We, the residents of the ani-blogosphere are an interesting folk.
Instead of greeting one another with a Good Day or a Good Morning, we use the timeless phrase: “your taste is shit”.
To be insulted for our questionable taste is perhaps the greatest compliment one can receive. Being complimented for great taste is somewhat of an insult as that implies conformity and no one wants to be normal.
In all honesty, insulting the taste of fellow blogosphere residents is kind of the ani-blogosphere’s thing. I am not really sure where it started, but for one reason or another, it has stuck.
With that said, there are times where we take this a bit too far.
Perhaps a decade or so back, you could get away with having a disagreeable opinion through the notion that all opinions are correct. In more recent times though, the fact that opinions can be wrong has become a more widely accepted truth.
It might be a more widely accepted truth, but it isn’t a wholly accepted truth. The notion that all opinions are correct is to an extent still ingrained within us all. This is especially the case when it comes to Entertainment.
I mean having a ‘wrong’ opinion about a movie or an anime isn’t really going to hurt anyone, so even if you can have a ‘wrong’ opinion, why bother worrying about it?
That is why if things ever got serious and the phrase “your taste is shit” was used as an insult and not a greeting, one could always respond with “like yeah, that’s just your opinion!” and call it a day.
To fight this mutiny against their superior opinions, the blogosphere nobility coined the phrase “your taste is objectively shit”.
An opinion is by definition subjective. That is to say they are based on human reasoning and can and will vary person to person. When something is objective, it is factual and unlike an opinion, it can be proven to be correct or false.
By calling the taste of others “objectively shit”, the accuser essentially takes away any possible claim of differences in opinion. In other words, you are told that you are wrong and that there is no way around that.
So, what is wrong with this?
Well, like I implied earlier, even if an opinion is actually wrong, most opinions about what anime you like or dislike aren’t really harming anyone. It might be stupid or even wrong of me to still like Bleach, but does my liking of Bleach make a bad person?
I’d hope not.
But that’s really a moot point because it is actually not that much of an issue.
“Your taste is objectively shit” has quickly turned into just another greeting amongst blogosphere folk. So, if “your taste is shit” is equivalent to “Good Morning”, then “your taste is objectively shit” is now equivalent to “YOLO WHAT’s UP HOMESLICE.” (okay, I am kind of old and not quite up to date with contemporary greetings).
Even if you use “your taste is objectively shit” in a serious manner, you will likely not be taken seriously and your claim of objectivity will be quickly rebutted in one way or another.
Basically, most blogosphere constituents are thick skinned and won’t go down without a fight.
So, even though insulting the taste of someone to their face can be mean and uncalled for, the real problem arises (in my opinion) when we do it to folk outside of the blogosphere.
For example, most bloggers and twitter users (myself included unfortunately) have a hobby of insulting MAL users.
We will find a fan of a commonly disliked anime or a hater of a commonly liked anime, trudge through their history and basically call them out for their shit taste.
Sure, the original reviewer/forum user might never know that she just got called out by someone on twitter, but I still think it is kind of mean especially when you remember that these ‘playful jests’ are often projected to hundreds of followers.
You could make the case that if mocking someone in this manner is okay because that someone will never see your jest and thus they will never actually feel insulted. This is an objectively shit opinion because:
- You have no way of being sure of that. What if that person you just mocked was a dedicated follower who looked up to you? Imagine how hurt she’d be.
- Even if they never see your insult, you are undermining their enthusiasm or love for something.
See, that second point is, in my opinion, one of the blogosphere’s biggest problems.
Say you call out a MAL reviewer who wrote a thousand word review on why SAO is the best anime ever. Regardless of how you feel about SAO, insulting this poor chap is an incredible disservice to all the hard work and effort he put into writing that review.
Sure, you could disagree with him and point out flaws in his reasoning (similar to how bloggers expect some disagreements pointed out in the comments), but to simply say “This kid has shit taste and is an idiot” isn’t nice.
A while back, someone on my twitter timeline (let us call them TP1 for twitter person one) decided to watch a YouTube video showcasing the video creators favorite anime attacks. TP1 then proceeded to live tweet his reactions to said video. TP1 said stuff like”<name of attack> is shit. Dude are you even trying?”.
Now, I made it sound a worse than it actually was, but I still thought it was a bit silly. It is especially condescending when you realize that the poor video creator likely spent quite a few hours just cutting and pasting all of the scenes together.
Just by virtue of the videos existence, the creators enthusiasm and love was apparent.
Regardless of whether you agree with the end result or not, I don’t think you should ever undermine the hard work and effort others put in for the sake of their fandom. I don’t like it when people do that. I don’t like it one bit.
The reason I don’t call out TP1 by name is because TP1 is just another grain of sand on the beach. That is to say, TP1 could have been TP2, TP3, TP4…TP∞ and any one of them might have said something similar. I hate using this phrase, but it is kind of a systematic problem.
Basically, we are so cynical and jaded from our blog posts, our forum arguments and our twitter disputes that we often forget what it means to have childish enthusiasm and love towards an anime/manga/game.
When I was a bit younger, I use to visit the forum posts for Shoujo mangas on manga aggregate sites (e.g I might have chosen to read a post on the MangaFox Ouran High School page).
Sometimes, I’d click a plot discussion post to actually try and understand the manga, but most of the time I clicked posts with titles resembling “who is your favorite character” or “who is the hottest boy”, etc, etc.
Why would I click such a post and wander right into scary, adolescent girl territory?
Because their fangirling was infectious.
I loved reading about their love for some bishie or a group of bishies.
Go on, I dare you. Click this.
Once you enter, you are greeted by a swarm of animated emoticons, <3 symbols, single word lists and lots of exclamation marks.
Now, you might call those posters out on their grammar, abuse of emoticons or even just bad taste (who’d ever like him anyway), but then you’d be missing the point of what I was saying. It is that raw love and naive passion that I adore so much.
I am not saying that critical posts/tweets/comments are a bad thing. On the contrary, reading bad things about a series is often far more entertaining than reading good things. No, all I am saying is that sometimes, it is good to take off our overly cynical tin-foil hats and love something with a fervor. More importantly, it is good, no crucial that we recognize this enthusiasm in others and respect it.
In conclusion, this may sound silly, but when you call someone out for bad taste (for real, not as a greeting), then you not only insult them, but often undermine their love and enthusiasm for something. Maybe it is a faulty opinion on my part, but I think it is wrong to do that.
Thanks for reading.