to take the time to learn about an issue, they just form a kneejerk reaction, and the only ones who really benefit from this war of words are the media, or these days social media, notably those who created these platforms. Of course, this doesn’t just happen online, and I’ve heard some pretty horrid opinions and intense arguing at work too, and that situation can get even more uncomfortable and tricky to navigate. (It’s honestly made me long for the days of inane coversations about the weather or other “safe” topics at work!)
Anyways, I guess the point of this post is that even if you feel strongly about something, don’t judge someone for feeling differently, listen to what they say, and if it’s crazy and not remotely based in reality, then just shrug it off. The important thing is to be initially openminded. Frankly, I’m sick of the toxic partisanship and seeing each other merely as labels and not fellow humans, aren’t you?