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Cultural Dealbreaker
May 10, 2014 9:52 AM   Subscribe

The A.V. Club asks readers What’s your cultural dealbreaker? which they define as "cultural products that someone can profess to enjoy only while losing all of your respect."
posted by arcolz (211 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Erik Adams
Let’s keep getting broad: I’m less angered by public declarations of ignorance than I am dispirited by them. There’s a great, big world of art, culture, and entertainment to dig into, and there’s nothing to be gained from taking to Twitter to exclaim your conscious choice not to hear a song, watch a movie, or follow a professional sport. I understand that this type of thing is usually done as a humorous defense mechanism (because nobody likes to feel left out, particularly when social media is blowing up about the latest Game Of Thrones or a surprise Beyoncé album), but the joke’s not funny, and the subtext is a bummer. We’re denied so much, so often in this life—why keep yourself from something that might bring you joy and then go around bragging about it?


This is the only one I can get behind.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:56 AM on May 10 [26 favorites]


I think "fast zombies" as a cultural dealbreaker might be my cultural dealbreaker.
posted by trunk muffins at 9:56 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


Star Trek.

More specifically, the people who tell you all about how great the show is as a model of racial and gender equality. Perhaps totally irrationally, that never fails to unimpress me.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:57 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


An entire article of "Your favorite thing sucks"?
posted by indubitable at 9:58 AM on May 10 [12 favorites]


Yaoi. (So sue me.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:59 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Using phrases like "taking to Twitter" and "social media is blowing up" unironically.
posted by aaronetc at 10:13 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


The Big Bang Theory is such the obvious one to me that I can't believe none of those people mentioned it.
posted by something something at 10:15 AM on May 10 [45 favorites]


I used to have some of these, and their opposite, cultural touchstones that I felt were so unimpeachably, objectively good that if you didn't like them, we didn't have anything to talk about.

Then I got a little older and made some really great friends with whom I don't have a lot in common, media-taste-wise, and discovered I'd rather spend time with people I like than with people I can count on to agree with me.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:15 AM on May 10 [71 favorites]


Few of the article's contributers actually took the bait. I'm glad our culture is less cruel than it was five years ago.
posted by jwhite1979 at 10:17 AM on May 10 [13 favorites]


For me, anyone who talks about TV too much. I get it there are some pretty good shows on right now, but don't try to convince me that popular [network] [show type] is somehow subverting the medium, or that we're in a golden age of TV again, like always.

There are always one or two great dark dramas on HBO: that's their business model. There are always one or two good niche comedies dancing around cancellation while that other sitcom you can't believe anyone watches got renewed for three more seasons. There is always that one high concept nerdy sci-fi show piling up subplot inconsistencies without a clear exit strategy. There are always stunt-castings and musical episodes and shocking cliffhangers.

Oh, and anyone who gets really pissy over spoilers.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:17 AM on May 10 [15 favorites]


Though Fox News is hard to let slide. I had a dentist who used to listen to Hannity and I had to switch dentists despite his excellent Nitrous Oxide.
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:20 AM on May 10 [35 favorites]


I cosign jwhite1979's comment.

Back when I was still in the internet dating pool, my deal-killers were (1) Ayn Rand and (2) people for whom every one of their favorite books/movies/etc. was young adult or children's fiction. Nothing wrong with liking Harry Potter or Harold and the Purple Crayon, but liking only books aimed at people with single digit ages always weirded me out.

I'm not sure I would be less judgmental than this now.
posted by HeroZero at 10:20 AM on May 10 [17 favorites]


(Not that Harry Potter is for people under 10 necessarily, but you get the idea.)
posted by HeroZero at 10:21 AM on May 10


Anyone who uses marketing/business speak in their everyday conversation. For instance, I once knew a person who, when telling me that they were taking the family to Disneyworld for vacation, they said they were going down to the "Orlando market".

That will get you punched in the eyes.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:22 AM on May 10 [51 favorites]


Animal fighting.

There's enough actual goddamn horror in the world that I really can't work up too much in the way of strong feelings for anyone's taste within the realm of mainstream American pop culture.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:22 AM on May 10 [22 favorites]


I have a good friend who likes Dave Matthews Band and the Big Bang Theory.

She's a really nice, intelligent person. I don't understand it.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:23 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


So what deal are we talking about breaking here? Just friendship or romantic partner? I have friends who love Ayn Rand's garbage watch Fox News and I can deal with that but I could have never dated someone like that. For what it's worth, my wife and I have disparate tastes in music and film and often disagree on such things but it's not like she's a Republican, a quality which would have been a dealbreaker for either of us right from the start.
posted by octothorpe at 10:25 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


I spent my entire youth building barricades against cultural things that I wanted to like but felt that I couldn't. Mostly out of fear; fear of betraying some idea of who I was that was in no way fully formed (or is even fully formed now.) And also just because of plain ol' smugness.

The staggering number or experiences and viewpoints I missed out on is now hitting me full force and I feel like I'm twenty miles behind everyone else and sprinting to catch up. I now actively try to like everything, and when I find something I truly don't care for, I just move on. I could never do that before.

Fuck if it didn't take me 20 years to figure that out.
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 10:25 AM on May 10 [20 favorites]


The first thing I thought was "Ayn Rand," so when I clicked over to the article I wasn't surprised that was the first one given. Fox News too.

But I'm kind of dismayed at how many of the others were basically some way of saying "people who aren't super into some current TV show or band or fan culture or whatever and want to 'geek out' about it." Because for me it's almost the opposite. The reason I'm turned off by a lot of contemporary pop culture is the fan culture around it. I'm sure The Wire [or GOT or take your pick] is a great show but the number of smart people for whom liking the Wire and the Wire being the greatest thing ever are, like, a part of their identity... has me completely baffled.

I have favorite authors and musicians and love to discuss them but I guess from a more detached stance than is common these days ...like, I don't think your appreciation for something is sincere unless you can maintain a certain amount of critical distance from it, and say what's bad about it as well as what's good, and not get tied up in knots or have to work through it like a childhood trauma every time something about the work or creator lets you down...
posted by neat graffitist at 10:30 AM on May 10 [22 favorites]


I enjoy talking to people who like things I hate. Sometimes they even convince me. Sometimes I hate those things without having the foggiest idea about them. We're all mostly ignorant about everything that doesn't interest us.
posted by chavenet at 10:31 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Here's how the the friend test works.

1. We meet
2. Chat about stuff, do stuff
3. Things are going good, time to find out
4. If you can become a BOSOM FRIEND*
5. Come over to my place
6. Watch some Sledge Hammer

Did you like it YES/NO

IF YES
Ok that's cool now let's go draw robots or castles or something

IF NO
Phase II - Jeeves&Wooster Marathon Until Bosom Friend Status is Achieved

IF STILL NO
Phase III - MST3K Jack Frost while eating Totino's frozen pizzas

*Bonus Round - if you already know what a bosom friend is and you are OK with me using that reference completely earnestly then we can skip everything and go out for sandwiches instead
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:31 AM on May 10 [61 favorites]


cultural products that someone can profess to enjoy only while losing all of your respect

This seems like a weirdly absolute, or critically naive, approach. Isn't it easy enough to imagine, for any disliked cultural product X, a reason why someone who shared your cultural and aesthetic values would still enjoy consuming X as a guilty pleasure or a hate-watch or a shout-at-the-screen critique or a way of mindlessly killing time? People can enjoy a thing without being its mindless demographic conscripts. If uncritically consuming crap culture is a deal-breaker, that's a different thing.
posted by RogerB at 10:32 AM on May 10


My wife loves Glee and Big Bang Theory. They make her laugh and sing, and this makes me happy. Eventually So You Think You Can Dance will be back, and then we can watch television together again.
posted by jwhite1979 at 10:35 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


Oh, and, pro wrestling and especially any of the MMA/Pride fighting/etc. human cockfights.

I just can't. Sorry.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:36 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


Twilight. Fifty Shades of Grey. Thinking that The Windup Girl is a meaningful, realistic look at our future. Being snooty about science fiction. Ayn Rand. Heinlein worship. People who seek out Baen books because they're all the same. Robert Sawyer readers. People who don't read urban fantasy. People who only read urban fantasy. Being snooty about fantasy. Adults who read young adult books and get defensive about them. Watching Game of Thrones but not reading the books. Reading the books but not watching Game of Thrones. Reading nothing but fantasy or science fiction. Not reading young adult books. Only reading echt literature. Watching or reading schlocky pulp without realising that's what it is.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:36 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


The first girl I ever seriously dated once revealed to me that she didn't at all find Looney Tunes funny.

I think I actually heard the short circuit in my head.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 10:38 AM on May 10 [20 favorites]


People contain multitudes. Also, people are weird.
posted by rtha at 10:38 AM on May 10 [9 favorites]


There's enough actual goddamn horror in the world that I really can't work up too much in the way of strong feelings for anyone's taste within the realm of mainstream American pop culture.

Manual RT
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:39 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


I think I actually heard the short circuit in my head.

Canonically I think it should have been a record scratch.
posted by elizardbits at 10:39 AM on May 10 [50 favorites]


So did anyone actually read this? Because the majority of the answers are stuff like "I only have this reaction to people who say they hate a whole genre" or "only for people that don't read, period" or "I don't like making judgments like this." Which are actually all pretty great responses to the question! And I mean there's one person that says Ayn Rand, but I'm kind of willing to allow that one (which is perhaps unfair of me! I've never read A.R., only encountered the sorts of people that see themselves as her disciples).
But I'm kind of dismayed at how many of the others were basically some way of saying "people who aren't super into some current TV show or band or fan culture or whatever and want to 'geek out' about it."
No one says anything similar to this though? There's one person that is annoyed by people who are actively hostile to exposure to anything (TV, books, music) from any time after about 1998, but that's the closest it gets. There are no demands for identity fandom, just an expectation of willingness to try new stuff out.
posted by kavasa at 10:39 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


This reminded me of this recent review of Carl Wilson's "Lets Talk About Love":

"Wilson asks us to think back to high school, when what kind of music we listened to seemed to be a matter of extreme importance. He writes:

Artistic taste is most competitive among people whose main asset is cultural capital.… In adult life, it’s only in culture-centered fields (the arts, academia) that musical or other culture-centered taste matters the way it does in high school.

Critics and other avid and exacting pop fans, Wilson suggests, may be living out an extended version of anxious adolescence, in which social capital remains of principle importance, and managing one’s taste continues to be closely related to one’s identity."
posted by Adam_S at 10:41 AM on May 10 [29 favorites]


It's not really about whether someone likes or dislikes some specific bit of culture (though, I'll admit, the odds that you and I will enjoy each others' company is probably lower if you enjoy certain things).

It's more about whether people take part in either of the following obnoxious behaviors.

1. I can't shut up about the things I like!
I'm looking at you, coworker who can't be quiet about his favorite NFL team, even though after five years of working with you I have never shown an interest in talking about it with you. No, I don't care about the draft that happened yesterday. Yes, you can stop talking about it. Or I'm looking at you, coworkers who are STILL pushy in insisting that I watch Breaking Bad, even though I told you that I watched a couple of episodes and it's just not my kind of entertainment. Or you, Radiohead fans in college.

2. I won't hesitate to shit on things I don't like!
I'm looking at you, friend who has a habit of doing this. Like the time I casually mentioned I was going to a baseball game that evening with my dad, and you felt it necessary to pipe up immediately to tell me that "baseball is so boring" and "I have no idea how anyone could enjoy it."

Generally, I can get along ok with just about anyone. Even if you (un-ironically) like Boondock Saints, we can get along fine as long as you don't talk about it all day and insist that I watch it because it's "life changing." Or give me crap because I'm an X-Files fan, or because I'm a baseball SABR-dork.
posted by Old Man McKay at 10:42 AM on May 10 [12 favorites]


Never really considered this. My only "dealbreaker" (what an asinine term) would be people too invested in the types of people they associate with. "Oh we can't be friends because X" tells me we were never going to be actual friends anyway. It's a friendship, not a fashion accessory.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:42 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


What reaches the level of dealbreaker is whether the professed enthusiasm for something represents a world view sufficiently at odds with mine that it's pretty clear we won't have enough in common to overcome it.

For example, there are people who enjoy watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio. But they're into watching how the thing is done, and appreciating it for the craft, not the message. That's not the same thing as watching Fox News because it accommodates your perspective on the world and helps shape your view of it. Similarly, somebody might like My Little Pony because it's an amusing show, but finds the fandom distasteful because enjoying it for anything more than the level they enjoy it is offputting.

