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That's Enough, Internet

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 12:05 AM




Maybe it was just frustration of it all that made me want to just sit and write this for a moment - like how you have a pebble in your shoe and you just have to dig it out. You've been feeling that pebble in your shoe for weeks but just couldn't find it. Well, this is me finding it and throwing it out. Or trying to, at least.


In theaters now, at this very moment, is a fun, outlandish, goofy but incredibly entertaining ORIGINAL film (as in not based on anything other than imagination and creativity from writers) and, as I noted in a previous blog, nobody really went. Call it dumb audiences, bad marketing whatever, either way it didn't do so hot.

 

Fine. Whatever. Not the first time movie-going audiences let me down with their love of Adam Sandler.

 

But strangely enough, there's another tier of annoyance: people who just think it's not a good movie.

 

Note: not that they didn't like the movie. You didn't like it? Fine. Bad movie, though? Impossible.

 

That pebble was really starting to annoy me now. It was growing in size. Maybe just let it be.


But then I started thinking more about the negativity on the internet as a whole, not just those that felt they had to take to Twitter and the blogosphere to denounce Pacific Rim as a bad movie, but the constant desire for people on the internet always be a contrarian, the complete lack of filtering or just the idea of understanding constructiveness over...


...well, over whiny bitching to be honest.


Then I remembered it wasn't the first time I felt this way. 

 

Then I stumbled upon this:


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Then I remembered that's an entire online series, and not the only one in that vein.


Then I started to think about other sensational expressions of negativity I've seen in the past month or so: a guy on Twitter doesn't like Doctor Who, so goes on Twitter and calls Whovians idiots. Another spent two hours yelling in to a camera about a videogame company. Another does vlogs and just spends nearly an hour tearing a pretty popular movie apart. For some reason a lot of people do that - spend an hour complaining, not one video about something they might have enjoyed that day. Another was a blog about  someone bitching about a cartoon plotline. Not satire, just because he can. Youtube comments. Amazon reviewers. Internet movie and videogame "critics" that can't say anything nice about anything ever.


There's a lot of that. Too much. I was still digging for that pebble.


Just like there's a ton of internet movie and game "reviewers" that thrive on a mix of cynicism and ego, there's ten times more that have to be the audience for it whether they want to or not. There's just a sick, disgusting cesspool called the internet that thrives on this negativity - a sense of entitled superiority through pessimism and self-gratification. It's a lot to sift through, even harder to accept the notion that there are people who are popular and base their entire "fame" and "brand" on a constant stream of negativity through the digital world. Because it's the internet, it's a one-way street in terms of discussion. It's their way or the highway. Like something? Too bad, at least a dozen people are going to make sure that you're wrong for liking something and that they're right because they say so.


It's trite.


It's old.


It's exhausting.


That pebble just turned in to that boulder, and it's crushing me. It's also crushing you, if you care to notice.


Everything in Life can be Summed up in Anchorman Memes.

_________________________________________________________



Part I

It's Not Entertaining, It's Just Lazy

 

You know, as much as I want to say that these negative-centric videos or blogs are all in just good fun, making fun of something or being negative towards it can be comedic, but the truth is I think they're all pretty bad. These people are spinning their cynical loom on the internet, afterall, not some legitimate form where they actually need to be creative and earn a profession.  It's just awash in nastiness that really offers nothing to us as a reader or viewer other than to relish in the nastiness. I just don't understand the point, I guess. All those videos like that X-men one or some hour long vlog of some guy (it's always a guy, girls are far more classier) yelling in to a camera is just not funny nor is it constructive, it's just being stupid and not in the typical internet "comedy" way of being stupid for the sake of being stupid. It's just stupid.

 

Maybe it comes down to the fact that i hate nit-picking and pigeon-holing of anything: books, movies, memes etc..., to begin with - especially when a lot isn't something wrong in the first place - such as "the sound of the TV" in the above X-men video, which is actually a cinematic technique to draw focus to what's important,  not a continuity error and certainly not a "movie sin." But it's the internet, it's gotta be negative no matter what, right?


Or, again in  that same video (and that's just the straw man example of the internet as a whole), just using assumptions because, again, we gotta be negative. It's funny, right? Such as whether or not professor X can sense a "new brain" in the school. Sure, it's petty and assumes a great deal on something that's not explored in the film at all, but it's fun to be negative! Hurray! Where's my gold star?


By the way, nit-picking, that thing I don't like, is where you're stating that you didn't like something and little else outside of that. No real reasons, no context as to how it's detrimental to the overall piece, you just didn't like it. In the end, nit-picking is vapid critiquing and nothing more. That's why it's defined as "minute" and "unjustified" - because it's really not relevant to critical analysis.  But on the internet? Well you just can't get away from it. Because something is either great or it's awful, nit picking has to be awful and therefore whatever is being nit-picked is the worst thing imaginable because of "internet logic."


