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'The hysterical reaction on social media if the majority opinion isn't agreed with is ridiculous'

It’s a waste of calories getting into some meaningless argument with a whiny millennial about how you’re a racist or a sexist for not liking a certain film, writes Ethan Shattock.

Ethan Shattock Law graduate and blogger

ONE OF THE best things about social media is that collective opinions can be shared instantly. One of the worst things about social media is that collective opinions can be shared instantly.

An irritating trend in the technological zeitgeist lately, is that there are often things like films, incidents, public statements or interviews that catch the public eye and the majority opinion is summarised online.

On Twitter you’ll often see ridiculous generalisations on how users are reacting to stories. For example, the recent Black Panther film got its first slightly negative review on the movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. In fact it was an Irish journalist that gave the film a lukewarm reception, and it wasn’t even explicitly negative. It was a three stars out of five kind of hostility, which is to say nothing to be getting excited about, for better or for worse.

This, according to Twitter, wasn’t good enough, as people apparently “aren’t having the reason” why it received a rotten review. What you will notice, scrolling through hashtags and trawling through reviews, is that, this film is something that you just have to like. We’re giving it a great reception so you better get on board. If you have issues with it, take them elsewhere or shut up.

As I saw another day on Twitter, “If you think Black Panther is just a film, you’re wrong.” I should mention here that most of these people hadn’t even seen the film yet.

‘Reactionary hysteria’ 

Well, it is just a film, and they’re not wrong. Many people think this kind of reactionary hysteria is ridiculous. They just don’t say it much in public or on social media. Why? Well a large part of it is simply because it’s not worth it.

It’s a waste of calories getting into some meaningless argument with a whiny millennial about how you’re a racist or a sexist for not liking a certain film.

It was similar to the female Ghostbusters film. I did see it and it actually was not that bad of a film. But the reaction to the trailer on YouTube represented record-breaking negativity, receiving over 1 million dislikes.

This was partly because the trailer made the film look like complete garbage, littered with a terrible script, vulgar humour and PlayStation 1 style CGI. But it was also because people were gleefully and mischievously winding up the people who were implying that everyone had to like this film and to not do so meant you were a sexist.

‘Destination spineless’

The Oscars is another area where politics and social justice dominate. Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a brilliant film all round but is it something that’s Oscar worthy? No. It’s not.

Did it have an interesting artistic take on racism? Yes. And sure, there were preening white males who laughably said it was “racist against white people”. But to express the justified opinion that this film is not even close to some of the Oscar winning pictures in the past is probably not even worth mentioning. You’re not going along with the think train – destination spinelessness – and that makes you a heretic.

This is so utterly pointless. There are so many legitimate and pressing issues in the world. Climate change, homelessness, poverty… Are we that simple minded that we need to have so many arguments about film X that we forget if the person who disliked it is a racist or a homophobe?

Ethan Shattock is 23-year-old master of laws graduate and blogger.

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About the author:

Ethan Shattock  / Law graduate and blogger

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