Everyone Is Wrong!


I only met my old roommate Greg's dad three times when we were in college, but he has come to mind constantly in the years since Greg and I lived together. I thought of him again this weekend, during the split second when I almost chucked a graphic novel across the room in disgust. Occasionally, as you and your friends start to hit your mid-twenties, you'll hear some of them start to say, "Ugh, God, I just don't want to end up turning into my parents." I've never worried much about turning into my father, but I worry more than a little about turning into Greg's father, at least in one specific way.

It was the Dr. Pepper that really stuck with me. Greg used to hoard Dr. Pepper in our dorm like he was smuggling it to the lucrative East German black market, as if he were looking for the one can that had a golden ticket to meet the Doctor at his mysterious Pepper family compound. When I would ask Greg why, for example, our TV stand had been replaced with nine stacked crates of soda, he'd tell me that he could never get his hands on the stuff when he was back home because his dad wouldn't buy it.

"He thinks it tastes terrible, so he just refuses to have it in the house," Greg would say.

"But… you're not asking him to drink it," I'd say, brow furrowed. "You're not saying, 'From now on, this goes on the Cheerios.' You're just asking him to pick some up for you. It's not going to seep through the cans and get onto his tastebuds somehow."

"I know," Greg would say. "It's just a thing with him. He's pathologically unable to make the distinction between 'I don't like this personally' and 'this is objectively bad.' In his mind, the only logical reason he would dislike something is that it must be objectively bad. He cannot fathom anyone else wanting to drink something that bad, so he won't buy it."

Then he would sigh and say, "Engineers," and I would nod sympathetically like I had some idea what he was talking about. ("Trains? Did we just transition to talking about trains? Quick, act like you know what's going on and then change the subject to Voltron.")

It was the same thing with The Simpsons. Greg never caught the nightly Simpsons rerun when he was back home because his dad would come in, change the channel to The News Hour and say, "Cartoons are stupid." Not "I don't like watching cartoons personally," or "after seeing it a couple of times, I think this cartoon is stupid." All animation everywhere is stupid. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to it, especially when someone on PBS might be talking about the economy in post-Noriega Panama? That's something everyone can enjoy!

Clearly, when you encounter examples like these, this is a personality type that quickly goes onto your "Do Not Be" pile, if only for the sake of the people around you. I don't mind telling you, though, I see in this dimly remembered Baby Boomer a dark reflection of myself. One of the reasons Greg Sr.'s inability to buy a six pack bothered me so much back then was that everyone knows Dr. Pepper is provably delicious. It should come out of drinking fountains at schools.

But that's just my opinion, and I have to remind myself of that as often as I can. I am not the world, I do not rule it, and lots of smart people with taste can love writing that I believe with all my heart would have gotten a C- in a high school Composition class.

I know all of this in my head, but my heart's got some other stuff going on, and it's louder.

A friend of mine loaned me a trade paperback over the weekend. A great many of you have read this book. I was excited to finally have it in the Stack, because it is the first chapter in a series that is widely regarded as a classic by people I respect. Those people are incorrect, or tricked me into reading this awful balderdash in a willful attempt to hurt me.

Hang on. Let me start this part over.

I did not care for the book personally. More importantly to me, though, I was stunned by how dramatically out of sync my feelings were with those of so many other people I love. For years, I have listened to people wax rhapsodic about what a resonant emotional experience it was to read this touchstone for the ages, and now that I had it in my hands, it was as if Kevin Smith wrote a Bugs Bunny cartoon performed by the cast of Friends. It was breathtaking in its awfulness. I so wanted it to be the book everyone had told me it was, I started getting angry at it.

"Hey," I said to a handful of paper in the middle of the night. "Hey! Knock it off. Smart people vouched for you. Be better. Be better right now."

"Nope!" said the paper. "I am brain poison, and we're just getting started. There were no rails under this train when you boarded. Next stop: the ravine!"

I counted how many pages were in the book and gave myself until the halfway mark. I didn't end up going any further. Maybe the subsequent volumes are masterpieces. I'll take your word for it.

I'm not this way about everything I don't care for, at least not yet. Not everyone has to be a Pepper. Everyone I know loved ER when it was on TV, from the pre-meds in the dorm to my mom, but I never saw an episode that made me want to see the next one. (One time, I swear my girlfriend was watching an episode where the hospital was attacked by a tank. I didn't even stick around for that. I can't explain it.) Still, that didn't mean I hated it or thought it was bad by any means. I've never made it through an entire episode of the aforementioned Friends, but everyone seemed to be having a good time, and it can't all be Seinfeld. I got what people saw in these shows; I just didn't see it myself. No big deal. Even Family Guy, a show which saps the life force from my body the longer I am exposed to it, doesn't evoke anything more from me than a "to each his own." If anything, that should be one of the ones that veers into Deadpool territory, one of the ones that makes me correct people for enjoying it– "No, you literally don't understand what humor actually is"– and start wheeling in a blackboard.

