Opinions Are Not Facts

“Just ’cause you don’t understand what’s goin’ on, don’t mean it don’t make no sense. And just ’cause you like it, don’t mean it ain’t no good!”

That’s a quote from one of my all-time favorite songs, “You Can’t Bring Me Down” by Suicidal Tendencies from their 1990 masterpiece “Lights…Camera…Revolution!” It’s my go-to anthem of choice when I’m feeling particularly downtrodden or persecuted.

That line is everything, though. If people could grasp the fundamental concept of those words, the world would change for the better.

When people speak passionately about their opinions on politics, social issues, entertainment, etc, listen carefully; how often do people preface obvious opinions with “I think” or “In my opinion?”

Not very often. More often than not people aggressively tout their opinions as fact and greet any difference of opinion with varying degrees of hostility. In “real life” as well as online, but online it’s stripped to its bare, primitive essence; Tell someone in person, face-to-face, that your favorite Star Wars character is Jar Jar Binks(It isn’t), and you’re likely to get a bewildered look and maybe a “Really?”

Tell that same person the same information online and you might get a “ARE U FUCKEN SEREOUS U SHOULD KILL URSELF LOL FUCKEN MORRON.”

People seemingly hate each other over allegiance to sports teams. It’s not just a friendly rivalry anymore. If you’re a fan of say, Golden State, someone out there probably thinks you’re a walking pile of human-shaped excrement who should be disposed of accordingly. Your life has zero value because you support the “wrong” team, in that person’s estimation.

I hate sports, but that’s beside the point. It has no relevance to anyone’s conversation about sports. When I’m sitting at a dinner table with people who are discussing sports, I nod politely and stay out of it and I don’t feel any pressing need to let everyone at the table know that I couldn’t care less about what they’re talking about. Some people do feel that need though. Sports are stupid and I need to let everyone know that I think sports are stupid and they’re stupid for being into them, what a waste of time, look how edgy I am.

Well, chances are that a lot of people might think your much more “worthwhile” non-sports interests are, in fact, stupid.

Taste. Is. Subjective. Why don’t people get that?

Every time one of the larger concert venues around here posts a show announcement on Facebook, there’s always a multitude of people who feel compelled to chime in and voice their dislike of whatever artist or band is being promoted. And I get it. When I was in my late teens and the Internet was becoming a thing, I was like that. But I’m 41 now, and as a 41 year-old man, I don’t really feel like such engagements are a worthwhile expenditure of my time. I’d much rather articulate my thoughts this way.

I don’t bash other people’s musical tastes very often anymore(Unless I’m in a mood)because I have grown to understand the idea that we are all unique individuals with unique sets of preferences based on a variety of factors.  There are songs that came out when I was a child that I hated then and hate now.  There are some that I hated then and love now. I wasn’t ever right or wrong about anything…I Simply experienced gradual changes in taste.

I understand that they see something in whatever it is that I can’t stand; it resonates with them somehow, and it doesn’t with me. Sometimes I see how they’re relating to it, but I still don’t like it. And that’s ok. I don’t have to like it. It’s not for me.

“Mumble rap” is a perfect example of this. IN MY OPINION, that shit is fucking disgraceful garbage that’s tarnished the legacy of hip hop. It’s just fucking stupid, from the perspective of someone who grew up listening to Public Enemy, NWA, Ice-T, etc.

But plenty of kids get it, I hear it coming out of car stereos at stoplights all the time.

And you know what? Who cares? Good for them. I liked Vanilla Ice when I was 13, and once in awhile I’ll pop my vintage “to the Extreme” cd into my car’s CD player and blast it with the windows down, staring at people through my Ray-Bans like “Yeah I’m listening to vanilla ice, so what?” Just to amuse myself by being a fucking weirdo, basically.

Obviously something these autotune mumble rappers are doing has resonated with kids and that’s fine, that’s healthy. Parents and old people didn’t understand a lot of music that came out when I was a kid. Of course neither did I and I would never have liked mumble rap, I can guarantee it, because I thought Master P and the entire No Limit roster was trash for their shitty beats and lack of lyrical skill before I even turned 20. So it’s not an age thing for me. I simply prefer clever wordplay in my rap. And there’s plenty of current artists out there to provide that. I don’t need to waste my time bemoaning the existence of mumble rap.

To someone else, well, maybe all they wanna do is groove to the music, and it catches them the right way and they feel it. Some people like to dance. You’ll never catch me making the attempt, but that’s what some people are into. It’s not “bad” just because I don’t like it.

People hear me listening to death metal, which I’ve been a fan of for over 20 years now, and they’ll go “How can you stand that? I can’t even understand the words, it’s just noise!”

They don’t get it because it isn’t made for them and they’ll never understand it. Because it doesn’t resonate with them, and that’s just fine. It doesn’t have to. They can listen to what resonates with them, personally. Their opinions are irrelevant.

Even within that genre, I’m not really too keen on clean-sounding, overtly technical bands, for the most part, the mind where all the jazzy guitar noodling is the point of the thing. I like raw, heavy, primitive death metal that’s verse-chorus-verse catchy. But some people don’t like that; they like the noodling. They’re into that aspect of it. Aggression, tone, hook, these are things that resonate with me as far as death metal goes. But my tastes aren’t fact. They’re simply how I personally feel.

When it comes to rock, I’m all over the place. I like Rush as well as the Ramones, Mötley Crüe as well as Nirvana, etc etc etc. A good song is a good song and I appreciate different things on different levels for different reasons, whether it’s Depeche Mode or Dwight Yoakam or The Exploited. I like all kinds of stuff that usually doesn’t go well together in most people’s minds. What one “scene” as a whole thinks of another “scene” is irrelevant to me. I load up my plate at the musical buffet with pasta, tacos, steak, egg rolls, mashed potatoes, whatever the fuck is up there that looks good.

Anyway, I’ve wandered off course here, a little bit. Here’s what I’m trying to say: Let people like what they like, believe what they want, and enjoy anything they want to enjoy as long as it doesn’t involve harming others.

I don’t need to know that you think Iron Maiden is overrated when I post pics from the Iron Maiden concert on Facebook. This information is useless to me. Why did you feel the need to share it? Go comment on something you like and quit raining on parades.

When Lemmy died, I absolutely had zero need to know that you always disliked Motörhead. So what? Don’t waste your breath talking about them, then. Let people have their shit.

When prince died, people didn’t wait two hours to start bitching about how tired they were of hearing about Prince. I on the other hand listened to Prince for two days straight. Now, when Chester Bennington of Linkin Park killed himself, I didn’t seize the opportunity to let all of my friends who are fans know that I always thought they sucked. What would be the point of that? That music means something to them. It’s “classic rock” at this point. I shut the fuck up and let them have their shit.

Those songs meant something to those people. It may have helped them cope with some tough times in their lives. Just because I didn’t like it, I’m not going to devalue that for them by shitting on that odd grieving process that we as fans go through when someone we’ve never met but somehow feel close to dies. what is the point? What am I doing other than pissing them off or annoying them?

This contentious spirit permeates every aspect of our lives; I’m simply using music as an example. This post isn’t about music. It’s about people hating each other over the stupidest of things they can think of to hate someone over. Find better reasons to hate.

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