Quit Yer Opinions
Celebrity Deaths! Media shake-ups! Rising international tensions! Bad movies! Global warming! Prestige television! Activist athletes! Bad tweets! The mainstreaming of open white supremacism! Problematic takes! This millennium, this decade, this horrible, confounding year have given us all ample reasons to have opinions about stuff, and, to our great detriment, they’ve also conspired to give us all public platforms to amplify these opinions. If you’re anything like me (and if you’re reading this, there’s a 95% chance you are me) you’ll find this to be tiresome and inescapable. Social media is the comments section of life, and if you let it, it will drain all the joys of existence into a stream of self loathing nincompoopery.
In 2012, Girls broke the internet before all it took was a big wet butt. People’s takes were so goddamned hot, we almost burned the whole operation to the ground. The whole conflagration centered on big, important topics like gentrification, gender, class and race, they all seemed to come to a head on Lena Dunham’s divisive premium channel niche dramedy. Girls wasn’t going to do anything except maybe amuse, entertain, bore or otherwise aggravate the people who chose to watch it; for everyone else, I’m sure there was something else worth doing on Sunday nights. Of all the frontlines of the culture war this one was a remarkably inessential one, despite the vitriol from conservative mouth breathers and the snobby bickering of New York liberals.
At the time I made a conscious decision to sit the whole thing out. At times it was tough: 2012 me wasn’t the zen motherfucker you read here today and sitting through people talking about TV shows you haven’t seen ranks only slightly higher than listening to people describe their dreams. But, goddamnit, I made it! I never watched an episode and tried my best to steer conversations to other topics when people inevitably brought up the show. As it turned out, there were plenty of other interesting things to talk about (many involving the Big Issues that clashed in Girls) if you try even a little bit. Inevitably the fire around Girls burned itself out and when the smoke cleared all the sides of the culture wars were still hunkered in their respective trenches while the long arc of history has continued to bend towards its inscrutable terminus.
I hate to tell you this, but the same thing is going to happen with Colin Kaepernick, Ghostbusters, Kim Davis, Alecia Keys, Chris Brown and Ryan Lochte. Everyone has an opinion about these things, I know I do, but having and sharing are two very different things. Whether you’re Curt Schilling or Jessica Valenti (and almost assuredly, you are not), sharing your take on Twitter isn’t likely to change anyones mind about the issues, but it just might change someone’s opinion about you.