I've tried to figure out what the formula is for me, the difference between "to each his own" and "all of you are crazy." I know that when I'm shouting at the screen or page, the thing I'm shouting most often is some variation of "No one would ever say/do that!" or "When did we leave Earth?" I can accept a world where people can fly or control the weather with their genes, but not a world where those people have unrealistic dialogue at the diner afterwards. Do whatever you want to the laws of physics, but the laws of human behavior are immutable.

Another one I tend to say to the unseen author in disgust is, "Look, if you didn't care, why should I?" I gave up on the TV show Alias in a huff when I decided they weren't planning the story arc more than fifteen minutes in advance. I was pretty mad at Alias when we broke up.

Sometimes, it's like the story's entire universe shrugs in apathy. Remember that Wolverine movie? Remember when blades shot out of Ryan Reynolds' arms, and the blades were twice as long as the arms they came out of? I'd given up on the movie about eight times by then, but that moment stands out: "You guys don't even give a damn about this, and you're the ones doing it." I'm still going back to that scene in Avatar, when the soldier's giant robot suit pulls a giant robot-sized Bowie knife out of its giant robot pocket for giant robot hand-to-hand. I didn't give up that time, but it took a couple minutes to get me back.

We all have our triggers. I've been reading the comments around here for a couple of years now, so I know I'm not the only person who has this issue, this blurring between "I don't like it" and "it is bad." What is the cure? Probably the same cure that most other blossoming personality problems have, simple mindfulness. Just a quick look in the mirror. "I have posted this scathing dismissal in every Avengers thread for the last three weeks; how likely is it that this is the time when I finally prove to everyone that The Avengers is bad? What if 150,000 people can't be wrong, and I should just read something else?" We're not designing bridges; we're reading for fun. In the end– as much as it galls me– sometimes, if they like it, it's good.

 


Jim Mroczkowski has made a disparaging remark about Deadpool in every column for weeks and weeks without anyone calling him out on it. Twitter is another place where that happens, with just as little cause.


Comments

  1. no one’s called you out on the Deadpool remarks because he really does suck

  2. I can accept a world where people can fly or control the weather with their genes, but not a world where those people have unrealistic dialogue at the diner afterwards. Do whatever you want to the laws of physics, but the laws of human behavior are immutable.

    While I agree with all of this article, word for word, even the Dr. Pepper part, that particular set of sentences is a problem I have with many books.

    Also, no one is calling you out on Deadpool because even most of us who enjoy him as a character, acknowledge that 90% of things written with him in it are terrible.  Those who don’t acknowledge that are just terrified of disagreeing with you, because they know they’ll end up looking stupid.  Not because you’re super smart, but because they’re the kind of people who enjoy Deadpool comics.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  3. excellent work sir, as always

     

    ps. i am drinking a dr. pepper right now. love when that kinda coincedence happens

  4. I’ve learned that you really can’t hate things that other people want or love without setting yourself up for problems.  For instance: I worked at a library where an employee refused to purchase the book NATURAL CURES "THEY" DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT. Sure, it was written by a smarmy guy and probably pasted together to make a buck, but people demanded to read the thing for free. Eventually, after numerous requests, the library broke down and purchased the book. Did I trust that book or its author? No. But others did and I’m find with that.

    So hey, to each his or her own. Take any and all recommendations with a grain of salt and decide on stuff for yourself. And as you put so well, Jim, we’re supposed to be having fun with this hobby! If you’re not enjoying yourself, read something else! There’s plenty to choose from.

  5. Well, I guess Your Mileage can indeed vary.

    I feel this way about Boba Fett. Say what you will of Jar Jar and Darth Vader, but you must agree that Boba Fett is the worst character in all of Fiction, beating out even Deadpool and John Wayne the Actor.

    But still, Boba Fett had 20 some lines in a movie, and somehow is the only character introduced in the Chritsmas special that survived it, so maybe it’s not my cup of tea.

    Then again, people dress up like him, and have since the early 80s over a character who was just as developed as Uganda. 

    And of course, then again, I have to answer to those who ask "If you hate this character, why do you know so much about him, and spent so much time putting to words of great detail how much you hate him?" To which I answer "Because…. Uh…. yeah." 

  6. Mr. Terrible!?! Is that a real thing? That is a real knee-slapper. So, I know it’s not the point of your article, quite the opposite in fact, but I can’t help but be curious what book it is you hated in the middle of the night.

  7. I felt the same way.

    By the by, Mr Terrible is from Villains united, which was good, unlike it’s sequel Secret Six, which a god awful abomination…. there I go again.

  8. Nice article

    Totally catch myself doing that.