There is no middle-ground on the internet. Everything is either hyperbolically the greatest thing ever or hyperbolically the worst thing ever.  Nit-picking in a video "review" or blog or making a video like that X-men one can only fall in on the negative side of the equation, meaning even though it's defined as "unjustified" and "minute," it's now completely justified and grand. X-men is not a horrible movie, but you wouldn't think that by the way a video like that approaches it because, again, something is either great or awful.


I should probably point out that "hyperbolically" isn't actually word before people nit-pick it to shreds.



By the way, it's fine to nit pick, just don't pass off your nit-picking as a "review" or that nit-picking is the same as critical analysis.

 

Then you have those assumptions, like what Professor X can and can not do as the X-men video points out and somehow thinks it's a "point." Look, if you have to use assumptions then you don't have an argument. Then again you don't have an argument if you're just nit-picking either. You're just trying to scramble to find a reason you didn't like something and that's all you can do. It's fine if you don't like something, but if you don't have the ability to be critical and intelligently explain it, then shut up.

 

Well, maybe not "shut up" but at least stop shouting as though what you're saying matters. That's the thing about the internet: be pessimistic, be loud and present yourself as an authority and you can get some hits for a video. Congrats. You figured out how to act like the internet version of a frat boy complete with bullying those that disagree with you. If you're lucky, maybe you'll be the next Armond White.


That's just an example. That X-men video was just one of many videos that like to tear things apart. Meant to be fun or entertaining or not, at this point I'm just tired of it. I'm also tired of people not knowing who and what they really are. They have an opinion they want to express and feel that by expressing it, it validates their position - one that they already feel entitled to because of the nature of the internet itself. Well, in real life kids, just because someone has an opinion, and no matter how loudly and angrily they insist, it doesn't mean their opinion really matters. The internet has brainwashed many in to thinking this: that because they have a platform to speak that they think they should speak, similar to the way someone might take an art class thinking it will teach them how to be talented at painting. The internet is unfiltered and all there's no structure to leave the ignorant behind and the knowledgeable to rise above. So when someone is reviewing something, just stop and think if they actually have the qualification in the first place.

_________________________________________________________



Part II

Know your Role

 

Keep in mind, when I say "review" or "critique" something, I'm not talking about the men and women that put together a video for entertainment purposes. Sure, you can do a funny review of a notoriously bad movie or some strange thing from childhood we all (thankfully) forgot about, but that's the point: to be funny. Those people are creative. They think out "jokes" and "gags" and spend time editing together a video for your enjoyment. They have fun. They want you to have fun. There's nothing wrong with that.

 

No, I take much more issue to those that deem themselves "movie reviewers" and have to spend an hour yelling at a camera in their hovel of despair, spewing their negativity across the internet like the Ebola virus. I think I'd prefer the virus. I least I know it would end.


These "critics" usually don't have anything planned or written, because that would involve thought, and tend to just be angry and everything.  They also like waving their hands mightily as though more gestures will get more people to listen and perhaps not notice that they're really not saying anything worthwhile. They're just rambling because they think that's what they're supposed to do and need to be negative because that's the laziest form they can take. Truth is, they need to understand that they're not important and that they need to shut up and come back when they have something worthwhile to add to the collective internet consciousness.




Sorry, but they are just wasting our time because they can't put forth a constructive analysis, they just complain. Complaining is dull. Complaining is lazy. Actual criticism, good and bad, is fun, enlightening, educational - not a laundry list of points to bitch about. Context. Relaying information. Perspective. A sound voice. A lot of that is missing. Plus I feel they often have no joy in their lives and seek out the necessity of negativity to make themselves look "cool" as a contrarian because they think being snarky is the same as being clever and that opinionated observation is the same as being critical.


Again, I'm tired of constant negativity, and there's internet video-makers and bloggers that thrive on it.  As Will MacAoy said in the most recent  episode of The Newsroom: "Snark is the idiot's version of wit."


The internet is very snarky, and internet movie "reviewers" will make that the hill they'll die on and not even realize how grotesque of a hill it is. They made it that way.

 

You know who I mean, like people who can't critique Pacific Rim without sounding like complete douchebags because they didn't like it yet can't put together any legitimate reasons as to why them not liking it equates to it being a bad movie. For most on the internet, there is no separation of the objective and subjective self. If they didn't like something, that equates to it being bad and they'll defend that til their dying days. Usually with a lot of self-righteous bullshit.


It's fine to not like something, but if you don't have the wherewithal to explain your own dislike and be constructive towards how that relates to it being a "bad" movie, then why would I watch your boring 50 minute vlog "review" about it? That's half the runtime of the movie you're "reviewing!" Christ, there are full podcasts that cover all the news of the day in less time it takes for some of these people to review one movie.



