Respecting Different Tastes

In my review of Good Omens yesterday, I was quite vocal with all the ways I disliked the show. Ironically, reviews of things I really disliked are often the most fun for me to write, since I can really get into all the ways the thing disappointed me, and there’s no one there to say I’m wrong. (Just look at my review of Mamma Mia!, for reference.)

But after I posted the review, I was surprised to see so many people pop up in Facebook to disagree with me quite strongly. Not that any of them were rude about it, but it was clear the show has a number of strong fans. People who liked it about as much as I disliked it.

I think that’s wonderful, and I wanted to be sure to note that I never feel bad when people disagree with my reviews. It makes complete sense to me that in matters of taste, people will end up all over the map. That’s actually something I’ve never quite understood about online communities. Someone will express an opinion, and people will pile on to either support the opinion or refute it.

Opinions don’t need to be supported. Critiques do, but opinions don’t. If I say “I don’t like vanilla ice cream because it tastes bland,” then no one can come up to me and tell me it doesn’t taste bland. Not to me, at least. They can say they don’t find it bland, and that’s cool, because it means there’s more chocolate ice cream out there for me to eat. Someone liking a thing I dislike isn’t a problem, just like me liking something other people dislike isn’t a problem.

Now, if someone says, “I didn’t like that movie because it was too simplistic,” it’s certainly fair game to ask why they found it simplistic, especially if you disagree. But if they have reasons. then they have reasons. You can agree to disagree on what constitutes “simplistic,” but c’est la vie. What I really try to avoid is ever venturing into “anyone who likes _______” is a moron territory.

For example, I love board games. Really in-depth games that will take hours and hours to play. Games that make me think really hard to try and come up with a strategy to win. The other week, I was at a board game cafe with a friend, and we were playing a series of cool games. At tables around us, however, people were playing Pictionary, Rummikub, and Guess Who. Much simpler games.

Part of me wanted to be disappointed. There were so many so much better games for them to play. Why were they wasting time playing games that are so simple? But then I checked myself right away. They were spending time playing board games just like I was spending time playing board games. Our definition for a “good game” might differ, but why argue about that? Why not let each other love the games we love, and celebrate a shared love for gaming?

Anyway. This is just to say that if you ever read a review of mine and feel differently about the thing being reviewed, please feel free to speak up. Better yet, let me know why you felt differently. I don’t view it as an argument. One of us isn’t right or wrong. It’s a chance to try and understand another person’s viewpoint, and why they like what they like. As an author, the more I can get inside another person’s head, the better.

Thanks for reading!


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