  9. So… the identity of the mystery book?

  10. Patio: no good can come of it! The best case scenario if I begin crabbing about that book by name is that it taints someone else’s enjoyment or memory of it. Because here’s the thing: I am super persuasive. Once I start a review, I’m like the Purple Man. My alias is The Ruiner.

    JeffR: would your coworker rather all those patrons go pay that author money to read the book? Think about your jobs! Next time you get that kind of grief over a purchase, go out into the stacks and come back with the copy of Mein Kampf that you almost certainly have. That’ll shut ’em up.

  11. @Jimski: That is actually the exact logic that allowed the employee to eventually go through with the book order. That, and her boss told her to do it. I think that helped make it happen.

  12. Excellent article Jim.  I wonder if this mentality doesn’t get beat into us because of our geeky pursuits.  The first memory I have of encountering such a mentality was not from a fellow comic-book reader, but from someone telling me all comics were stupid (or video games, or computers, blah blah blah).  I know it’s childish, but the immediate reaction (especially when we were children) is to say, "Nuh-uh, everything I like is great and everything you do is stupid."

    On the other side of the coin, I have also met a few "I like it some it must be great and for everyone" evangelists.  I had one friend contact me weekly about a show I had long since dropped to ask me if the last episode was "a great one, or the greatest one yet" (not ironically, either).  Eventually I just caught up on recaps and probably lied a bit.

  13. I’ve given up trying to say you Mr. Jimski on the aspect of Deadpool. Cause like what @akamuu said we know that he’s been over exposed but we still love him as a character. Although I’m not terrified to argue about it, just that it seems pointless.

    I know personally I’ve had this problem to separate the ‘I think this is a bad comic’ to ‘I just don’t like it’. I’ve tried hard to stop doing that but it creeps in from time to time. So I should acknowledge that Phonogram might be a good title but I just didn’t appreciate it. Better then usually saying it was a ‘bad’ comic book. 

  14. Another point is that tastes do change. For example, I was a vegan for a large portion of my undergrad years. I still avoid most meat, but social circumstances as a result of my living with my carnivore parents have forced me to get off that train. Ans I missed having steak..

     

    I still aviod bacon and pork products. People tell me bacon is delicious, but I just see a strip of salty, unhealthy animal blubber that has no redemptive nutritional value. But I can’t stop the from eating and enjoying it. Nor would I want to

  15. your asking if there is a cure implies that it is a disease. I argue the premise here. There is absolutely not a frigging thing wrong with saying this is a piece of crap. We’re all just having fun here. It’s our hobby and to be objective is illogical because it’s a subjective thing.

    So basically Jimski, you’re wrong. Go eat a fig!

  16. This is the most necessary thing on the whole Internet. (I just read that back to myself and it sounds really sarcastic, but I’m being genuine, honest. Argh, now it just sounds more sarcastic!) Seriously though, it really annoys me when people essentially say "I do not like this and if you do you are a moron." Perspective, people!

  17. But where do we draw the line? Because ultimately some stuff is rubbish, surely? We have to be able to call out that which is no good and say so otherwise things don’t improve. I know I over react proclaiming things as useless when it’s, (possibly), just that it’s not for me. But sometimes it’s just rubbish. We can all name comics, films, tv shows, where we can see that it was just made by a glorified accountant, counting the beans that would roll in.

    I think that in the end we have to maintain some basic standards and say if the product doesn’t meet that then we declare it rubbish and warn off our fellow readers. I’m thinking specifically of Tan on Batman and Robin.

     

    By the way wild horses couldn’t force me to drink a drink with Pepper in the name. It just makes my stomach turn. 

  18. "next stop the ravine"… know this feeling all to well!

    @Jim-was the mystery book some concluding ultimate catastrophe put out by DC??Also, I know a bunch of people that let their judgement influence other people’s likes/dislikes. It’s all really a control issue!

  19. By its very nature, art in any form (comic book, TV show, etc.) is neither good nor bad, but rather liked or disliked.

  20. How about a follow up article where you discuss the book you hated and why?  That way, it won’t deter from this article, and it will provide the answers to all of us as to what highly recommended book might not be a great recommendation for everybody.

     Very interesting article by the way.

  21. @pompster I think there is very little that is truly, altogether "bad" today.  Even if something feels drummed up just to make money, you find an actor putting on a good performance, or an interesting story, or something.  I think you can talk about what is good and bad (in terms of craft) but you have to break it down.  Take this weeks POTW episode.  The guys were not impressed with some of the art on books, but they still found redeeming qualities, and the one book they really didn’t like, they pointed out the problems they had with story, art, and tone.  Explaining your opinions in a reasoned manner is always a good thing, and leads to interesting conversation.