So it's hard to make flat declarations of ins and outs, even if there are some categorical sensibilities underlying what would constitute a dealbreaker. It's not what somebody is a fan of which, by itself, makes it easy to screen a prospective friendship.
posted by ardgedee at 10:42 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Few of the article's contributers actually took the bait. I'm glad our culture is less cruel than it was five years ago.

You might not want to read through all the replies here on Mefi, in that case...
posted by 23skidoo at 10:44 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


On the reverse, it's really strange when, the odd time, I have to explain that I don't have to indulge someone, or associate with them. My time is my own, and I don't owe it to anyone who isn't gainfully employing me — for good or ill.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:47 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


I've made a new mortal enemy in Will Harris because that what's going on song is stuck in my head now.
posted by book 'em dano at 10:47 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I completely sympathize with the girl whose boyfriend is a Phish/DMB fan. I dated a Phish/DMB fan once and it was miserable. No matter how many shitty recordings of bootleg concerts you make me listen to, I will never be into jam bands, bro. Give me structured lyrics that I can sing along to without a surprise 15 minute guitar solo in the middle. In other words, GIVE ME BEYONCE.
posted by kerning at 10:54 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


You might not want to read through all the replies here on Mefi, in that case...


Yeah. :/
My wife, who as I've said really enjoys Glee and BBT, really hates MetaFilter because of all the snobbery. Sometimes I wonder what we're all doing here, like maybe the subculture of the blue is giving all us MeFites a rather skewed perspective on ourselves. I'm probably being melodramatic and overgeneralizing, but nevertheless, after spending an afternoon checking for "likes", I start to feel like Glee and BBT would be healthy detox for my self-important smugly.
posted by jwhite1979 at 10:59 AM on May 10 [14 favorites]


Just a hair disappointed, I thought the article was going to be a confessional. "I lost all self respect when I realised I liked Derrida. And The Archies."
posted by jfuller at 10:59 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


Vertebrate.
posted by planetesimal at 11:02 AM on May 10


Not finding The Jerk funny. Oh wait, that was a Freaks and Geeks episode. Ok, getting real life confused with TV is my dealbreaker now.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:02 AM on May 10 [9 favorites]


"I'll listen to anything but rap or country"
posted by cilantro at 11:04 AM on May 10 [34 favorites]


I don't know about dealbreakers, but I've done double-takes when friends have told me that they like certain things. The Black Eyed Peas, for one. As in, loved their songwriting, liked Fergie, thought they wrote "Misirlou." That was rough.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 11:04 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


My wife, who as I've said really enjoys Glee and BBT, really hates MetaFilter because of all the snobbery

The Glee fandom hates Glee a lot more than MeFi does. It's kind of amazing, really.

A Chinese adaptation of Glee will air in China this summer. I cannot wait to hate-watch this thing all over again.
posted by fatehunter at 11:10 AM on May 10 [7 favorites]


There was a common thread to a few of these that made me nod my head in agreement : a lack of curiosity about culture as a dealbreaker. In my experience, this manifests in two ways : a lack of interest in unfamiliar things, and a feeling of intimidation when faced with "high-minded" culture.

It's really hard to be in a relationship with someone who isn't curious about unfamiliar things. When I find a new band, dish, writer, or movie that I like, I consider it time well-spent. It means I've expanded my repertoire and opened up new avenues of cultural enjoyment. I don't understand someone who doesn't feel this way. To me, cultural stasis is death. It's how people get old and stop challenging themselves. I've known people who "just aren't that into music", i.e. it's just something that's on when they're in the car or on the dancefloor. I don't understand this at all. Music has always been a great emotional experience for me. It's gotten me through times where nothing else would have worked. So much of the music, film, literature, and food I enjoy has been discovered through investigation and experimentation. Lots of people only skim the cultural surface; they only watch the most popular shows and movies, only read bestsellers, only listen to what's playing on popular radio stations, and only eat the food they enjoyed growing up. And I'm not going to begrudge someone some cultural product they enjoy. I'm not a snob or anything. But lack of curiosity or downright unwillingness to go past the surface; that, to me, is unattractive.

Likewise, I think people often sell themselves short culturally by seeing any "classic" book or work of modern art as being the stuff of "high minded folk" and just naturally beyond them. That is sad and frustrating to me. I've actually been on a date where the woman said, "I don't get art." And I'm like, "Well, you've seen paintings that you've liked before, right? Well, then you get art!" I think it's a sad thing when people feel that culture works are beyond them, and I wonder how much of it is the fault of an educational system that prizes bean-plating, and a culture that writes off "high minded" culture as fodder for snobby, out-of-touch elites. Look, I studied computer science in school. A very technical discipline! When I graduated, I decided I'd expose myself to all the great art, literature, and culture that I never experienced in college. It's an ongoing, lifelong process of cultural enrichment. Did I understand every reference in Gravity's Rainbow? No, of course I didn't! But did I enjoy it? Yes! I love Pynchon's flowing, non-linear writing style and goofy sense of humor. Do I understand the cultural significance of every piece of art in MOMA? Hell no, I don't. But I make it a point to visit every time I'm in NYC, because, goddamn it, I love looking at the pretty pictures. No shame in that at all! If I'd allowed myself to be intimidated by culture, I would have never enjoyed some of my favorite cultural works.
posted by evil otto at 11:15 AM on May 10 [31 favorites]


thought they wrote "Misirlou."

Oh man, AND Mas Que Nada. And when corrected, dislike the Brazil '66 version AND the Jorge Ben. Can't help some people.
posted by ctmf at 11:18 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


The only response in the article that is really true for me, one which I want to try to get away from but cannot, is the one about people who don't read.

Try as I might, I can't force myself to see that as value-neutral and so I can't avoid thinking quite badly about someone for whom this is true. I mean, I actually feel contempt (excluding the cases of actual illiteracy).

Similarly, but much less intensely, I react this way to people who (proudly) only read nonfiction.

Both seem to me to be a kind of willful ignorance, which is very much value-laden for me. Willful ignorance is always a vice.

Obviously we can't avoid ignorance and obviously we have to decide which things are more worth our time and effort than others. But there's a continuum that goes from "I know a little bit about it and I can see that it has value and is interesting to many people but it's something I've decided I'm not interested in" through "I don't know much about it because it doesn't seem interesting to me" to "I know nothing about it and it's obviously a complete waste of time".

I can't abide the last because it's basically the mantra of those who make a life's project of being willfully ignorant about almost everything. To them, almost everything is obviously a waste of time, because reasons, and everyone else who spends time on those things are idiots. The middle example is more ambiguous, but at least it's not an aggressive declaration that basically everything one doesn't know is necessarily not worth knowing.

What's interesting to me is that as I've aged (I'll turn 50 this year) and gained knowledge and experience, I've found this pattern and this aggressive ignorance to be misguided across almost all domains, whether cultural, pop-cultural, academic, or whatever.

That Carl Wilson book previously mentioned is a very good book (and, BTW, I don't really agree with that New Yorker reviewer's statement of Wilson's theme) and it's really quite amazing how pretty much almost everything has some value and interest if you care to actually investigate it ... even Celine Dion's music. Like Wilson, it's still not music I'm actually going to like, and there's severe limits on how much I'm willing to defend it; but, like Wilson, I was surprised to find that there are good reasons it's what it is and to properly "decode" it, you need to have some knowledge of its cultural origin.

This is an apparently trivial case, but it's almost always true, and that's much more vital about, well, much more important topics.

None of that is to say that we have a responsibility to investigate, to spend time and effort upon, to take very seriously anything and everything. Of course we don't. But contemptuous dismissiveness really needs to be earned — that is, unless you actually do know enough about a topic to make an informed, strong case for being contemptuously dismissive, then you ought to be, instead, something more like cautiously uninterested.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:18 AM on May 10 [9 favorites]


I don't like football, and think that it's cruel and abusive to its players, staff, and fans.

But, eliminating football fans would leave me lonely and friendless in America... So, I learned to drop this particular crutch a long time ago.

Willful ignorance (and being proud of it) is a dealbreaker. That's about it for me.
posted by schmod at 11:22 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


I do not have many cultural dealbreakers but thanks to the miracle of MeFi timestamps I can tell you down to the minute the exact moment when griphus became dead to me.
posted by Shepherd at 11:23 AM on May 10 [12 favorites]


The whole topic is sort of off-putting, like one of those dates that feels like a job interview. I mean, I'd like to think that human love is still possible, even under conditions like disagreements about kung fu movies or fucking Lacan or something like that. But, I have to admit, it would be seriously hard for me to make it past either Rand or no reading at all.
posted by thelonius at 11:29 AM on May 10


This exercise proves it is exceedingly easy to write off a fictional person, invented for the sole purpose of writing them off. Very few people are defined solely by two or three interests.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:37 AM on May 10 [13 favorites]


I'm enjoying these comments after talking to a guy who was holding a poster with a picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache outside my local coffee shop. While I have my own opinions about Obama and this guy's strategy to win minds; I respect that he's passionate and out in the world trying to make a difference. It was fun chatting with him and the cost of doing so was just not mistaking my own view of the world as the filter for it.

Ideas and tastes are not like money. Curiosity and the appreciation of perspectives; especially ones we don't share... is where a lot of fun can be found in life. My only deal breaker is a deal breaker mindset and this sentence is false.
posted by astrobiophysican at 11:43 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


I used to think that things like this didn't matter. Then after my first marriage ended and we were carving up our book and media collections and I realized just how little we actually had in common culturally, I thought maybe there was something to it. But now, during my second (and I suspect last) marriage, I've come to realize that it's not what someone likes, but how they like it, that matters. My current spouse has pretty much the same reaction to professional wrestling that my first spouse had, but I don't have to hear about it every goddamn week. And when I shrug and set aside the latest book recommendation in favor of another Lee Child potboiler, I don't have to hear about that for the rest of time either.

I'm happier now. It's the how, not the what.
posted by Etrigan at 11:44 AM on May 10 [17 favorites]


RenFair. Anarchism. Burning Man (if obsessed, attending a few is acceptable).

Sadly, as a non-monogamous person, these three dealbreakers severely limit my poly dating pool.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 11:46 AM on May 10 [9 favorites]


My wife and I have been married 30+ years and we have an enormous gulf between us with certain cultural preferences. But we have found that lack of intellectual curiosity, no interest in books or music or arts, cruelty/indifference to animals, and watching Faux News will pretty much work for both of us as dealbreakers.
posted by Ber at 11:46 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


There's enough actual goddamn horror in the world that I really can't work up too much in the way of strong feelings for anyone's taste within the realm of mainstream American pop culture.

Both are bad, though the degree differs. Joel and the 'bots summed it up pretty well:

Joel: [...]There existed a time when our nation took pride in its service stations. They gleamed like a beacon of hope from coast to coast. Then ka-blooey. Sky Chief Super Service turned into the Tank And Tummy. I don't mind telling you, the day this country went self-service was the day hell began to bubble up and flood the earth.
Crow: Well I hate to burst your bubble, Joel, but what about the bubonic plague? World war? Stalin?
Joel: Well, those are all big things. Hell works better when it's a lot more subtle. Here, I'll give you an example. Okay, Crow, what do you think of Adolf Hitler?
Crow: Well, I hate him, naturally.
Joel: Right. Now, what do you think of the band Styx?
Crow: Well, they had one or two decent...oh my God, you're right!
Tom: I get it now, Joel! I'm not certain when hell started for me, but I think it had something to do with Christopher Cross.
posted by JHarris at 11:47 AM on May 10 [22 favorites]


Is there a link to something that explains the Big Bang Theory hate? My nerd and geek credentials are impeccable and I like the show. The show is the usual predictable accessible sitcom fare, but that doesn't explain the hate. My impression is that some people feel it's laugh-at instead of laugh-with, but if you can't laugh at yourself, a tv show isn't the problem, so that doesn't explain it either.
posted by anonymisc at 11:48 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


My cultural dealbreaker would be people who are too sensitive to have a conversation about why they like the thing they like, or people who get offended because I don't like what they like.

For the first the reason they like something might change whether or not I can be their friend - if you watch reality tv because you think it is real you're probably not going to be a good friend for someone like me. For the second if I tell you I don't watch reality tv and you spend all your time being huffy about it and trying to get me to watch it anyway you're too annoying to be a friend.

