Friday, August 30, 2013

Cynics Will Kill Us All!

OK, so the title of this post might be a bit melodramatic. But I have a point I'm building towards, I swear, so just go with it.

When we're young, very young, we don't really care what the crowd is into. We like the music we like, we watch the movies we watch, and we don't make excuses for it. Our thing is our thing, man. This went double for the monster kids before horror became mainstream. You couldn't explain to your parents or disinterested friends why you enjoy vampires and ghosts and zombies so much, but you didn't feel a need to either. You bought the new Misfits CD without a qualm. You went to the slasher flick that got poor reviews and appreciated the creative kills despite the shoddy direction. You spent $100 on a Dracula model kit and you were HAPPY!

Worth it.

Unfortunately, a wave of cynicism has crashed on the shores of pop culture. Everything now is either critically shredded, or, if the reviewer/consumer likes it, approached with a constant sarcastic air, as if the thing in question is below their tastes but "still has something to offer" them. It's not just horror, although examples are easy to find. Nearly every fan base is subject to this callous attitude, because now that these hipsters (for that is what they are) are older and jaded and made weary by the rest of the world, they are more concerned with the "best" movies, the "right" books, the "proper" music. Not to get too spiritual about it, but this is nearly verbatim a part of the titular demon's advice for dulling and ultimately damning a human soul in C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters

It's exhausting to wade through this kind of snark, and of course, the internet is approximately 83% snark. Why can't we be honest? Why can't we say that we liked something, say why, and leave it at that? Why do people insist on hiding under a thick layer of sarcasm and indifference? Maybe they wear it as a kind of armor, so dissenters can't make their voices heard. Or maybe they really are that hard to please, and they just see everything as garbage. But I'm skeptical about that. Hipsters, horror or otherwise, go against the flow for no other reason than to be different. If they had more conviction, I'd have more respect for them. All too often, they seem to lambast objectively good films just for kicks and giggles. Maybe to get more clicks, I don't know. What I do know is that, honest opinion or not, it has to get tiring for someone to constantly be so judgmental of EVERYTHING. It's the reason I can't visit sites like The A.V. Club anymore. It's the reason I stopped following certain horror bloggers on Twitter. We don't need seven layers of passive-aggressive B.S. in every review. Either recommend something, or don't. But please stop being such a tongue-in-cheek poser who communicates exclusively through detached sarcasm so the internet doesn't find out that -gasp!- you actually really liked that low-budget horror comedy. 

Fellow fiends and other genre fans, please take this to heart: let go of your cynicism. Drop the sarcasm, and just enjoy something because you enjoyed it. Just once, I'd love to see reviewers drop the pretense and the pretentiousness and say things like: 

"you know what, I really got a kick out of this movie. The effects were poorly done, but the script was great and the leads were excellent!"

"My friends all hated The Cabin In the Woods, but I thought the jokes were hilarious and the end scene was like horror movie heaven."

"I enjoy The Rocky Horror Picture Show UN-IRONICALLY!"

Just drop the cynicism people, that's all I'm saying. The blogging world, and perhaps the world in general, will be the better for it. 

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