  22. Good article.  My dad is a lot like Greg’s dad.  He turned off a lot of cartoons on me back in the day.  The most ironic thing to me about the article is that I grew up to be an engineer (who likes comics and cartoons).  My dad is an accountant and I find myself sighing and saying "Accountants," even to this day.  Although, Dad did try to be an engineer, but switched majors when he couldn’t handle it academically.  Most engineers have that personality trait, but it has nothing to do with the trains.  Honest.

  23. All opinions are equal is an absolute myth that many Americans buy into with their inflated sense of equality and entitlement.

    Not all opinions are equal.

    An informed opinion will always carry more weight than an ignorant opinion or casual opinion.

  24. I too am guilty of this sin, and I’m just as guilty of it’s opposite:  Judging people for disliking things that are undeniably excellent.  I’m a snob and I have to check myself all the time.  It’s even worse when dealing with the things my seven year old likes.  Some of the cartoons etc I understand, but others I can’t help but feel are absolute crap.  Yet he loves them, they seem to fire his imagination and get him excited…what could truly be wrong with that?

  25. Hrrm. I am a strong believer in differentiating quality and taste. You don’t have to like something good, nor vice versa – after all, B-movies are pretty much based on the appeal of the badness. Even so, there’s still an objective basis on which you can judge something.

  26. By the way, what are the odds that your dislike of Deadpool is based entirely on ignorance?

    E.g. you’ve never read his first series.

  27. All art is subjective nothing is definitively good or definitively bad it’s all a matter of opinion

  28. I’m judging all of you right now. On purpose.

  29. Hey wait a second…..You don’t read Deadpool but yet you say it has horrible comics.

    How do you know Jimski until you read it? Sounds like you need to read this article again. 😉

  30. This is a good article and I agree with most of it, but I have to say that it’s kind of dismaying to see how most people are still bumping their heads against the glass ceiling of "Art is subjective", which often becomes a cure-all discussion-ender forbidding any deeper analysis–since that further analysis might reveal insight that is not totally happy or enjoyable. If you don’t like a book, you can analyze why the book didn’t work for you, and through that analysis you might hit on truths about how comics (or whatever medium) work or don’t work. Analyzing art positively or negatively doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not the analyzer thinks it’s "okay" or not for other people to enjoy that work of art. Being okay with what art other people like or don’t like should be a given, basically.

    But in a sense, it isn’t as though art itself is what’s subjective–it’s people’s opinions that are subjective, particularly regarding how a piece of art makes them feel. A piece of art itself is NOT subjective in that it has a particular, specific form: every copy Deadpool #12 is the same, and every issue of Deadpool #12 has an objective arrangement of words and pictures in it. How Deadpool #12 makes others feel–whether they like it or not–that stuff is what’s necessarily amorphous and changes from person to person. Sure, we should all respect our different takes on things, but frankly I think the coda of "Well I didn’t see it that way but all have different opinions" is limiting in that it cuts short any deeper analysis. WHY did Deadpool #12 work or not work for people? Sometimes we get some analysis toward that end, but not much.

    iFanboy is about reviewing far more than it is about criticism. It’s a bit more about finding out what to buy next than analyzing and better understanding what we already have–and that’s fine, that serves a purpose. So I guess it makes sense that most of what’s at stake in many articles and reviews is whether or not the particular author liked or didn’t like a certain comic. What dismays me is that "I liked it" or "I didn’t like it" are really such boring and surface-scrating ways to express appreciation of art. In literary criticism (I know it’s not  for everybody) it would be asinine to center an essay around whether or not you "liked" a novel. Deeper analysis goes far behind some subjective arbitrary "like"/"dislike" and instead tries to uncover what the particular work DOES within its pages, how the particular process can be described, how the literary work represents the surrounding society–its scene of composition–and how any innovations of form function. There can be positive or negative literary criticism, but again these would not be centered around whether or not the critic "likes" or "dislikes" a work, but rather they’d rigorously bring the real world to bear on the literature. For example, there have been great, interesting essays written on subjects like "Hey I don’t think Ulysses is that great of a work, and I’m going to show why by analyzing some limiting traits of its composition as inadverantly expressed by the shortcomings of pro-Joyce critics" or "Hey some people think that T.S. Eliot and/or Ezra Pound were prejudiced against certain groups, but I’m going to do a historic analysis of their lives and show that they weren’t the pariahs some people think they are based on a few unfortunate recorded moments."

    But…most of the internet isn’t that high-minded. And that’s fine, for what it is. I guess most people have to remain on the lower, basic level where it’s all about them, and whether or not they were able to derive raw "entertainment" from a piece of art the first time they experienced it. In fact, most people in the Western world are like this, outside of the internet too; even the negative critical judgments they make still fall far short of big-picture perceptions. I notice that in the article, the friend’s father would apparently offer PBS as an alternative to the Simpsons: So I guess the underlying thinking is that you HAVE to be watching television, naturally, so your choices of what to do at this point are limited to what’s on tv. How about learning something without PBS, by like reading a science book or something, which can be "fun" in its own way if you’ve developed that aptitude? But, no, everything is limited by tv. (It’s the same way Tina Fey, Conan O’Brien and Jon Strewart are regarded by many as "really smart people", when they’re nothing compared to the TRULY smart people of our society. And if you like those tv personalities, that’s cool. But you’re tricking yourself if you think that the smartest people on tv are anywhere near the smartest people period. Please don’t take this comment as an insult–just try to use it to expand your horizons. I’m not saying you’re bad or wrong for watching tv.)