Also people who watch BBT because they seriously will not mesh well with my worldview and will probably spend most of their time trying to compare me to Sheldon as if I didn't know anything about the show instead of just not watching it.
posted by winna at 11:48 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


My impression is that some people feel it's laugh-at instead of laugh-with, but if you can't laugh at yourself, a tv show isn't the problem, so that doesn't explain it either.

Laughing at yourself is laugh-with. Laugh-at is laugh-at-them, not laugh-at-me.

I do generally enjoy BBT, but there are some distasteful moments (Raj is like this because he's Indian! Howard is like this because he's Jewish! Amy is like this because girls!).
posted by Etrigan at 11:53 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


Is there a link to something that explains the big bang theory hate?

Self-professed geeks feel it is mocking them.

but if you can't laugh at yourself, a tv show isn't the problem

Geeks are extraordinarily bad at laughing at themselves, despite loud and frequent protestations to the contrary. Geekdom is built on taking certain things Super Seriously, most especially themselves.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:56 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


Is there a link to something that explains the big bang theory hate? My nerd and geek credentials are impeccable and I like the show. It's the usual predictable accessible sitcom fare, but that doesn't explain the hate.

Part of it might be its competition with the generally-superior Community, but myself, I've always gotten the feeling the writers were cultural tourists, by adopting a point-and-laugh, othering approach to nerd culture. Like when something comes out of Japan and we all gawk and laugh. (Hell, I do that now.)

Another symptom of this is how they use easy-to-find signifiers for nerd culture. Like when the big board game the guys all got into was Settlers of Catan, a game that most intensive gaming circles get over pretty quickly because of its randomness. Or how the guys' big MMORPG gaming obsession was fantasy-themepark World of Warcraft, and not something more esoteric like EVE Online.

Mind, I've not watched much Big Bang Theory (and there's a lot of it to watch), so for all I know these examples could just be indicative of my surface exposure, which can easily mislead. But all the things I've heard and read about the show substantiate my admittedly-kneejerk impression.
posted by JHarris at 11:57 AM on May 10 [11 favorites]


I detest BBT, but equally dislike the "it's nerd blackface" extremist criticism. To me, it's just a popular show that has negative appeal to me. Once something is popular enough, disliking it — and being the most ardent disliker — seems to become some sort of badge of honour.

That's my net worth, minus 2¢.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:57 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


A lot of these aren't so much cultural dealbreakers as they are warning signs that indicate someone has odious political or philosophical views, or that they're incurious and probably kind of boring.

I don't think I know anyone who doesn't enjoy something horrendous here and there. (Except me, obviously. I only like good things.) But the things we spend our time on can indicate something about our character.

Plus, who cares, anyway? People like what they like for whatever reasons, and people can also like whom they like for whatever reasons. I don't think that being liked by me is such a precious public commodity that I have to dole it out fairly and equitably. I'm just some schmo with a messy house and a bad haircut.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:58 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Is there a link to something that explains the big bang theory hate?

I don't have a link or anything but aspie friends have referred to it as "autistic blackface" before. I don't buy the nerd blackface argument at all, but the autistic aspect is much harder to dismiss.
posted by dialetheia at 11:59 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Though Fox News is hard to let slide. I had a dentist who used to listen to Hannity and I had to switch dentists despite his excellent Nitrous Oxide.

Living here in scenic Brunswick, Georgia, if I did this, I'd be a hermit.
posted by JHarris at 12:02 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


I don't like it because all the people I know in the offline world who like it seem to treat it as if it were some sort of holy writ about how clever people actually behave. For most of them this appears to be thinking anyone capable of using standard English writing conventions in work email and not wanting to live at the mall are extras from the show to be treated as such. Also I find it sort of the opposite of funny. An example would be the show I had to watch at the gym the other night from the treadmill, which was about fifty percent fat jokes about someone's mother and the other fifty percent were jokes about autism.
posted by winna at 12:03 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


Another symptom of this is how they use easy-to-find signifiers for nerd culture. Like when the big board game the guys all got into was Settlers of Catan, a game that most intensive gaming circles get over pretty quickly because of its randomness. Or how the guys' big MMORPG gaming obsession was fantasy-themepark World of Warcraft, and not something more esoteric like EVE Online.

This is what I mean about taking things so seriously. "Obviously a real gaming circle would have long ago moved past Settlers of Catan!" "Obviously, real gamers would choose something beyond WoW!"

But it's a show aimed at a general audience. Of course they have to pick games like WoW that the general audience is likely to have at least heard of. And this is true of any genre show. I can tell you as an attorney that lawyer shows only focus on the broadest and most shallow aspects of the law because that's what the audience knows. They wouldn't want to watch an hour of careful debate over the minutiae of civil procedure, but that's the kind of thing actual attorneys talk about. So if they're going to show geeks, they're going to have to stick to surface geekdom to hold the audience.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:03 PM on May 10 [16 favorites]


There are things that aren't dealbreakers in and of themselves, but could become dealbreakers if taken to extremes.

Like, say, sports - I have almost no affinity for them myself, but it doesn't bother me that other people do. When they come up in conversation, I can generally come up with a couple of things to say, and appreciate other people's enthusiasm. And, if someone was willing to explain some aspect of a sport to me in layman's terms without using jargon (mind you, I've never met anyone actually willing to do that, but it could happen) I wouldn't mind.

But if they were one of those people who ate, slept, and breathed sports all the time, made every life situation into some kind of sports metaphor, had ESPN as the default TV channel, wore jerseys and caps to nice restaurants, peppered their speech with so much sports jargon I had trouble understanding them in conversation, and didn't understand that not everybody else was the same way, then at that point the deal would break.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:04 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Dudes who won't stop quoting South Park or Family Guy. No no no no no.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:07 PM on May 10 [13 favorites]


Morrissey. I've been friends with plenty of Smiths fans, but I don't think I could date one.
posted by jonmc at 12:08 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I don't understand people who have friends.
posted by srboisvert at 12:09 PM on May 10 [15 favorites]


I think the problem here is having too few "dealbreakers." I have about 500, because I care deeply about these things. And of course 100% of everyone I know fails at not just one or two, but many of them. That's life! I love a good argument about how wrong the other person is about one of these things. And it's not all just "a matter of taste," whatever that means. They're genuinely wrong! But that too is life. It's filled with wrongness. No reason to let that stand in the way of a friendship. (At least, not until it starts getting into politics...)
posted by chortly at 12:11 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


So if they're going to show geeks, they're going to have to stick to surface geekdom to hold the audience.

Nonsense. They could make up games or shows or whatever. Plus, "surface [n]-dom" is a bad level to aim for, because that's how you get Amos and Andy too.
posted by Etrigan at 12:13 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


This is what I mean about taking things so seriously. "Obviously a real gaming circle would have long ago moved past Settlers of Catan!" "Obviously, real gamers would choose something beyond WoW!"

I brought up those examples because they're examples of the writing staff not doing the homework. They're intended to read as geeks, but real geeks see through it because the signifiers are wrong. That's why many geeks look askance at it, they have an insider's view of the culture the writers don't have, which produces a feeling of being mis-pandered to. "They're into board games, what's a board game that's just on the edge of people's perceptions they can be into?" Settlers of Catan is available at our local Target; Puerto Rico and Power Grid are harder to find.

In fact, a lot of geeks tend to be very self-effacing.
posted by JHarris at 12:17 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Is there a link to something that explains the big bang theory hate?

I can't speak to the perspective that it's fake-nerding/cultural-tourism/whatever, but I do have a dear friend who's a legit scientist and a big fan of the show so I happily sat down with him to watch a few episodes and man, it just wasn't funny. Didn't laugh once. Simulacra of jokes, but no humor.

This exercise proves it is exceedingly easy to write off a fictional person, invented for the sole purpose of writing them off. Very few people are defined solely by two or three interests.

I love them dearly, and I count myself among their number, but you have clearly not spent much time around hard-core triathletes.
posted by psoas at 12:18 PM on May 10 [9 favorites]


For the second if I tell you I don't watch reality tv and you spend all your time being huffy about it and trying to get me to watch it anyway you're too annoying to be a friend.

The "you must like this, try it" again and again and again is a big dealbreaker for me. It's not a pop culture thing, though the number one application in my life has been the free-floating Heinlein flame war. I read it; I don't like it. I don't care if you like it or hate it. Just, you know, don't push one more book at me because I don't want to read it.
posted by immlass at 12:23 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


"I'll listen to anything but rap or country"

Yeah, this is a huge red flag for me. I don't mind that the person dislikes rap and country—I don't like country either (with very few and specific exceptions), and mainstream hip-hop (which is what I presume people mean by "rap") is generally pretty odious.

Rather, it's the astonishingly narrow cultural awareness betrayed by the statement. Really? You like everything other than rap and country? So you won't mind if I play Throbbing Gristle, Crass, gamelan music, opera, Negativland, Anal Cunt, Philip Glass, showtunes, drill 'n' bass, AM-radio gospel, chiptunes, Latin pop, and sea shanties? Or all of the above simultaneously?

I think what these people really mean by "everything" is "everything that's played on the radio or covered by the likes of Rolling Stone". Which is not actually everything. Not by a long shot. I'm far less annoyed by someone who likes a genre of music I don't care for than I am by a person who is simply oblivious to and unconcerned with the huge universe of music that exists outside of their own little bubble.

Is there a link to something that explains the big bang theory hate?

1. It's an unfunny network sitcom with a laugh track. "Simulacra of jokes", indeed.

2. More to the point, it doesn't understand the things that it pokes fun at. As a geek myself, I'll be the first to say that geekdom is fair game for parody and satire. But parody that (mis)understands its target on such a superficial level falls painfully, embarrassingly flat. I have the same reaction when I hear spoofs of hip-hop done by people whose entire understanding of the genre apparently comes from the Beastie Boys and maybe overhearing the latest pop-rap hit in The Gap or whatever. Blecch. So cringeworthy.

Dudes who won't stop quoting South Park or Family Guy. No no no no no.

Agreed. Quoting pop-culture artifacts in general, actually. It's cool if you like a particular movie or whatever. It's not cool if you want to constantly recite your favorite lines to anyone who's too polite to tell you to STFU.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:24 PM on May 10 [19 favorites]


Rather, it's the astonishingly narrow cultural awareness betrayed by the statement. Really? You like everything other than rap and country?

I always interpreted this as "I hate things associated with poor/working class culture". You see it everywhere on dating sites, it's a class signifier.
posted by bradbane at 12:30 PM on May 10 [38 favorites]


I don't believe in cultural dealbreakers in the sense of "this guy likes Transformers movies, therefore I will not talk to him" because he could be a good guy and interesting in other ways. But I do believe in cultural dealbreakers in the sense of I won't respect this guy's opinions about movies!
posted by furiousthought at 12:32 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Two quick semi-related points:

My cultural dealbreakers tend to be the ones that speak to a particular cultural perspective (for want of a better term) with which I strongly disagree. Things like: Fox News; conservative radio; rap rock of the Limp Bizkit variety; anything from the Seth MacFarlane media empire; Howard Stern; Terry Richardson; Ayn Rand; Neil Labute. In other words, stuff that's so devoid of skill and woman-hatey that the form doesn't distract from or justify the content. It would be really hard for me to be friends with someone whose life was changed by The Fountainhead or whose only source of news was so heavily biased towards religious wingnuttery.

That being said...there are certain artists whose sense of ethics is so thoroughly skewed that I feel a little pang in my heart when people who I like and respect are into them. Some of this is personal bias, to be sure. For example, a certain multimedia artist presents herself as a liberal feminist with social justice sympathies who goes out of her way to support other female artists because: feminism. However, she royally screwed me over without remorse or apology because I was involved with a man she found attractive, and after she disposed of him she left me a long answering machine message to tell me I could have him back. When I hear people describe her as a feminist role model, I get a little depressed because I feel like they should know better. But it would just make me bitter if every mention of her do-goodery warranted the "well, actually" response, so I keep my mouth shut.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:33 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


anything from the Seth MacFarlane media empire;

I like the new Cosmos pretty well.
posted by leahwrenn at 12:38 PM on May 10 [15 favorites]


I don't have any outright dealbreakers, as long as you know your place and are prepared to do penance for your lowly tastes.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:43 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


My first thought was "Penthouse." Don't know why I went there. Maybe it's just a lingering relic from my early adulthood when it was something of a thing to put your erotic aesthetics on the wall.

A heavy emphasis on what I call snark political entertainment, regardless of political perspective. I just don't think you can really get your teeth into an issue by watching a monologue.

