I’m 30 years old now. I’ve been making indie films for 6 years, writing for about 12, making video games for 6 months and pretending I know more than I do about all these things (and more) since I was born.
As a result of these things, I’ve gotten used to being asked for my opinions on things (and often asked to shut up shortly there-after once the individual I’m talking to realises their mistake).
Over the past year or so (yes, I’m a slow learner apparently), I’ve begun to realise the danger of opinions on subjective things like artworks, music, films or the attractiveness of someone else’s nose. With that in mind, I’ve slowly tried to work up a series of general rules for espousing opinions.
Of course, I don’t always obey these at all, but at least they give me reason to feel a bit guilty periodically and try to avoid it the next time I’m about to embarrass myself or others.
So, here we go:
Rohan’s List of Things to Consider Before Opening Your Mouth
Originally written on the 11th of November, 2012.
- Nothing is as bad or as good as you think it is.
- Make sure the person you’re talking to knows you use hyperbole before doing so.
- No work is beyond criticism, and no work is unworthy of at least a little respect for the effort it took to create it.
- Your opinion matters more to the person who asked you for it than you think it does.
- If the former is NOT, in fact, true, it still pays to pretend that it is.
- Your opinions on something matter more if the person hasn’t seen/read/listened to it than if they have. Bear this mind and be cautious of tainting their personal experience.
- Everyone has a right to enjoy something you loathe. Don’t deny them that pleasure.
- Try to avoid hyperbole when discussing authors or artists. Even the “worst” writer, director or musician is probably capable of works greater than yours, and may even be capable of future or as-yet-unknown-to-you works which you might love.
- If you “hate” something, and feel the need to tell people as much, don’t forget to tell them what you liked about it too. Because in order to “hate” something, you also need to have gotten enough out of just its concept of potential to like it a little bit, too.
- Never, ever take disliking something (or liking something) as a point of pride. It just makes you look smug. Think of it this way: you may “hate” Twilight, Star Trek, Harry Potter or Transformers, but all that means is that the person you’re belittling for feeling otherwise got hours of pleasure and enjoyment from something… while you got none. They’re the ones who came out on top.