    I just think our thinking of how art is best appreciated is too narrow. It tends toward very limited "I liked this" or "I didn’t like this" responses. Unless you’re trying to build a social network of VERY likeminded people (which I guess is what many people use iFanboy for), then whether someone says they like or don’t like something barely means anything to anyone else who isn’t them. Unless critical opinion is backed up by analysis (it can differ subjectively, that’s fine, as long as it’s thoughtful) of certain objective traits of a piece of art, then why would I care about someone’s review? I don’t need to feel the emotional "back up" of seeing that someone on the internet agrees with me or not. I DO like to see anything insightful they might say, however, whether I agree or not. But that’s just me.

    And yes, I see a lot of parallels between the Avengers line currently and the unfortunate aspects of the X-titles in the ’90s. I’ve pointed that out, always saying that if someone gets enjoyment out of the Avengers today–that’s cool. I also pointed out how overhyped I thought Marvel has been making its every little reveal of every little project. I think overhype leads to problems, so people should guard against it lest they be disappointed with what they read. Kind of like how the author of the above article was disappointed with whatever trade he read, since it had been overhyped to him. I just don’t buy into that sort of hype anymore in the first place.

  31. Man… it would be so great if not reading Deadpool comics meant not being exposed to Deadpool in comics. I volunteer for the expedition to that world. Here, not even your issues of Amazing Spider-Man are safe. And that was Deadpool as written by Joe Kelly, the "good Deadpool writer." It didn’t make me rethink my stance on Deadpool, but it did make me rethink my stance on Joe Kelly.

    But yes, in my capacity as an occasional iFanboy reviewer I have seen many a Deadpool comic. Call off the dogs. Is it ignorance if I didn’t read the book that was coming out 13 years ago? Well, then, ya got me. I’m only familiar with how he’s been written in every comic for the last five years.

  32. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Aw, don’t hold Deadpool against Joe Kelly, man. Even in joking. He’s a killer writer. 

  33. Weirdly, I’ve been thinking about the exact same thing.  Possibly because I’m reading ‘Twilight.’

  34. @Flap: I dig your post. Being a designer married to a professional artist. I understand everything you say and mostly agree. But still, I choose to judge you because of your boring avatar and retarded screen name.

  35. @JeffR Is that written by that Kevin Trudeau guy? My parents bought me his "Mega Memory" book to help me pass Art History. Also because "I forgot" has been my go-to excuse for YEARS. I immediately pointed out that the guy is one of the most notorious snake oil salesmen in the country, and I’d sooner read a book by Matthew Lesko. At least he was a snappy dresser.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b7/MattLesko-cropped.jpg

  36. Having hit send too soon. . . I think at least part of this is a definition problem.  It’s not that quality is entirely subjective; it’s that we use the word ‘bad’ to mean so very many different things.  If the eskimos have 100 words for snow (and they don’t, that’s a myth, but people keep saying it because it’s conceptually useful), it presents a problem that we use ‘bad’ to mean everything from ‘boring’ to ‘technically inaccurate’ to ‘advocating things I find morally offensive.’ 

    An example I can think of is a response I’ve seen to people claiming ‘Avatar’ was badly written — this is the response from people in the film industry who say, "It’s a brilliantly structured screenplay!" as though this technically proves that the movie is good.  Now assuming that by some standard ‘Avatar’ is a brilliantly structured screenplay, we have to leap from that to the idea that people go to the movies saying, ‘Oh oh, I hope this screenplay is brilliantly structured, and if that happens, I don’t care if the movie is explicitly saying something that I personally find idiotic!’  My experience is that they don’t.  Your mileage may vary.

  37. @ Jimski.

    Sounds a lot like you went into Joe Kelly’s Deadpool series having already made up your mind about everything and didn’t therefore give it half of a chance. 

  38. @Oh: Yes. That too.

  39. @Bornin1142: I like Deadpool comics, I love much of Joe Kelly’s work from Spider-Man to Four Eyes to I Kill Giants.  I hate his Deadpool.  Passionately.  While I’m grateful that he came up with applying the fourth wall convention, I don’t enjoy how he employs it.  I much prefer Daniel Way’s Deadpool.  Just a matter of taste.

    @jimski: Been reading jimski.com all day.  My boss just called to ask why I was reading Breakfast Of The Gods when I should have been counting back issues.  I’ll forward my written reprimand to you.  (I didn’t actually get reprimanded.)