Not so much a dealbreaker, but since I don't follow sports, it's hard for me to get into sports-dominated discussions.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:45 PM on May 10


"I'll listen to anything but rap or country"

People still write that? I remember seeing that in dating site profiles fifteen years ago and it was totally a deal breaker, although chances are if someone had that on their profile there'd be lots else that I'd disagree with too. Usually it meant that they liked any music that the local Clear Channel Rawk station played.
posted by octothorpe at 12:49 PM on May 10


I like the new Cosmos pretty well.
I haven't seen it. To be honest, Ann Druyan's frequent (for want of a better phrase) defense of MacFarlane as someone who fearlessly speaks the truth makes me think a little less of her. Is he just speaking the truth when he underwrites your passion project, or is he also speaking the truth when he makes rape jokes and anti-Semitic statements?
posted by pxe2000 at 12:52 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


The whole topic is sort of off-putting, like one of those dates that feels like a job interview.

"And you would hide away and find your peace of mind
With some indie record that's much cooler than mine"
posted by IndigoJones at 12:55 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


The kind of person who thinks it's oh-so-terrible when someone doesn't care about arts-related stuff or pop culture, yet who thinks it's pretty cool to laugh about how hopeless they are with science and maths. Those people are pricks.
posted by Decani at 1:01 PM on May 10 [7 favorites]


It's more of a last decade thing, but The Secret.
posted by philip-random at 1:03 PM on May 10 [12 favorites]


I've been trying to use the Law of Attraction to attract an asteroid for years now. No luck.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:09 PM on May 10 [9 favorites]


I feel bad for the fast zombie haters. Yes, they are often in very shitty movies and I too prefer the slow creeping of your mortality zombies. But Return of the Living Dead is a terrifying, hilarious, unsettling film. Give the fasties a chance!
posted by munchingzombie at 1:10 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I agree and I'd like to send more cops your way munchingzombie!
posted by Renoroc at 1:23 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Overtly religious people. Anything Seth McFarlane. Plus I'm a guy who is entirely disinterested in sports, so I'm kind of an outcast.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 1:23 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


The kind of person who thinks it's oh-so-terrible when someone doesn't care about arts-related stuff or pop culture, yet who thinks it's pretty cool to laugh about how hopeless they are with science and maths. Those people are pricks.

I guess I spend too much time around tech types because I encounter the opposite a lot more often:

"Art and literature? LOL, who cares?"

"You don't know this math or science or programming concept? What a fucking idiot!"
posted by Sangermaine at 1:26 PM on May 10 [8 favorites]


I like evil otto's points, a lot, because being curious about culture and digging in just a little bit has helped me as a recovering nerd understand how things really work.

Culturally, I'm into sports, I goto select bars and clubs shooting pool and attempting to dance. Some of the top 40 turns me off because it lacks depth or profundity, but some like Wake Me Up and Pompeii just run on repeat in my head some days.

Outside of that: I absolutely adore untouched or flourishing nature in the rural areas. Forests, the smell of good pine, creatures from the deer to the curious ground dwelling insects and snakes. I'm a sustainability nut, so I suppose it fits.

As far as cultural stasis, lack of curiosity, lack of interest, and intimidation: that comes and goes. I'm one of those people that does not hesitate to not immediately pick up something, but at least first think about its implications - culture, findings in the news, opinions, doesn't matter - and the thinking doesn't have to be much, maybe just a second. It's kept me out of a lot of trouble, and kept the working things in my life uncompromised. I check myself as often as possible too, I can take changes that need to happen, whether that be over time or immediately so long as there's understanding. No understanding, no emotional internalization, no deal.

I'd be careful in interpreting intimidation as a sign of a lack of cultural curiosity or that leading to feelings of intimidation. It may not be a lack of curiosity, but perhaps an understanding, either through family history or pure observation, that whatever this 'thing' is makes no room for the things that have worked for their lives for a long time. Worse yet, this thing has come hard and fast, and wants to just be without a single thought to its consequences.

Think about automobile culture, its quick adoption, its resistance before it became as bad as it has become in terms of scale, environmental impact, etc. Imagine if we thought a little longer about its implications before going big with it. Imagine if we paused for a bit that very human urge to pick things up without a thought.

Think about how the native Americans felt when the Europeans, with a very different culture than their own, came onto their turf...
posted by JoeXIII007 at 1:32 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


"I'll listen to anything but rap or country"

People still write that?


Radio stations still use it as an actual description of their format: "All the hits, without the rap." I won't let the kids listen to the local version of that station anymore after I realized that they really meant "Currently popular music by white people and unthreatening light-skinned others."
posted by Etrigan at 1:34 PM on May 10 [10 favorites]


Dudes who won't stop quoting South Park or Family Guy. No no no no no.

I knew a guy whose entire social personality consisted of quoting The Simpsons, Futurama, and Family Guy. It's like he was an alien spy, and before descending to earth, his captain gave him nothing but boxed sets of those series to prepare him for all of human interaction.
posted by evil otto at 1:41 PM on May 10 [16 favorites]


Here are some others:

Poor-faith arguments about why rape jokes and ethnic humor (that don't punch up) should be allowed. Bonus points if someone equates criticism of these with censorship.

On the flip side, saying that women or other under-represented groups are above the indignities of criticism, and that anyone making points about why something by a female artist (say) doesn't work is automatically aiming below the belt.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:53 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


As far as actual dealbeakers go, I hold friends to a far different standard than romantic partners. I can't think of any real dealbreakers for friendship, other than just being rude and inconsiderate. Who has time for people like that? Even an Ayn Rand fan I could have a good conversation with, if they're intelligent and personable.

For romantic partners, it's a bit different, although I try to have as few dealbreakers as possible. I guess religion would be the biggest one. Not because I disrespect religion, but because, as an atheist, belief in the supernatural is about as far from my perspective as you can get. It's just not a gap I can personally bridge. (although I can accept "spiritual, but not religious", which seems to be what everybody's into these days)
posted by evil otto at 1:55 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


People who genuinely admire Joel Osteen or Deepak Chopra or Marianne Williamson or Drs Oz, Phil or Drew and other pseudo-philosophers/"thinkers"/pundits/social critics. Mostly anything that springs from Oprahville.
posted by Sassenach at 2:01 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


I might look at someone funny if they were into TOSH 2.0 or BRICKLEBERRY.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:07 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Not finding The Jerk funny. Oh wait, that was a Freaks and Geeks episode

Not a very good episode, obviously, because that premise is basically impossible
posted by Hoopo at 2:14 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Poor-faith arguments about why rape jokes and ethnic humor (that don't punch up) should be allowed. Bonus points if someone equates criticism of these with censorship.

Hah yes, this is an actual dealbreaker for me too, though I've seen it online much more often than in person. It's always a guy who is trying to make it into a freedom of speech issue, when it's not, because it's not a government entity that's banning rape jokes, it's actual people in conversation saying that rape jokes are in horrible taste. Yes, you have the freedom to make the jokes, but I have the freedom to tell you that you're perpetuating a really ugly and casual attitude about rape. There's no censorship there. And furthermore, why are rape jokes the hill you want to die on? Why is it so important for you to defend that particular subject as fair game for humor? Ugh. And these guys (always guys) don't even wanna hear about rape culture, when they are the very ones perpetuating it.

I'm a guy, but I get disgusted after a while by outdated stereotypes of gender and sexuality, so the above is a pretty big dealbreaker, much moreso than any particular pop culture like or dislike.
posted by malapropist at 2:19 PM on May 10 [9 favorites]


Anyone who uses marketing/business speak in their everyday conversation.


Agree. Like, e.g., "dealbreaker."

Though the worst IMO is "brand"--as when people (who don't actually, say, have sneakers named after them or something) are said to be have "devalued their brand," or to be mindful of their "brand" or WTF ever. Jesus that makes me crazy.

Bonus comment:

We should, indeed, call zombie bullshit on fast zombies...but 28 Days Later is the best zombie movie ever.

Discuss.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 2:40 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Hey, everyone! You know who I hate/pity/love to mock? Those people! Fuck them and their tastes!

Let's never speak to them again, in case we might discover, to our horror, that we share some common ground.
posted by belarius at 2:41 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Eat Pray Love.

Belle and Sebastian.

Anything by Thomas Friedman.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:51 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I think snobbishness gets a bad rap. I mean, everyone thinks the stuff they like is better than the stuff they don't like, right?

And if all the media you consume is heavily processed and/or intended for children, yeah, I do think that my tastes are more refined than yours. I've been seeking out interesting movies and music and stuff since I was a kid, and I still do as a middle aged lady. I've spent a fair amount of time and money going to film festivals and concerts and reading reviews and analyses and I used to mail order music I hadn't even heard yet if the descriptions in catalogs made it sound interesting. I'm hardly a huge nerd of it or anything, but I have distinct tastes and interests in some areas, and have put efforts into discovering new things I enjoy. I do know more about those things than someone whose musical tastes consist of whatever was in the top 40 during their adolescence and who only watch major release movies.

I don't think I'm a better person than those people. Most of my friends and family are like that, and I think they're all pretty great. But I do think the stuff I like is better than the stuff they like, and if someone starts getting on me because I haven't seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Toy Story or something, and if they're dismissive of movies that can't be accurately summarized as [genre] about [major story arc], I am OK with being a little snobby in response.
posted by ernielundquist at 3:05 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


I think I'd have a hard time connecting with someone who actively disliked the Muppets, but they might feel the same about me anyway.
posted by peppermind at 3:08 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


My dealbreaker is having a dealbreaker. Is that too meta?
posted by madcaptenor at 3:13 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Let's never speak to them again, in case we might discover, to our horror, that we share some common ground.

I was always a jerk so I can't say that this is just because I'm an old, but I've gotten to a point in my life where I don't feel the need to try to find reasons to like people.
posted by winna at 3:13 PM on May 10 [7 favorites]


People who don't like pro-wrestling. If you're not down with the greatest truly American art then you can fuck right off.
posted by smackwich at 3:17 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Mods, can you find me a way to favorite the comment about "rap and country" being a class signifier a few more times?
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:18 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Snobbishness (edit: of the straightforward kind, at least) is just aggressively out of fashion right now. Maybe as an archetypical millennial response to an archetypical gen x attitude.
posted by deathmaven at 3:20 PM on May 10 [7 favorites]


Todays take away- Sledge Hammer!
posted by T10B at 3:21 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Fox News as one's sole news source. That's it . Plain and simple. Fortunately for me, a lot of people to whom this applies make early and proud declarations, thereby saving me a lot of time.
posted by hwestiii at 3:21 PM on May 10 [8 favorites]


I can imagine joking about what might be a cultural dealbreaker, but I can't imagine having a cultural dealbreaker. I find the concept in actual practice to be hateful, or snobby. It's one thing to kid around about not willing to be friends with people who have Thomas Kinkade paintings hanging over their mantles or who brag about how they've just been to Disneyland for the 44th time, but the idea of rejecting people based on their cultural tastes makes me sad. It seems like something I might have done 15 years ago if I had been a much bigger asshole than I was.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:26 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I once broke my rule of never getting horizontal with someone who does not get The Jesus and Mary Chain. Life was so.much.better when I had never broken that rule.

But seriously, I was glad to see a lot of people in that article admitting that less judgmental is better than more judgmental.
posted by crush-onastick at 3:30 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


"Mods, can you find me a way to favorite the comment about 'rap and country' being a class signifier a few more times?"

I liked that comment, but I'm not convinced it's quite correct. I don't think it's so much about economic class, exactly. I think it's more Bourdieuian cultural capital as it applies to the cultural capital version of the petite bourgeoisie. It signifies someone who has only enough cultural capital to (crudely) recognize the two most obvious examples of signifiers of (they believe) even lower status.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:32 PM on May 10 [25 favorites]


I've mellowed a bit as I've gotten older, but the one huge-but-esoteric dealbreaker I have left is believing that the works of Shakespeare weren't written by Shakespeare. I may smile and politely attempt to argue with you, but on the inside I am spiritually pepper-spraying you in the face SO HARD.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:32 PM on May 10 [14 favorites]


Coming from a fundie cultural background where all contemporary music, art, books and plays were suspect until proven Godly, meaning I had to sneak what bits and pieces I wanted to consume, I just can't judge anyone for having terrible taste. I know many of the things I love or loved then are just awful, but they were what I had access to, and so they meant something important to me.

