Your taste is objectively shit.

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.

Picture not quite relevant.

Picture not quite relevant.

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).

Danganronpa the Animation Balls

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Even if they never see your insult, you are undermining their enthusiasm or love for something.

Love Lab True Colors

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.

Yuyushiki_37

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?

Free! Kou

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,❤ 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.

pizza_opinion

Source via some tumblr.

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  1. #1 by lifesongsoa on August 2, 2013 - 10:29 am

    I’ve always seen this as something of a problem with many anime bloggers so I appreciate that you are tackling it head on. There are good reviews and there are bad reviews, but there is no bad taste.

    • #2 by Reiseng on August 2, 2013 - 12:39 pm

      I am glad you agree with me. Thanks for the comment.🙂

  2. #3 by Hogart on August 2, 2013 - 7:24 pm

    Yeah, I agree. I also find it’s getting even worse with commenters these days. I love this hobby because I can have silly and pretentious little conversations, but lately it’s like any strong opinion is verboten. Love/hate Aku no Hana, and want to present why? That’s even worse than just trolling, apparently. It’s getting hard to find people willing to have a conversation without instantly dialing the drama up to ten and falling back on lame personal attacks. Which is sad, because despite the odd times where people overact, aniblogs tend to be a pretty good place to find decent conversations about their hobby of choice. I’d much rather the /a/ and Sankaku Complex attitudes stay there and don’t ruin what we’ve got going on here.

    • #4 by Reiseng on August 3, 2013 - 1:58 pm

      Yikes. Sounds like you have had some bad experiences.

      I have been lucky so far. I am not sure if my opinions are just not controversial or I am not not popular enough to attract the haters.🙂

      But yeah, I do agree. Occasionally things get a bit too heated. In general though, most of the blogosphere is quite nice.

  3. #5 by draggle on August 3, 2013 - 1:50 am

    I agree completely. Let’s save our insults for someone who deserves them (Mr. Flawfinder).

    • #6 by Reiseng on August 3, 2013 - 1:59 pm

      Poor Mr. Flawfinder.

      We make fun of him more often then he makes fun of anime. xD

  4. #7 by Highway on August 3, 2013 - 11:25 pm

    I don’t know why so many people like to use the internet and it’s function of distancing for ramping up rhetoric and vitriol towards other people. Are people so desperate for validation and superiority that they must be so critical of other people’s choices of *entertainment*? As you say, people append ‘objective’ onto criticism, but merely labeling it as such doesn’t change either the fact that it’s not ‘objective’ or the fact that it’s still an ad hominem attack.

    I have no problem loving or hating something, but I realize that I’m the only person I can speak for. The thing about that is that it’s the same way with opinions of people. I can like or dislike someone else’s opinion. I can even break it down to their opinion on thing X or thing Y. But that just means I dislike their opinion.

    And to those people, I still say that if you like it, then be proud of it. If someone likes SAO, then they like SAO. If they like Free!, then they like Free!. Some of this is because I’m proud of my terrible taste. I love disco songs. I love mu’s from Love Live! I REALLY love disco songs by mu’s. If you don’t like what I like, then I think you’re missing out. And yeah, I want other people to like what I like, because then they’re experiencing what I think are great things. But I also realize my tastes aren’t for everyone. Oh well.

    I know I (constantly) talk (way too much) about being older than most people who watch anime, or blog about anime. I don’t know for sure if I would have been different 20 years ago. I’m pretty sure I’d have been some different, but I don’t know if I’d have been meaner or anything. People don’t change *that* much. And that’s something worrying to me, because people might not change *that* much.

    • #8 by Reiseng on August 7, 2013 - 10:13 am

      Woops, sorry for the late reply.

      I think humans just like puffing up their chest and yelling at others. It is a fun past time I suppose.

      I agree. I to often want folk to like what I like and think they are dismissing something great when they don’t. But yeah, that is just my own taste in entertainment.

      I think in general, we have gotten a bit nicer these days, but the internet just makes it a bit easy for our mean streak to become apparent. But well, that is just speculation on my part since I was only a toddler 20 years ago.😛

      • #9 by Highway on August 7, 2013 - 11:13 am

        Something else that occurs to me that you might be seeing, in blogging in general and aniblogging in specific, is something like a Darwinian process. People who are more aggressive and negatively critical tend to enjoy being aggressive and negatively critical, and don’t really care if people act that way toward them because they’re not listening anyway. So if you start out with a normal distribution of people doing an activity (like blogging) you’ve got a small number of those folks and a small percentage.

        But people who don’t like that kind of negativity tend to get beaten down by it, and it has an effect of driving them out of the sphere, and at a higher rate than the aggressive people get bored and quit. So you end up with a higher percentage of negativity, which exacerbates the problem, driving more people out faster and increasing the percentage of negativity faster.

        I know that feal87 at Empty Blue has periodically done a ‘aniblogosphere health check’, and the trend is for fewer blogs updated and more dead blogs. I find that to be expected, as blogging moves into being over a decade old. But I do wonder how much these two things are linked.

    • #10 by Reiseng on August 19, 2013 - 1:06 am

      Sorry for taking so long in getting back to you.

      Hmmm, I am not really sure how many folk leave the blogosphere due to overwhelming negativity. I know some folk were quite sad last year when they got harsh criticism, but I haven’t actually heard of anyone leaving because of it per say.

      I think most folk stop blogging when they get burned out or feel like they have nothing left to say.

      It is possible that folk leave because the negativity just got to them. I’d have to start paying more attention to really notice it though.

      And yeah, there are less and less blogs being updated. I think in general, most folk stop after a while and that is to be expected. It is just new blogs aren’t really popping out as much these days.

      I think for the most part, twitter and tumblr are to blame for that though.

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