  40. My Mom still won’t watch the Simpsons to this day.  In her mind, cartoons are for kids and it was some merchandising scheme that fell apart in the early 90s.  She has no idea that it’s one of the longest running shows on TV and still most popular.  As passionate as I am about things, I still don’t feel the urge to throw books across the room.  I was very patient in with Wolverine for most of the 90’s, but their constant habit of leaving open storylines eventually made me sour "no matter how they are bring his adamantium back!" 

     

    I love Deadpool.  I always have, but more than anything, I like that Deadpool enjoys a certain amount of detachment from the rest of the Marvel universe and often points out the very things fanboys whine about as well.  I don’t think Deadpool is the greatest thing ever.  It didn’t touch me personally like V for Vendetta did.   I do, however, love to be able to pick up an issue of Deadpool and know that it picks up right where thelast issue left off.  Unlike 25 different Avengers titles. 

     

    I like Joe Kelly’s Deadpool the most.  

     

    Oh, I’ve never watched Lost until the last 2 seasons and this season I’m jumping up and down on my couch yelling, "Why the hell doesn’t Richard explain anything to the survivors?!?  Obviously, he understands a lot of whats going on.  Oh, he wants to kill himself and take his exposition with him?? Screw that!!  This is ridiculous!!"

     

    Oh, I never watched Battlestar Galactica and probably never will.  I never could get into Flight of the Conchords either.  

  41. Oh, Jimski. Cheer up, man.

    A couple of nerd fights on the internet doesn’t represent the decline of the western world

  42. I read a study once that claimed that our musical tastes "harden" in our late-teens/ early-twenties, and never evolve much after that.  I say this because Greg’s dad reminds me of my own.  "The Simpsons."  "Foreign cars."  "Rock music."  They were all bad.  Not "something I don’t like."  Bad, and should be kept out of town.  Essentially, I’m saying that my father was the pastor from Footloose.  It could be argued that a hardening of the opinions is a function of age.  Our ability to process new information weakens, so we reduce our exposure to stimuli.  

    If this weren’t the case, the entire internet would pack up and go home.  Luckily, there is always someone being wrong on the internet. 

  43. flapjaxx has articulated the reasons why I’m too intimidated to attempt any kind of "review" of the comics I read. I simply don’t have a grasp of the language required, nor enough formal knowledge of comic book structure, art, and form, to write truly "intelligent" reviews. When it comes to art (comics, music, film, etc.), these are things I love a LOT but they are also an escape from the day-to-day doldrums in life. I find that trying to analyze why I liked or disliked a certain comic, album, or film in writing takes away from my enjoyment of it, so I don’t bother and leave it to the amateur and professional critics on here and other places online and in print. I do enough analysis and critical thinking/writing at work. That’s just me, though.

  44. @Jimski: No you didn’t get my point. You did an article about critiquing books and how we should all be more ‘this isn’t my cup of tea’ instead of ‘this book sucks!’ mentality.

    But yet, in your own words, have made constant critiques and jokes about the Deadpool series that is out even though you never have touched any of the current series. Now I can say they are bad because I have read most of them and the only shining light is Daniel Way’s series. But here you are, judging a series and a character when you haven’t even read a single sentence from any of the series.

    Does anyone not see the irony in this? 

  45. @Edward: Yes it does. Oh yes it does.

  46. I have touched Deadpool many times. Intimately, in fact. Hence: "yes, in my capacity as an occasional iFanboy reviewer I have seen many a Deadpool comic." I haven’t read a single sentence, no, but rather an entire book’s worth of sentences every six months or so since Ron made it the POW during Civil War. It isn’t getting any better.

  47. @Jimski So your judging a book by reading what, an issue, every six months since Civil War…..Wow that totally justifies your opinions on the title.

  48. @Jimski: Lets put it another way. When was the last time you actually read a Deadpool comic? Not him in another book (like ASM), or a side story, or seeing him on the cover. A full fledge issue with him as the main star.

  49. @JJ: no, it doesn’t! you A-hole!!

  50. Great article Jimski. You’re a brave man for putting this stuff out there. Sometimes I think you enjoy it.

  51. It sounds like, in order to say I hate Deadpool, I have to subscribe to it.

    I’ve never been shot, either, but I’m going to go ahead and say with authority that it hurts. But HOW DO I KNOW?

  52. Now that I think about it, I haven’t watched every episode of all sixteen years of ER; how do I know it’s not my favorite series? If I smashed my hand with a hammer just fifty more times, I might start to love it.

  53. @Jimski: If you hate the character that’s one thing. But to say any of his comics are bad when you don’t (or in your case rarely) read them is ridiculous. Especially when you typed this whole article about why we shouldn’t do that in the first place.

  54. @TNC That’s not what the article is about.