How do I know that someone else who loves something I hate isn't coming from a similar space? One of my dearest friends loved Ayn Rand because her books allowed him to break out of a poisonous set of religious beliefs; he's grown beyond her, but how can I say she wasn't what he needed at the time?
posted by emjaybee at 3:41 PM on May 10 [11 favorites]


believing that the works of Shakespeare weren't written by Shakespeare

I'm familiar with this notion, but I have no idea how plausible it is, or what evidence (if any) exists to support it.

But I think I do know what you're talking about here. I used to know a guy who used to declaim passionately that Jesus and Buddha were the same historical person (or that Jesus traveled east and met Buddha, or something—I honestly don't remember the particulars).

It seemed like he did it because (a) he wanted to come across as an intellectual because he thought about such things; and (b) he wanted to come across as some kind of renegade because he took the unpopular, fringe position that the establishment doesn't want you to know about, or is too dumb and blind to realize, or whatever. (He talked a lot of other conspiracy nonsense too.)

He really just came across as "that weird guy at the bar that always sits down at our table uninvited and starts talking about Loose Change for the billionth fucking time".
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:46 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Lack of passion. Or compulsion masked as compassion.

I can get along with anyone who likes something for almost any reason as long as they genuinely dig it.
Some people just get off on being spoilers and buzzkills and everything sucks. Earnestness is underrated.
I was listening to someone listening to a podcast of piano jazz with Rachel Z. She just dug being there and doing those tunes so much, to the point where she's saying "I'm excited."

Just completely geeked out. Like the Apollo 13 crew. Jack Swigert talking about how cool the ejecta blanket on the Tsiolkovsky crater is.

There's minutiae that's charming and there's minutiae that's obsessive, regardless of subject. One is honest the other is a facade.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:52 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


There's minutiae that's charming and there's minutiae that's obsessive, regardless of subject. One is honest the other is a facade.

How can you tell the difference?
posted by winna at 4:01 PM on May 10


"Some people just get off on being spoilers and buzzkills and everything sucks."

It's interesting how those traits and the "your favorite band sucks, you have bad taste" things overlap and are essentially adolescent. A lot of those A.V. Club writers talked about how they were very snobbish and had such dealbreakers when they were young.

I have a lot of tolerance for actual adolescents behaving like adolescents. There are good reasons why adolescents are the way they are and working through that stage is important and necessary. This stuff is all about defining self in the context of society and in opposition to powerful forces; just like how toddlers need to learn to say "no" but it's fucking annoying, adolescents need to learn to say "that sucks", even though it's fucking annoying.

The problem, though, is that some people never get beyond that stage. They're permanent adolescents and they confuse that disaffected, contemptuous, and facile judgmentalism and contrariness with being "smart" and "mature" and "independent". And they're just awful people to be around. Like toddlers who say "no" for no good reason but that they can, and adolescents who hate things for no good reason but that they can, adults who affect this sort of worldview and personality are unaware of how reflexive and shallow it obviously is to everyone else. Not only are they simply unpleasant people, but they also are making fools of themselves but don't realize it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:08 PM on May 10 [20 favorites]


It's vs. its. If you get it wrong, we're in the lightning cultural dealbreaker round.
posted by surplus at 4:16 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Women my age (30s) who think Twilight is legit super-romantic and not a) fun escapism or b) creepy never turn out to be women I get along with. I don't preemptively dislike them or anything, but so far we've never meshed.

Men who read widely, but refuse to read books by women, are on my list of people to whom I will be cordially polite but it's highly unlikely we'll get along or be able to stand each other.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:19 PM on May 10 [14 favorites]


I'm with Valentine on not being able to converse well with people who aren't into, well, beanplating all kinds of media. That's the big one where our worldviews will be different enough that it won't work.

I also really don't like to be around people who shit on YA as a genre, because it's where a lot of innovation is happening and it's also where a lot of women are writing and where a lot if protagonists are female. People who don't recognize it as a space that in many ways acts as a correction for the sexist mainstream of genre fiction generally just don't care about the fact that the mainstream is sexist. I feel similarly about people who are dicks about fanfiction, because it's the kind of hobby people are free to shit on because it's for women and girls.

Most of my other dealbreakers are similar-- they're opinions about pop culture that are really shorthand or dogwhistles for casual misogyny. I put myself forward in the dating world as super annoyingly feminist mostly so these people will dismiss me as a SJW and I won't have to talk to them.
posted by NoraReed at 4:23 PM on May 10 [12 favorites]


Any number of these responses--whether itchy or head-exloding--seem like social rather than cultural dealbreakers. So in that spirit:

Social/behavioral dealbreaker: you know something bothers me, and you repeat it/point it out when you think my guard is down. (See also: jackassholery.)

Cultural dealbreaker: anybody who thinks it's appropriate to mock a person/creature in obvious pain, whether or not that pain is self-generated. File this under: cheap shot (or) you-got-what-you-deservistas.
posted by datawrangler at 4:34 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Pretentious music snobs, often the type that think pavement is the best band to ever exist, who think that electronic music and stuff like black moth super rainbow isn't real music because it's just like, programmed on a computer maaan and there aren't any real instruments.

people who think n64 smash bros or mario kart is inherently better than the new ones. Similarly, people who refuse to play anything but project M even if we're just sitting around drinking some beers and casually playing games(i've only met one person like this, but holy shit)

I could list of like 20, but they all have to do with pretentious elitist nerds being well, pretentious elitist nerds.

The only other one i can really think of is people who have to turn a discussion about something they don't like into a discussion about why you shouldn't like it and potentially even why you're a bad person if you do. Everyone is guilty of this sometimes, but some people are blatant repeat offenders on this one.

It takes many forms, but the first one that popped into my head was the whole "lets turn this into some judge judy like dressing down of how this show/movie/book/anime/game/whatever has serious issues with how it handles women/minorities/etc" when it was just light heartedly brought up in casual conversation. I mean, i'm totally down to participate in conversations about that shit... but there's a time and a place for everything. And SWAT team like kicking the door down into a lighthearted "omg did you see the latest bla bla" smalltalky conversation with that high level stuff, in to something that was barely above a fluff conversation is a huge mood killer.

I've deleted people, and they've deleted me for getting annoyed at them party crashing like this on social media. I've also drifted away from or had people drift away in real life. It just has a really high rate of turning into a "well if you're not willing to discuss this then you're not willing to acknowledge it exists and therefor you're a terrible person making the world a shittier place".

There's an even more inceptiony-deep level of this with the whole "the work is fine, but the artist is a terrible person so you shouldn't like it because then you're tacitly saying you're fine with what they did!" shitwagon of a freighted discussion... but... ugh
posted by emptythought at 5:02 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Pokemon. Even saying it makes me feel like I have a reddit sticker on my car.
posted by four panels at 5:15 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


evil otto: "I knew a guy whose entire social personality consisted of quoting The Simpsons, Futurama, and Family Guy. It's like he was an alien spy, and before descending to earth, his captain gave him nothing but boxed sets of those series to prepare him for all of human interaction."

Aw man, I *hated* that Junkion!
posted by notsnot at 5:16 PM on May 10


Anyone who after watching one Adam Sandler film would contemplate watching another. By which I think I may mean 'Americans'. I mean, really, why?
posted by biffa at 5:45 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


South Park, Family Guy, Hetalia, that really tedious brand of Star Wars fandom that seems almost universal in male nerd culture, creepy visual novels and in fact anything and everything even loosely categorisable as moe, 'legendary' racist, sexist sci-fi novelists, whiny right-wing modern sci-fi/fantasy novelists, Little Britain, torture porn, categorising the Human Centipede as torture porn rather than the absurdist black comedy it clearly is. The Human Centipede 2.

I'm happy to own my status as a haver of dealbreakers. Because a little judging, social selectiveness and criticism is not hateful, no matter how hard certain folks try to conflate it with things that are.
posted by emmtee at 6:04 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Seconding Pokemon. I have almost been sold on the arguments in favour of My Little Pony, but.... Pokemon!?!?
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:08 PM on May 10


I watch Pokemon all the time. It's soothing and cute and it reminds me of childhood. When I'm sad and tired and need something to make me feel okay again I watch the Squirtle Squad or the episode where Pikachu meets all the wild Pikachu or the one where Bulbasaur has an existential crisis and meets the Ivysaur and the whole world seems less grim.

I mean I could pretend when I'm down I watch Mizoguchi movies but that would be a giant lie. also that would totally not help the whole being down problem.
posted by winna at 6:17 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


My Little Pokemon : Friendship is Magic : the Gathering.

One of my roommates plays that I think, he's always getting those Pokemons in the mail. At least, that's what I call them.
posted by hap_hazard at 6:19 PM on May 10


Men who read widely, but refuse to read books by women

Woah. Surprised to learn there is such a thing. Like, they do this on principle or something?

people who think n64 smash bros or mario kart is inherently better than the new ones

Well yeah cuz the Super Nintendo Mario Kart is the best Mario Kart, and the best N64 game was Goldeneye. The new ones look good but now there's too many buttons and I'm old.
posted by Hoopo at 6:21 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Pokemon hits a sweet spot of nostalgia and relaxing for me (at least the latest generation of games does). I don't play often, but I do on occasion. Also, a lot of my internet friends play, and it's one of those games where you can have nonverbal social interactions easily. I like being able to send/receive little bonuses in-game without feeling obligated to actually talk to somebody, it's the kind of low-pressure social interaction that can really help me out when I'm feeling incredibly socially anxious.

Hoopo, it's really easy to just not read books by women by not seeking them out. Publishing is still pretty sexist, and a lot of stuff by women is mostly marketed as "for women" specifically. I've spent so much of my life mostly reading stuff by men that I've lately been trying to have at least 3/4 of what I read be by women to compensate. (I'm mostly a sci-fi and fantasy reader, though.)
posted by NoraReed at 6:34 PM on May 10


People who earnestly tell me stories that are obviously urban legends.
posted by davebush at 6:34 PM on May 10 [7 favorites]


The term "dealbreaker" doesn't work for me, but I have sometimes met folks whose views on their beliefs/favorite cultural forms/politics/etc.-- loudly and proudly proclaimed, and not only by T-shirts -- have been door closers. It's as if their approach to their pet thing obscures their ability to be open. I give a mental shrug, realize that we probably won't connect in a fulfilling way, and try to treat them decently. It's my "Flag and move on" approach to social interaction.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:59 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


This makes me paranoid about the shibboleths I don't know are shibboleths. That's social anxiety for you, though.

I'm highly accepting of complicated tastes, because I am a small-s-socialist, radical feminist despite having a deep, wide soft spot for Robert A. Heinlein.

If you take Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh to heart, we're not kindred spirits.
posted by gingerest at 7:28 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


"Like, they do this on principle or something?"

Usually we're having a conversation about books and they're like, "Never read it, never read it ..." and I'm like "WHAT YOU HAVE TO IT'S SO GREAT" and they're like, "But it's by a woman so it's probably boring ..." and further investigation reveals they avoid female authors on purpose and only read them if they have tricky secret names like Andre Norton.

But yeah, for real, there are dudes afraid reading lady words will make them ladies or something.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:48 PM on May 10 [7 favorites]


An entire article of "Your favorite thing sucks"?

Yup.

And so do you.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:51 PM on May 10


Snobs and smugness would be dealbreakers for me .

I'll take Joshua's date!
posted by divabat at 8:00 PM on May 10


Anyone who after watching one Adam Sandler film would contemplate watching another. By which I think I may mean 'Americans'. I mean, really, why?

BECAUSE STEVE BUSCEMI THAT'S WHY


that is the reason biffa
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:11 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Perhaps it's because I'm old but I find there are things, beliefs, philosophies that I hate but I discover there are worthwhile people that I love who love those things, beliefs, philosophies. I still hate those things, beliefs, philosophies, but I don't hate the people. My younger self would be disappointed in me.
posted by evilDoug at 8:15 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Fists O'Fury: 28 Days Later is the best zombie movie ever. Discuss.

No discussion to be had. 28 Days Later features the "rage virus," which doesn't result in death, but a manic, non-rational state. Fun movie, but they weren't zombies, just like I Am Legend is not about zombies, but zombie-like (and yes, a key influence for Night of the Living Dead, which also didn't call its horrors "zombies").

Dennis Perkins, you are my kind of guy (in a platonic way).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:37 PM on May 10


I want to draw a distinction between having some level of appreciation for Pokemon, and being really into Pokemon. Like, I can appreciate kraft Dinner as comfort food once in a while, but I'm not going to rave about it.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:38 PM on May 10


Anyone who after watching one Adam Sandler film would contemplate watching another. By which I think I may mean 'Americans'. I mean, really, why?