 

The lack of an editor, or perhaps an ability to take criticism themselves, is probably the cause. Most of these people are unhinged with nobody to really bounce ideas off of or just have someone say "You know, you could cut…I don't know…40 minutes form the video or two pages from that blog." Who wants to watch someone scramble around for nearly an hour trying to string together one piece of actual criticism? Just say you didn't like it or thought it was "ok" and move on. Stop passing yourself off as a "critic" because that's not what you are. You're an entertainer with a blog. That's it. Your way of reviewing puts you slightly better than an Amazon reviewer but not quite up to Yelp "standards." Play to your strengths. Entertain. Go do another Let's Play or something and stop shilling out your cynicism like it's a brand.


And I don't even like Let's Plays, but at least you don't have people bitching at you. At least they're trying to entertain people.

 

I don't know. Maybe it's just the idea of someone not enjoying something because they're always looking for a reason to not like something that bothers me. They're not interested in really looking critically at something, they just want to hate and spread the hate around like syphilis. Hell, they probably made up their minds before the movie or show even started or before the first page was read that they're not going to like it - then they just spend the entire time looking for reasons to not like it. Why look for reasons to not like something? Seriously, why sit down in a theater or on your couch with that kind of mindsed?  Life's too short, man.


Even worse, is that they often set out to find those people that like something, then just take a big shit all over that person liking it. It's the contrarian-mindset (and internet animosity giving them a sense of false "bravery"). It's also attention-whoring but this being the internet that's kind of running with the pack. Being a douchebag shouldn't be, though.  Seriously, can we just not sit and enjoy something for once and, I don't know, just let other people enjoy what they like? Can we not call them "stupid" or play the "I'm smarter than everyone because my opinion is the opposite" game? There always has to be some jerkoff who shits all over everything, and 90% of the time just does it to be contradictory. They don't have anything really to add to the discussion, nothing valid to point out, they're just like "Dude, it all sucks, it sucks, everything sucks and you suck for liking it."


Do we need that in our digital lives?

 


I say "No."

_________________________________________________________



Part III

Avoid the Noid


I know what you're thinking. "If you don't like it, don't watch/listen/read." Normally I would agree with you, but the problem is that it's hard to avoid. Well, actually, there's two problems: it being hard to avoid is one, but it's also because I know that some of these people can do better.


"Hard to avoid" is best to observe in this manner: There's probably hundreds "everything wrong with X-men" type videos out there, but go out and find "everything great about X-men."


Go on, I'll wait.


I have the same reaction when I push "check balance" at the ATM.



Yeah, came up empty, didn't you? Now go try another movie. Probably the same result, especially if it's a popular movie. The more popular something is, the more people feel the need to complain about it. It's internet math.


It's hard to avoid because there's a complete imbalance of positivity to negativity with negative probably outnumbering existence  50 to 1. Call me gullible or just too big on wishful thinking, but I'd like to see more positive reinforcement on the internet, not a constant stream of negativity pounding my senses. Not a bunch of ranting, boring videos and blogs that are just nit-picking and complaining for the sake of it or it being the easiest thing to do (or worse, for the views and web hits).


That leads us to the second aspect: the fact that I know people are better. Yes, it's easier (lazier) to be negative, but perhaps these people don't like the challenge of just enjoying something and approaching something in positive light. As mentioned, their mind is probably already made up because they're already negative to begin with (and planning ahead on how to express their anger or rage with a vlog or something).


It's like this: Here's this great big open space to play in, a creative person could do wonders. They could celebrate something, or if they didn't like something be constructive and interesting about it. Or maybe they could just leave it alone if they didn't like it.  No, instead they choose to just be negative. Squat. Shit all over that nice open space and leave you to try and work around it. It's a bad one to. The way some people on the internet react to something as simple as a movie, you would think that movie just murdered their entire family and left them in suitcases on the side of the 405.



Might as well go and call someone "Hitler" just to round it all out because that's not extreme exaggeration for the sake of sensationalizing to get popular either, right? Now ask yourself, do you want to be in the same tier as this guy?



So, yeah...you can try to avoid it. Good luck. But the thing is, we as an audience shouldn't be the ones changing our ways. We're not the ones at fault. We shouldn't have to worry about our day being ruined by something as simple as a movie or game or book or just a status update or tweet that someone has injected that Ebola virus into. The internet is the tool used by people to complain. Or bitch. Or just talk about things wrong in their lives. It's an outlet. A release. I get it. Hell, I'm doing that right now. But right now it's destroying us and what the internet could and probably should be. It's that pebble that's now a boulder because we never dug it out of our shoe and if it's going to crush us, if it hasn't already.


In the meantime, I'm out.

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