    Also, why would Jimski keep reading Deadpool when he has a problem with the whole idea of the current incarnation? If he has a problem with the 4th wall breaking, multiple personality internal monologuing and pop culture quip dropping insanity why would reading more issues of that make him change his mind?

    It’s not like the actual WRITING is his problem, it’s the whole (current) premise of the character.

  55. @gobo @Jimski Sorry that’s what I got from reading this article. I thought the discussion was on why we need to critique books better then just ‘it sucks’ and add no depth to the conversation.

  56. Thought provoging article, as always!

     

    I have no problem with yours or anyone else’s hatred towards the character of Deadpool, since I am comfortable with my taste in all comics and I don’t feel threatened when somebody disbarages him. Thus, I don’t get upset when somebody voices their disgust with him, because that person has a taste, and I’d be a fool to argue against that. However, to say that fans of Deadpool are wrong for liking him and don’t understand humor seems a bit out of line, as it seems that you’re unfairly deriding people who are simply enjoying something that you don’t prefer. At least that’s how I’m reading this.

     

    Otherwise, I do agree with everything else you said about subjectiveness. I’m sure everyone has a hatred of a book that everyone else likes (myself included), and you’re put into a tough position when you don’t like it. You ask yourself "What is the problem? Is everyone else dumb or maybe I have a problem understanding it?" I’d like to think it’s never those two choices, and just like to think that it’s statistically impossible to agree with everything my friends like all the time. As how to deal with people who actively push their agenda onto others (like your roomate’s dad who pushed his dislike of The Simpsons & Dr Pepper on everyone, and those who mock me for liking Deadpool), I suggest that you should do their best and enjoy what they enjoy, and not let the angry voices or Dr. Pepper embargos flatten your spirits.

  57. ^And of course, there’s a typo when I wrote "provoking"

  58. People keep latching onto the idea of subjectivity.

    Just as there is a myth of objectivity, there is also a myth of subjectivity.

    Your opinions are not quite your own.

  59. @NextChamp: How is Jimski’s hatred of Deadpool any different than your hatred of Bendis? You both have tastes that drive you away from certain books and refuse to read them no matter what. Just let it go and enjoy what you enjoy.

  60. @NextChamp And by let it go, I mean constantly arguing with Jimski cause he doesnt read Deadpool.

  61. I want to hear what this GN you threw against a wall was.  See, yes, your opinion is your own and yes you and I can have different opinions and that’s ok, but what’s the point in reading an opinion that you constantly disagree with?  That’s the real trick.  Finding a review site where you generally agree with the reviewers.  Otherwise the process would drive you crazy.  …  Jimski, are you going crazy?  Hang in there man. 

     

  62. Funny this has turned into you why you don’t like deadpool. Anyway, I have a guess on the book you didn’t like and sure hope you will let us know what it is soon.

  63. is the book you don’t like Deadpool?

  64. Pretty sure I know what it is, but it’s fun to leave things to the imagination.

  65. My Dad thinks anything that looks non human on television is a demon.

     

    I really wish I was joking about that.

  66. @uvayankee1 Good point. I can think of many things that are ‘bad’ that I have also enjoyed.Oftenbecause they are bad.

    What I am after developing for myself is knowledge and a set of criteria on which I can say this comic does or does not work.The podcast does, as you said, finds redeeming features and reviews are not negative. And helps me learn what makes good comics. There are bad comics because there are comics which fail to meet criteria of what a comic should be. We just have to all work together to agree what those criteria are.

    I do feel however that just saying "this isn’t for me" doesn’t count as valid criticism or a helpful review. There is a film reviewer here in the UK who sometimes guests on a show I listen to and all his reviews can be summed up as "It’s all right if you like that sort of thing", that’s no help to me at all. I can only get to the cinema occasiaonally I want guidance on where I should spend my money. And in the end that’s why I come to iFanboy

  67. I do not know why my post did that funny quote thing.

  68. I say the story Jimski hated is either Crisis on Infinite Earths or Flash Rebirth.

  69. @Pompster

    You say: "There are bad comics because there are comics which fail to meet criteria of what a comic should be. We just have to all work together to agree what those criteria are."

    So, in this hypothetical situation, what do we do with people who insist on having different criteria?  Do we ban them from comic shops or just from message boards? 

  70. A comic should be anything it can be. There are no criteria.

  71. If I were to draw a comic it would be a bad comic.

  72. @Josh: That doesn’t really make any sense to me. Is that supposed to be some Zen thing? 😛

  73. @ohcaroline I’d never advocate anyone being banned from anywhere. We have a debate.

     If there’s no such thing as a bad comic, is there any such thing as a good one?