But if you are going to see only one, make it Punch-Drunk Love. That was actually good, because it exposed the barely-concealed rage that simmers under all the stupid stuff Sandler does in his other movies.
posted by emjaybee at 8:48 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


Well, I hate to say it because apparently it marks me as petty bourgeois or something, but I honestly dislike both rap and country music, can't say I like everything else but if you asked me to list the genres of music I don't like much those two would be the top of the list. There's a few oddball exceptions in both categories (most stuff by Willie Nelson is tolerable and some I genuinely like). My partner likes both and she dislikes rather intensely techno and trance both of which I rather like, we get along. And other than his odious political viewpoints, I rather liked the hickhop of Cowboy Troy which is really weird since I don't like either genre by itself.

I can't say that there's any culture thing that I will automatically reject a person as a potential friend for liking. But I will say that I've got a list of things that automatically make me suspect such a person is not likely to be the sort of person I'd be friends with. FOX News and Ayn Rand top the list, along with people who proudly declare that they don't read.

I probably won't really be friends with people who don't like to beanplate things. To me that's kind of the point of having things: they give us something to think about and discuss.

There are certain political positions and worldviews I do think make me automatically reject a person as a potential friend. Racism, homophobia, belief that women should not have bodily autonomy, things like that. I can get along with such people in a professional setting, but I can't see being friends with a person of that nature.
posted by sotonohito at 9:16 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


The book snobbery thing ("I won't whatever with people who don't read") really gets to me. There's a whole group of lovely people out there who for various reasons books have just not resonated with, and I think the only reason it seems acceptable to say none of them are worth knowing is because books are the ultimate cultural status symbol. It is incredible narrow-minded that people can't imagine someone like this. Not everyone's inner life is expressed and accessed in the same way.

Also shit like this:

Why on Earth would someone declare that they have no interest in educating and/or entertaining themselves by happily avoiding an entire medium of art?

And yet, it's totally fine to not like manga, or comic books, or anime, or television, or video games. But books are somehow holy, and must be appreciated by all.

Finally, there are so many books out there that so empty. Is someone who reads the 592nd Dean Koontz cut-and-paste novel really getting so much more out of life than someone who doesn't?
posted by !Jim at 9:22 PM on May 10 [13 favorites]


I basically only have a couple of cultural/social dealbreakers:

1. People who insist that movies and films are only worth seeing in theaters. No. I absolutely hate theaters, some 90% of the time. I have sensory issues, and they act up when distracted/tired/hungry/not on decent ADHD meds. They're bright, LOUD, the screen is HUGE, things lunge at you (because hey! 3D!), etc. If I feel distracted/overwhelmed/needing a break, I'll not want to leave - because I don't want to disturb other people, and/or the sunk cost of paying $10 or more means that I feel compelled to watch the big shiny thingy on the screen. I've taken to wearing earplugs or my headphones in the theater. I'll wait until Netflix, thanks. Trying to explain this people? They just don't get it.

2. People who believe that one is consuming art for the 'wrong reasons'. When I was a teen, my very first foray into fantasy was 'A Wizard of Earthsea', by Urusula K. LeGuin. Why? Because the main character's name is 'Ged'. My evil step-dad immediately criticized me for reading it, as he determined that it was because of my massive crush on Geddy Lee, and that was a stupid reason. (I still have a massive crush on Geddy Lee. OK not literally, but still....) Which, true. If the main mage's name was something other than 'Ged', I probably wouldn't have picked it up. But that it was my motivator meant that, at 15, I was both introduced to a new genre, and a new author, both of which I like to this day. Thanks, Geddy Lee!

I have no regrets, stupid or not. If it encourages someone to open their horizons, to new art, or music, or literature, or experience, or sport, or culture, or what have you, there is no 'stupid reason'.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:26 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


This thread has apparently been an elaborate scheme to get me to finally pick up Carl Wilson's A Journey to the End of Taste, which has been sitting on my coffee table since we got the coffee table and before that on the old coffee table and before that on the old coffee table at the old apartment.

But I have now placed it on my bedside table for tonight's reading, so you can all go home now. I am not going to finish my Piketty anyway, it is already overdue, and we can resume with Lymond in Russia on the bus Monday.
posted by Kwine at 9:31 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I once broke my rule of never getting horizontal with someone who does not get The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Wait, though, do you mean Psychocandy Jesus and Mary Chain, or, um, the rest of their stuff? 'Cause they're like practically two different bands. One made a glorious lethal cacophony that needs to be listened to at maximum possible volume, and the other had a coupla good goth-pop tunes.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:52 PM on May 10


pxe2000: being involved in various arts and activist communities I've got a lot of stories like that. It sucks, especially when you hear that you're not the only one victimized but no one else is willing to support you publicly because they see how it destroyed your career/reputation.
posted by divabat at 9:55 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


My respect for a person tends to dip if they refuse to like things that happen to be popular, as if all popular things are by definition terrible, or something. This is especially odd to me when they really liked that thing before other people started to like it.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:06 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


My respect for a person tends to dip if they refuse to like things that happen to be popular, as if all popular things are by definition terrible, or something.

but they usually are, because like T. Sturgeon said, "90 percent of everything is crap."

Including things that happen to be popular.
posted by philip-random at 11:37 PM on May 10


I lost a sister to Fox News.
posted by pracowity at 11:48 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


believing that the works of Shakespeare weren't written by Shakespeare

I'm familiar with this notion, but I have no idea how plausible it is,


Not remotely in the slightest.

or what evidence (if any) exists to support it.

Absolutely none whatsoever.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:50 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again: no Christians, no Republicans. Sure, add Randroids to the list. And people who don't read--at least as far as romantic partners. Friends? I guess...I mean I love plenty of (to my mind) completely wrong-headed family members who present with these deficiencies but we don't see each other all that often...

I will agree that rape jokes are in poor taste, but so are dead baby jokes, and those used to really crack me up when I was a kid. I still think they're funny now, and I've been to a baby's funeral in the last decade. Naturally I find real dead babies quite heartbreaking and not at all amusing. Perhaps the jokes are funny to me because they seem so outrageous, so universally beyond the pale.

My Polish grandmother is big on Polish jokes and told me this one a few years ago:

A German woman is being raped by 10 Polacks, and she yells "Nein! Nein!"

So one of them leaves.


I lol'd--partially because this came out of my 82 year old grandmother's mouth.
posted by apis mellifera at 12:36 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Some of the people who love what I love are arseholes. Some of the people who don't like what I do are great people.

I think most people have, if not deal-breakers, at least things that give them serious pause about another person, and that's reasonable and not at all harsh. I'm always disappointed to find out an actor I like is a Scientologist, for example, even if I don't suddenly stop watching anything they're in. Rand fans - not readers, but active cheerleaders - have always shown themselves to be toxic in my experience. A preference for Fox News demonstrates a desire to hear comforting lies over anything resembling the truth, and most often comes paired with an aggressive ignorance about the world. Fandoms often spit out the kind of obsessive point-keeper who demands that you enjoy, or hate, something the exact same way they do, who get angry at you for liking things wrong.

These aren't instant condemnations, but to varying degrees all match up with people who I really won't get along with. Not liking something I like is usually no problem, but liking something I find repugnant is usually a bad sign. But it won't be about something as light as zombie speed, it's always something that demonstrates a flawed worldview.
posted by gadge emeritus at 1:02 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Seconding Pokemon. I have almost been sold on the arguments in favour of My Little Pony, but.... Pokemon!?!?

Honestly, I think that mlp fandom in and of itself has some pretty dark, gross, upsetting, problematic, or whatever aspects to it. It's kinda it's own thing that needs to be compared to other stuff on it's own terms, because Of how damn weird the fandom is.

The Pokemon thing though, strikes me as being a small breakthrough to the surface of another deal breaker for me.

People who get really weird and squicky when they find out someone they previously liked is into stuff that's "immature". And it isn't always even stuff everyone could easily see that on like Pokemon. Sometimes it's just videogames in general, or All anime, or any number of other "nerdy" things like that. I've instantly had my opinion of a number of people damaged when something videogame related or along those lines gets brought up and they go "wow, you really play games? Isn't that like for teenagers?"

And I mean not only do you know they're probably a hypocrite, who you can almost guarantee likes some arguably "immature"/"unintelligent" bits of pop culture/media which is different because reasons... But it's also a fairly reliable goalpost for the person also having a bunch of weird backwards ideas or beliefs about other things generally. As in, they're also usually people who have weird hangups about certain things being "girly" or "boyish", etc.

Because it's like no, I'm not a Manchild because I play Pokemon on my ds when I ride the bus sometimes. Jeeze. Give me a good explanation of why that's any dumber than playing candy crush.

Divabat: being involved in various arts and activist communities I've got a lot of stories like that. It sucks, especially when you hear that you're not the only one victimized but no one else is willing to support you publicly because they see how it destroyed your career/reputation

Everyone I know whose been involved in those sorts of communities, who will actually being it up, has been totally back stabbed like this for really petty reasons by someone who was well liked and an "asset to the community" or whatever. I try my hardest not to let it make me super bitter and cynical, but the level of practicing what's being preached going on in those sorts of spaces is depressing. And it's compounded when you grew up from a very young age being involved in arts collectives and homeschool groups full of activists and super lefty feminist people and you're just watching the same tired songs play out from childhood into adulthood.

It's really the "there's no way I can bring up what happened to me without sounding like a bitter asshole with an axe to grind whose possibly making it up, and likely get chopped down even more in the process" part that's the most toxic, and hurts the most too. There's this huge miasma of "we're all good people, and no one here would do anything bad like what goes on outside of this bubble. Stop bringing petty interpersonal strife into this and trying to frame it as a larger problem" that just allows shitty people to keep being shitty and does a lot of their own work for them.

Ugh.

and seriously, the number of times I watched my mom get fucked over, or myself... And then several people would come forward in private and go "yea, that person did xyz bullshit to me too" who would never in a million years publicly talk about it and ughhhhh
posted by emptythought at 3:17 AM on May 11 [7 favorites]


Hey, spinifex, a lot of theaters do sensory matinees now, where they turn the sound down and the lights up and you can go in and out at will, for children with sensory issues but adults are welcome too!

I prefer watching at home too, but for that every now and then you want to see something in the theater, it's a good option! And if your theater doesn't have them yet, you should ask and they'll probably start.

I also like mommy matinees where the movie is quiet and it's okay if your baby cries.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:59 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


People who have ironic Eurovision parties. Also people who have unironic Eurovision parties.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 5:05 AM on May 11


1. People who insist that movies and films are only worth seeing in theaters. No. I absolutely hate theaters, some 90% of the time.

See, that would be a total deal-breaker. Seeing movies in the theater is one of my major joys in life and there's no way that I could give that up.
posted by octothorpe at 6:17 AM on May 11


Everyone I know whose been involved in those sorts of communities, who will actually being it up, has been totally back stabbed like this for really petty reasons by someone who was well liked and an "asset to the community" or whatever. I try my hardest not to let it make me super bitter and cynical, but the level of practicing what's being preached going on in those sorts of spaces is depressing. And it's compounded when you grew up from a very young age being involved in arts collectives and homeschool groups full of activists and super lefty feminist people and you're just watching the same tired songs play out from childhood into adulthood.

Shitty doings, yeah, but I see it as different from an evaluation of a person's art itself; and sometimes the two things can be very different. There's a writer who gets quoted now and again here on the blue, and there've been a couple of FPP's about him. Which gives me a bit of a mental wedgie because I went on a date with a guy and he was one of those never-called-me-again fuck-and-run types and so when his work is lauded it always makes me bitter. But then I remind myself that it's his work being lauded; if it were someone else that did that work, I'd be reacting differently, in plenty of cases.

I'm doubly puzzled if people are big fans of someone, but then discover that that someone professes a political or religious view that they dislike - the most extreme case seems to be if they learn that person was or is a Scientologist. The depth of the repulsion is especially strong there - people even freak out if they discover the artist in question had scientologist parents but aren't scientologists themselves, like Neil Gaiman -

"Yay, he's great! I loved AMERICAN GODS and SANDMAN and....what? His father was a Scientologist? He sucks!"

So maybe that's a slightly different yellow flag for me, is if people can't divorce their opinions about someone's art from their opinions about someone's person. Just a yellow flag, though. (And I waive that if your negative opinion of the person is coming from a personal experience with them, because that's hard to disregard.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:21 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


So maybe that's a slightly different yellow flag for me, is if people can't divorce their opinions about someone's art from their opinions about someone's person.

I can decide that I don't want to financially support someone if I don't like some specific politicial or religious view of theirs; I can decide that the world is so full of wonderful art that cutting off one maker is not going to harm my life, there's still more art than I can take in in my lifetime. (Like many other people, I make a separation between artists who have nasty political views who are still or were recently alive and those who aren't.)

I don't think having a different stance is a dealbreaker for me, but not being able to understand mine would be. (I do agree that disliking an artist for their parents' choices is odd.)

The watching films in a theatre vs at home thing -- I don't care that much; I like both for different -- is more a "I prefer this for these reasons" and not "I lose all respect for people who have a different opinion".

My dealbreaker is people who are too into music, because I'm mostly a "what I hear on the radio or in a movie or a tv show plus show tunes" kind of person, and generally that turns into them trying to educate me about music. I don't want to be educated about music in that way. This group isn't all or only musicians, either. And people who think "intended for teens" means "no depth" (obviously there are lots of crappy YA books, but there are lots of crappy books). Do you not like YA? Fine. Do you not like it because as a genre it is not as good as some other genre? Not fine.
posted by jeather at 7:01 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I can decide that I don't want to financially support someone if I don't like some specific politicial or religious view of theirs; I can decide that the world is so full of wonderful art that cutting off one maker is not going to harm my life, there's still more art than I can take in in my lifetime.

That is a good point. I think I'm thinking more of an empiric evaluation of quality, though; there's a difference between "I acknowledge this is a good artist - all things being equal - but I'm not going to purchase their work" and "I have changed my opinion on whether this person's work is good on an empiric level". But that is a really fine line, I grant.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:04 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I can decide that I don't want to financially support someone if I don't like some specific politicial or religious view of theirs; I can decide that the world is so full of wonderful art that cutting off one maker is not going to harm my life, there's still more art than I can take in in my lifetime.

I would argue that there's a difference between "I won't support that artist because he or she is a sexist/racist/cultist" and "That artist sucks because he or she is a sexist/racist/cultist." I won't give Mel Gibson any money if I can help it, but he's made some great movies.
posted by Etrigan at 7:05 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Or there's the "I didn't notice the X-ist themes in this person's work, but now I do" aspect of it. And also there's the "just knowing that they support X bothers me and changes the way I look at their work" part. Great could mean so many things, and I think it's not hard to argue that someone's racism or sexism informs their work and brings down its quality. You can not notice problems in something initially, even if they are there, and like it until the problems are pointed out to you.

(The Neil Gaiman thing is weird, granted.)
posted by jeather at 7:10 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Great could mean so many things, and I think it's not hard to argue that someone's racism or sexism informs their work and brings down its quality. You can not notice problems in something initially, even if they are there, and like it until the problems are pointed out to you.

That's still different from what I'm talking about, though, which is more akin to the Neil Gaiman situation. I've also seen people say this kind of thing about Beck and Elizabeth Moss, and I am hard-pressed to point to the specific ways in which I can see Scientology informs their work specifically. Etrigan has another good example with Mel Gibson - his religious views are flippin' nuts, but I can't see how they informed his performance in any of the Mad Max films, Bounty or Gallipoli.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:23 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


I don't know; I never liked Elizabeth Moss's acting particularly, so just knowing she was a Scientologist hurt -- I couldn't turn off the part of my brain that said "Scientologist! Scientologist!" when she had scenes in whatever I was watching.

So, Woody Allen might be a good example. I have liked some of his work, a lot. (And disliked other of his work.) But I think now if I watched anything, I wouldn't be able to turn off my knowledge of his personal flaws, and that it bleeds back into the things I've seen and have liked. Earlier I was thinking more about writers, where the relationship is more obvious; now thinking of actors, it seems to be more the kind of track your brain runs on. And it's hard to think a work is great if the entire time your brain is going "bad person this is a bad person bad person".

It's not that I think you're a bad person if you can watch, eg, Mel Gibson work and not have the fact that it is Mel Gibson bother you. Or that you're a better person if this fact does bother you. The issue I have is when you're judgemental about the other group.
posted by jeather at 7:38 AM on May 11


I don't know; I never liked Elizabeth Moss's acting particularly, so just knowing she was a Scientologist hurt -- I couldn't turn off the part of my brain that said "Scientologist! Scientologist!" when she had scenes in whatever I was watching.

Er, I was assuming it was a given that I'm not speaking of people who already thought someone was "meh" anyway. But, to make it absolutely clear - I'm talking about someone who goes from "yay they're fantastic" to "boo they suck" based on their personal lives rather than their artistic qualities. So "I never liked her particularly and finding this out about her makes me like her even less" isn't what I was talking about anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 AM on May 11


Also, Scientology wasn't a great example for me. Which is why I later gave the Woody Allen example; I am fairly sure that I wouldn't be able to rewatch stuff of his that I really like without my brain going "But . . . this is what he did", which I think counts as "I think his stuff is fantastic" to "I can't watch his stuff, he sucks".

But going from "I am indifferent to X, then I find out something and I dislike their work" doesn't feel that different from "I enjoy X, then I find out something and I dislike their work" to me.
posted by jeather at 8:34 AM on May 11


There's a whole group of lovely people out there who for various reasons books have just not resonated with, and I think the only reason it seems acceptable to say none of them are worth knowing is because books are the ultimate cultural status symbol.

I agree. A few years ago I might have sneered at a person who doesn't read at all -- never a deal breaker for me, but as someone who devotes a lot of time to text it can be puzzling -- but then one of my favorite people, Neil Young, wrote about how he had read like a single backpack's worth of books outside of school. Why? I don't recall the actual quotation but he's very much about sustaining his own view and technique. And what has his view led to, outside of an impressive musical career? A great deal of work on environmental issues (especially automobile-related) and on supporting the disabled, amongst other things.
posted by mr. digits at 8:36 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]




the most extreme case seems to be if they learn that person was or is a Scientologist. The depth of the repulsion is especially strong there -

On one level, I'm guilty of this. Finding out Beck was affiliated with Scientology definitely affected my feelings about him ... or did it just amplify some doubts I was already starting to have? (that regardless of how brilliant his craft was, there was ultimately a vacuum at the heart of his stuff, great and elaborate songs about ... ultimately nothing at all). There was also the fact that he couldn't handle Nardwuar.

But then there's someone like John Travolta, who I have no particular problem with (and no it's not nostalgia, because I hated Welcome Back Kotter). Maybe it's a difference between acting where your whole purpose is NOT to be yourself, but pretend to be someone else, and music where the best stuff really does seem to start from your "soul" (ie: it couldn't be more "you").

Tom Cruise is also someone I can stomach ... but generally only when he's playing a villain/asshole, or certainly somebody very troubled. Like in Collateral when you have to ask yourself, who could have played that kind of cold-bloodedness better?

Maybe that's what I need to hear from Beck, in his music -- that he is in fact a reptile deep down inside.
posted by philip-random at 10:00 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Chitownfats - Turn-ons: People who are into artisanal Italian sandwich meats. Turn-offs: People who are full of baloney.
posted by Chitownfats at 10:06 AM on May 11


But it's a show aimed at a general audience. Of course they have to pick games like WoW that the general audience is likely to have at least heard of. And this is true of any genre show. I can tell you as an attorney that lawyer shows only focus on the broadest and most shallow aspects of the law because that's what the audience knows. They wouldn't want to watch an hour of careful debate over the minutiae of civil procedure, but that's the kind of thing actual attorneys talk about. So if they're going to show geeks, they're going to have to stick to surface geekdom to hold the audience.

I'm trying to work on a Nerd Nite presentation touching on this subject, but there are a few things here, going well beyond "nerds take things too seriously," and more clearly pointing at "Chuck Lorre is a hack."

Specificity is key in humor. Selzer-Frieberg "comedies" reach a huge audience because they don't touch on any cultural references more obscure than Michael Jackson looking weird or the movie 300 existing, but they also don't really include anything that qualifies as a joke, either. Partially that's because Selzer and Frieberg are hacks on a level that would make Lorre blush, and partially it's because their net is cast so wide and shallow as to be useless.

The greater one's knowledge in a specific area, the more specific (and accurate) humor needs to be, but the funnier it'll be as well. Inside jokes are the pinnacle of this, of course, and there's a discussion to be had about whether culturally-specific humor (in this case, nerd humor) requires an out-group in order to be effective. That's likely, and makes some of the belly-aching about BBT and "nerdface" and what have you kind of bullshit, to be honest.*

So, to quickly review, some of the hate towards BBT is from nerds basically saying that if you're writing a show about nerds, they want it to be filled with jokes that they'll get and the unwashed masses won't, instead of the reverse that BBT displays. Nerds have (had) that show of course. It was called Community and it is much, much better than BBT and also infuriating to people who aren't on its wavelength. So we can stop whining. People like different things.

Except to say... autism jokes aside (and I think Abed Nadir proves that this kind of character can be done phenomenally well, and hilariously, by not othering them but making them almost the POV character. That's not what I'm tlaking about right now, though) the inaccuracy, that lack of specificity, is indeed infuriating, and not just because I'm a nerd. I'm also a lawyer. I know when cop shows get stuff wrong, and I'm also sort of whatever about it because I recognize that most of what lawyers do is super-tedious and needs to be excised for the point of the story. That's ereally not what's going on here.

From a purely academic stance, one of the most notable things about sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic/etc. jokes is that they are almost universally sophomoric as all hell. Not to bandy about the word "privilege" but let's talk about privilege for a second. Discriminatory humor (and I'm not putting BBT into this category - it's not hateful, I don't think.) doesn't just promote negative stereotypes. It says X about a group, from a superior position to that group, without actually knowing anything about that group, and finally broadcasts that one is in a position to not care about their own ignorance.

So taking the Settlers of Catan example, in Parks & Recreation, the fact that Ben Wyatt is obsessed with Settlers and tries (and fails) to casually mention that he's "nationally ranked," is hilarious because it's so perfect. He's a nerd, to be sure, but he's also a workaholic policy-wonk. His geekery is passionate, but his interests are mostly at that tip-of-the-iceberg level: batman, Game of Thrones, etc. In terms of nerds, he's a daywalker, capable of fitting in with his non-nerd coworkers. It all works well.

In 30 Rock, when Jack and the writers play the absurdly complicated parody of Settlers, it's awesome because it can work broadly (you don't have to know Settlers to find that sequence funny or understand its place in the episode's plot) but it's much, much funnier to realize that they are poking accurate fun at a game that is basically 101 for board game fans but obscure to the rest of the world.

Now, in BBT, if they get obsessed with a game, having that game be Settlers doesn't work quite the same way. The general audience the show is aimed at isn't going to get the reference, and the people who do get the reference are going to have it ring false for them - these characters would have been over Catan before we ever met them, would be more likely to be playing Smallworld or Pureto Rico or Netrunner or something else that allows for an insane detail of strategy and refining to perfection.

So when the joke rings false, and we recognize that it's supposed to be a joke, and that the humor is from a "laughing at" superior position, and that Lorre doesn't care, well... it's not discriminatory, but it still feels like getting laughed at for something that's not even true.

So when you take all of that, and combine it with ugly-ass aesthetics and that the jokes aren't funny anyway, that's where the hate comes from.


*I've unironically used the term "nerdface" to describe this show before, probably on this site. That was very stupid of me. That comparison is awful, unhelpful, and says more about me the speaker than whatever the hell I was talking about before making people consider that comparison. Mea culpa.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:09 AM on May 11 [14 favorites]


In 30 Rock, when Jack and the writers play the absurdly complicated parody of Settlers, it's awesome because it can work broadly (you don't have to know Settlers to find that sequence funny or understand its place in the episode's plot) but it's much, much funnier to realize that they are poking accurate fun at a game that is basically 101 for board game fans but obscure to the rest of the world.

Ok, I just watched this. Season Six, Episode 11, "St. Patrick's Day", available on netflix.

In the climax, Jack uses his remaining gold to purchase a fire spell, which he uses to turn his own desert into glass, so that the other players in the game will have to pay him for the glass to finish their own "elfin oracle mirrors", "crystal palace", and "colorful beads".

That's pretty representative of what goes on in the game on the show, and I don't know what any of that has to do with Settlers of Catan. Earlier, a character trades commodities, in the context of many other game tropes that are off the mark, and the fake name of the game is somewhat reminiscent of Settlers, I guess, but that's pretty much it.