     

  74. @Pompster  I commented on this above — my view on this is that the problem with the conversation is that ‘good’ or ‘bad’ can mean plenty of different things depending on who is doing the evaluating.  I could set out some general criteria for what makes a good or a bad comic but they wouldn’t look like yours and they wouldn’t look like Jimski’s.  And even in the case of my own criteria, I might read a book next week that violates everything I listed and I like it anyway (or that I admit should be ‘good’ but I hate it anyway). 

    There’s just no way everybody’s going to get together and decide that the same things are good and bad.  Look at any list of best and worst novels put together by professors who have spent their lives studying the stuff.   

  75. @TNC here’s a sentence I never thought I’d read in my lifetime: "the only shining light is Daniel Way’s series." Bravo! 

    @Jimski Great article, as usual. Sometimes people just don’t like things, no matter how many other people are screaming it’s virtues from the mountaintops. Case in point: I hate Goodfellas. There, i said it.  

  76. I think it is a very confusing line because there are ways to objectivly look at any creative piece and judge it on its own merits.  Reviewers and critics wouldn’t exisit if this wasn’t the case.  I think the problem is that the Internet gives everyone a voice, even people who aren’t qualfied to make objective judgements.  Instead, they just spew subjective reactions to the material, as if they were concrete facts.

    The formula for good critism I learned in school was:

    1.  Describe a specific aspect of a creative piece

    2.  Make a statment containing a positive and negative judgement

    3.  Give concrete supporting evidence, describing why that aspect had a positive or negative effect on the viewer’s enjoyment or understanding.

    I would add a fourth for Internet message boards about engaging in discourse and acknowledging the possibility of disagreement.

  77. Don’t take this the wrong way, KingYoda, but your comment reminds me of the scene in ‘Dead Poets Society’ where Robin Williams reads from the list of how you evaluate a good poem and give it a mathematical score. . . and then rips it to shreds.  As he should.

    Subjective responses to creative work are not a problem.  They’re not a vice that needs to be stamped out.  And they’re CERTAINLY not something invented and created by uneducated comics fans who should never have been given access to the Internet.  A form of the conversation Jimski started here goes on in universities and literary magazines and book reviews all the time. 

    This isn’t to say I have a problem with your criteria — I think they’re good criteria.  But there’s always been and will always be more to it than that, and it’s limiting and a bit disingenuous to say otherwise.

  78. @ohcaroline I don’ think the problem is with subjective responses.  I think the problem is when people forget the difference between the two.  I just don’t like the feeling that I can never say a creative piece is bad.  There are times when I simply don’t like someting, but I can see the merit of the piece.  And there are times when I don’t like it, and I can critically back up my opinion.

  79. Okay, I think that’s fair. I think maybe it depends on whether you’re talking about writing a considered review in which you set out your critieria, versus yelling ‘this sucks!’ at the top of your lungs.  I mean, the person saying ‘this sucks’ may actually have written a dissertation on aesthetics under which ‘Deadpool’ or ‘Cry for Justice’ is provably bad, but if all they’re saying is ‘sucks’, who can tell the difference?  And sometimes it gets to the point where I tell myself, "Okay, I need to write that considered review and post it somewhere that I can link to, or else just shut up about it."  And because I’m lazy I usually just shut up.  Or try to :).

     

     

     

  80. Dr. Pepper: Drinkable, who gives a shit when Coke exists? 🙂

    Deadpool: Often entertaining, but ultimately not worth my money.

    Friends: It was tolerable at the time and often entertaining. Am baffled by anyone who owns it on DVD, ’cause that shit doesn’t hold up (most comedy doesn’t, IMO).

    ER: Honestly? Don’t care. Never cared. The only medical show that’s ever been remotely interesting is House and I can’t be bothered to watch that.

    Family Guy: It’s generally better than The Simpsons, but that isn’t saying much. Don’t watch regularly.

    Alias: Liked it.

    Avatar: No interest in seeing it. Ever.

    Wolverine: Entertaining enough, but I knew what to expect going in.

    Analysis: When it comes to art, I can only explain so much because I haven’t studied art. And if my reaction is emotional and not rational, what good is analysis?

  81. This is by far the most heated article I have ever read on ifanboy.

  82. @Mangaman look out for an Alan Moore or digital comics article. Now they’re scary.

    Seriously though discussing how we react to comics is an important discussion to have. 

  83. @Pompster: I go to this article, reread the posts and squirm a bit in my chair. I dunno if searching out that Alan Moore thread is good for my health.

  84. I agree with the article title.

  85. Next controversial article: piracy and why pirates should be put to death. [/sarcasm]

  86. I find this condition to be a lack of maturity and/or empathy on the part of the person making those blanket statements.  I love Godzilla movies, for example, but I will readily admit that some of them are just not good and for a lot of people those movies are just never going to be something that they will enjoy.  I accept this, and I’m totally okay with it, but I’ve spoken with plenty of people that refused to accept that I could enjoy them even though I acknowledge that some of them are bad movies.  It’s just beyond their ability to process.