It just looks like a broad nerd board gaming parody, written by people who don't really know what they're talking about (or more likely, sanitized by the network suits to reach a broader audience). I have never seen BBT, so I'm not sure how they would treat a subject like this, but I can't imagine there would be a huge difference.

The game reminded me of the Fantasy Flight Civilization video game branded board game more than anything, if you take away the fantasy elements-especially how Jack can disappear for a long time while waiting for other players to do stuff without disrupting game play. :)
posted by Kwine at 10:50 AM on May 11


That's fair. I took it as name-dropping Settlers (which, again, is board game geek 101) and then launching from there to parody all of the more insanely complex systems in geeky board games, but with hero Jack starting dejected and with nothing and innovating a way to make his desert into the most valuable resource, especially concerning Lutz's precious baubles.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:56 AM on May 11


Oh, and to describe what I meant about Ben Wyatt, one can easily imagine a P&R episode where Ben is shamed by higher-level geeks than he is, and nobody but Leslie can get why that would be an ego hit to him.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:58 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


On one level, I'm guilty of this. Finding out Beck was affiliated with Scientology definitely affected my feelings about him ...

That's interesting, because I'm the exact opposite. Beck's parents are Scientologists. He was born into the religion. I know plenty of people who were born into a religion that makes no sense to them (myself included) but who keep practicing it anyway, for whatever sense of ritual or comfort or whatever they get out of it (myself not included).

I have a much easier time accepting Beck's Scientology than someone like Cruise's or Travolta's, who basically chose a religion that says "Hey, give us a bunch of money and take our weird tests and you can conquer the world."
posted by nath at 11:37 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]


"I'd rather spend time with people I like than with people I can count on to agree with me." - Sokka shot first
This quote is so awesome, it is at the level of Mark Twain quote awesome.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 11:43 AM on May 11 [8 favorites]


Chemtrails, Birthers, 9/11 Was An Inside Job Truthers, Anti-Vacciners, Climate Deniers, Birthers, Creationists, essentially anyone who gets all their information about how the world works from crackpot Youtube videos and crackpot talk radio. It's one thing to believe that the "mainstream media" has flaws. It's totally another thing to think the solution to that problem is to uncritically believe the fantasies of paranoid nutcases.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:10 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


Tangent - recommending the "Journey To The End Of Taste" book about Celine Dion, as it's part of the 33-1/3 book series which is nearly always excellent.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


So maybe that's a slightly different yellow flag for me, is if people can't divorce their opinions about someone's art from their opinions about someone's person.

The Education of Little Tree
posted by pracowity at 1:22 PM on May 11


if people can't divorce their opinions about someone's art from their opinions about someone's person.

or as I've come to think of it ...

Say you've got a neighbor with a lovely garden, and you find out he's a child molester. Does this mean you must now hate his garden, or at least ignore it, go out of your way not to see it? Often someone's art is the very best part of them. I think we do the universe a disservice if we too eagerly negate this.

I'm conscious as I say this that it probably contradicts my feelings about Beck, but there you go, maybe I should give his new album at least a try
posted by philip-random at 1:57 PM on May 11


Say you've got a neighbor with a lovely garden, and you find out he's a child molester. Does this mean you must now hate his garden, or at least ignore it, go out of your way not to see it? Often someone's art is the very best part of them. I think we do the universe a disservice if we too eagerly negate this.

I tried to do this in the case of Orson Scott Card. Nope, still can't watch Ender's Game.
posted by Ber at 2:09 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


I tried to do this in the case of Orson Scott Card. Nope, still can't watch Ender's Game.

Well, I think this is a case where Card's psychology of bigotry clearly affects the work on the page (or screen; I haven't and won't see it either); indeed, it often seems as though what's going on in Card's head is obvious to everyone but him.
posted by nath at 2:25 PM on May 11


Man, I want to know where Todd VanDerWerff is finding all of these hardcore fans of The Following, because it seems like I can't swing a cat without hitting someone who is offended by the very idea that someone could actually enjoy The Following, when Hannibal is so clearly superior. Yes, I KNOW that Hannibal is really creepy and filled with great actors. Yes, I KNOW that the writing on Hannibal is better. No, I don't watch The Following because I'm too thick to recognize good horror when I see it. Just leave me in peace to watch Bacon and Purefoy do their thing for an hour, and I promise I won't tell you all about it afterwards. Christ on toast points.
posted by bakerina at 2:26 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


I'm cool with most any genre of music, except for latest thing the kids are listening to these days.

In that case, I'm just waiting for it to simmer down a bit so that the crud can be skimmed off.
posted by ovvl at 2:29 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


I think the only one for me is anti-vaxxers. Because they make me so angry.
posted by Justinian at 3:38 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


More than a little surprised that Ayn Rand wasn't on everyone's list.
posted by zippy at 4:20 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about the "people who decide they dislike someone's art when they come to dislike the person" thing all day, and while my initial reaction was to agree that this is annoying, this has actually happened to me several times. Using Tom Cruise as an example, I really liked "A Few Good Men" at the time, but now I find anything with Tom Cruise basically impossible to watch because I'm so aware of his awful Tom Cruise-ness all the time. It becomes very hard to appreciate his prior good work because thoughts keep intruding about how horrible he is and -- yeah -- the art loses its power because of something I now know about the artist. The viewer's reaction to art is an inseparable part of art. This is probably more pronounced with film, because there's an entire industry around actors' personal lives, but I don't think it's unique to film. I've definitely been VERY SORRY I've read authors' personal statements because I really enjoyed their book but then I read the personal statement and the author sounds like a total freaking douchebag and it infects my enjoyment. I read a fantasy trilogy and after the first one, thought to myself, "Wow, I've never even heard of this author, I really like her book!" and went to look her up on the web, read her description of herself, and it was so high-school writing-snob special-snowflake pretentious and so utterly lacking in self-understanding for someone over the age of 15 that I just didn't like the second and third books as much. I kept thinking, "How could someone who so incredibly pretentious and self-blind write something with psychological insight?" every time I came across a good line, and every time a cat (for example) showed up in the narrative I'd immediately think of her RIDICULOUSLY PRETENTIOUS paragraph about her cats.

I'm not going to say who she is because I'm sure she's a very nice person and writing personal statements is hard, but finding out more about her made it impossible to enjoy her writing.

I thought, when I first saw it, that Gallipoli was a beautiful movie, a work of art, but since Mel Gibson became the spokesman for Haterade, I haven't been able to enjoy it, because all I can see is hateful Mel Gibson instead of the character he's supposed to be playing. Nothing's changed about the movie, but I simply can't enjoy it. I've noticed these strenuous dislikes interfering with art enjoyment for me mostly fade with time as they become more historical context and less something in my mind at the moment, so maybe (and I don't say this in a ghoulish way) I'll be able to appreciate Gallipoli again after Gibson dies and his hatefulness is in the past.

I think artists who hold their personal life back a little bit are wise in letting the art speak for itself ... and I know a lot of visual artists who hate artist's statements for pretty much exactly that reason, it puts too much of the artist on display for judgment instead of the art.

(Also I'm literally not friends with anti-vaxxers because I'd prefer not to expose my young children to vaccine-preventable diseases, thank you very much, and because something so aggressively anti-social deserves social censure.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:52 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Then I got a little older and made some really great friends with whom I don't have a lot in common, media-taste-wise, and discovered I'd rather spend time with people I like than with people I can count on to agree with me.

Mostly I can agree with you. But it depends on the friend, the nature of the friendship, and the particular media thing in contention.

Many friends bond over favorite media, talking about and viewing episodes together and trading quips, and with me it's a lot easier engaging in said bond with people when the property in question is Mystery Science than when it's Family Guy.
posted by JHarris at 6:21 PM on May 11


(And when the thing in question is Fox News and the friend is very vocal about his politics, it can turn every conversation into a bitter argument. Life's too short for that.)
posted by JHarris at 6:23 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Oh, and to describe what I meant about Ben Wyatt, one can easily imagine a P&R episode where Ben is shamed by higher-level geeks than he is, and nobody but Leslie can get why that would be an ego hit to him.

Actually, one thing that's great about him is that Wyatt is a geek not just because he likes Batman, but because he's a great accountant, a great planner and he can create a boardgame himself; his geek credit doesn't derive from the things he consumes but from what he can do.
posted by ersatz at 8:03 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


Rather, it's the astonishingly narrow cultural awareness betrayed by the statement. Really? You like everything other than rap and country? So you won't mind if I play Throbbing Gristle, Crass, gamelan music, opera, Negativland, Anal Cunt, Philip Glass, showtunes, drill 'n' bass, AM-radio gospel, chiptunes, Latin pop, and sea shanties?

So uh, what are you doing Friday?
posted by mannequito at 10:23 PM on May 11 [11 favorites]


You forgot chiptunes!
posted by JHarris at 10:34 PM on May 11


Wait, no you didn't. Well then, carry on. (straightens papers, checks watch)
posted by JHarris at 10:34 PM on May 11


It seems like the important part isn't whether you like what your friends like, it's if they can shut up about it if you don't. For example, I have no time for religion at all, but I don't care if other people love it (this applies equally to liking stuff like BBT or Family Guy, too), but I have a bit of a don't ask don't tell thing going with my relatives who just love religion. I won't bother you about religion, if you stop telling me how great you are because God loves you the best. But so many people just want to tell you all the time, about whatever it is they are into, no matter how uninterested or openly hostile you are.

I think stuff like politics, or anti vaxxers is different. You can't help what you like, but you can certainly help what sort of abhorrent, hateful ideas you support.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 11:53 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]


People who do not read books is a definite turn off for me. The actor Tadanobu Asano responded to a query about what books he was reading with "I don't read books, I'm a musician" - which instantly torpedoed my interest in him.

Also, if you want to get rid of me, be sure to say something to the effect of "I don't watch movies with subtitles because if I wanted to read I would pick up a [reading material]."

Any iteration of "I don't like X because I tried [wackiest, or most most extreme version of X] and it was terrible" is disappointing and frustrating too. I know of no responsible sushi-connoisseur or fan fiction reader who'd go to a total newbie and say "here, take this natto roll/twincest! It's great!" I don't feel like shocking/trolling newbs is going to endear them.
posted by koucha at 7:31 AM on May 12


Really? You like everything other than rap and country? So you won't mind if I play Throbbing Gristle, Crass, gamelan music, opera, Negativland, Anal Cunt, Philip Glass, showtunes, drill 'n' bass, AM-radio gospel, chiptunes, Latin pop, and sea shanties? Or all of the above simultaneously?

Well, I can't really stand Metallica or the RHCP either. But I would totally listen to that mixtape.
posted by malocchio at 8:54 AM on May 12


> Throbbing Gristle

I'm working on a Simon, Theodore and Alvin cover of "Hamburger Lady" for my Utoob channel. I'll mention it over on Projects when it's up.

Date, anyone?
posted by jfuller at 9:17 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


"A four year old could paint that."

Anything else is totally fine. Country music. Adam Sandler movies. Boy bands. The Bachelor. But if you don't get art, we can't be friends.
posted by Sara C. at 12:12 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


^^ I can totally get behind that.
posted by jwhite1979 at 5:22 PM on May 17


evil otto: "I've known people who "just aren't that into music", i.e. it's just something that's on when they're in the car or on the dancefloor. I don't understand this at all. "

I am one of these people. Ask Me Anything.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:52 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I tried to date a girl once who wasn't into music. It didn't work at all. I'm still kind of baffled by her — like, to just always prefer silence? But she also didn't like county fairs, eating most foods, drinking, drugs or, well, fun. Through a coincidence, she was the roommate of my now-fiancee, though I didn't meet Amy until well after I went on a couple dates with Autumn. But Amy confirms that Autumn just didn't like fun in general.
posted by klangklangston at 10:34 AM on June 3


I am also mostly a non-music person. There are some exceptions, but even with They Might Be Giants and the like, I usually prefer silence or white noise to music if I'm doing anything anything else. It's just too distracting.
posted by JHarris at 1:47 PM on June 3


> I usually prefer silence or white noise to music if I'm doing anything anything else. It's just too distracting.

I am so totally there. I am so much of a music person I can't have anything playing while I'm trying to focus on something else. Even if it's awful music, even if it's elevator music, and most especially if it's music I like, I will by Ghod have to listen to it and the something else will not get much attention. I walk a lot and I can't carry any sort of player and wear earphones. I would walk in front of a bus.
posted by jfuller at 2:18 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


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