A Little More Perspective: The Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise Principle

In yesterday’s post I used the example of Highlander II to illustrate that the over-arching comments at the expense of the prequels are a bit out of touch, regardless of what you think of the series overall. To attack their quality, or whether someone could like them, misses the point.

We can all disagree about what we love, but we have to give each other the benefit of the doubt and the presumption of honesty (more about that in a later post). We all fail at that sometimes, but hope springs eternal for me that we might be able to be a little more understanding of where we’re coming from.

But I can’t leave this fun string of thought with just one example. No, I have to turn this into one of my trademark micro-series on a topic. Also, I’m recording an episode of Words With Nerds tomorrow night and this way I can write two in one shot to make this a trilogy. (Which will in its own way infuriate the Boy Wonder.)

Whatever Do You Mean, Kessel?

Perhaps what we need to understand at its baseline is that movies are entertainment. Occasionally they are art. But they always have an audience, no matter how large or small.

And the reason for that is, someone liked it. They had to like it. The reason is, in the words of James T. Kirk, “Simple logic.”

Why we like what we like is not the same. We can’t presume that everyone thinks, feels or processes things the same way that we do. To do so would be to discount the simple fact that each person is formed by their own experiences.

The Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise Principle

This is how some people feel about my beloved Peanut Butter and Mayo Combo.
This is how some people feel about my beloved Peanut Butter and Mayo Combo.

While I eat them only at very rare moments now, I do enjoy Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise sandwiches. I love the flavor. There is also the component that it was a special sort of treat for my father to sneak one to me when I was a kid (he was making one for himself and bribing my silence so I wouldn’t tell my mother)–this undoubtedly helped shape my palette at a young age.

Could I get you to eat one? Some of you might say yes, some of you will say no, and at least one of you instantly tried to one–up me in your head with some strange concoction that you like that’s stranger and/or more unique.

But the point is, it fits my palette. I can completely understand that someone would say to me, “You’re nuts to eat that. It’s just sick.” I could argue with them (and will) that the epic clash between sweetness, saltiness and overall arteriosclerosis is such a special treat I give it to myself only on very trying days. Days when I like to remember when things were a little more carefree and this little guy had a Dad who loved nothing more than to spoil his son whenever Mom wasn’t looking.

Also, it just tastes freaking fantastic.

I could try to make someone understand, but when it comes down to it, if they don’t like it, they don’t like it.

But This Does Not Mean We Shouldn’t Debate Things!

We absolutely should debate things! The mark of true love, true friendship and true growth is the ability to argue something without letting it damage our relationships. I come from a very large, argumentative extended family as well; we would argue with each other like mortal enemies and, five minutes later, sit down and play games together.

I plan to argue movies, books and television until I’m old and dead. I plan to defend Superman to Craig and implore people to look deeper than their expectations. I plan to continue pursuing support for my dream of building a time machine just so I can go back to 1985 and kill Peter Cetera before he records Glory of Love*, a song that still makes my spine lock up.

But we need to understand that everyone has their own perspective on things, and it does not invalidate what they think, feel or say. It does not undermine their credibility. They just see things differently.

* It’s hyperbole. I wouldn’t kill him. Maybe.

8 thoughts on “A Little More Perspective: The Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise Principle

    1. Cheese and eggs, I believe, might have to do with how they were prepared when you were younger. (I hated eggs for a while too, because I thought they always had milk in them.)

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  1. I cannot get past the Mayonnaise mixed with anything. Horrendous condiment. It may actually be worse that that bastard condiment Ketchup. But, maybe you have something there, and I’m game to try it.
    Fun fact, on my ham and cheese sandwichs I put peanut butter on them. Delicious.

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  2. I’m virtually fearless when it comes to food. Sea slug, horse, bullfrog, peanut butter burgers, Taco Bell 7-Layer Burritos, tripe, fish heads, pork blood stew, deep fried Cheerios….even the maligned balut……no problem at all.

    But PB&M sounds awful. Not much worse than the puzzlingly popular PB & Marshmallow fluff, but still awful.

    In fairness, mayo is best used to compliment savory flavors. Peanut butter – while not quite savory – does have a ton of salt and fat in it, so in theory it could work. I’d suggest that if you put two slices of bacon in there, you’d really be onto something. White trash franco-thai fusion. (I’m serious: this would taste fantastic on some toasted bread).

    I’d also point out that I totally understand how emotional trigger points can override common sense. That’s why they call it comfort food. For years, my mom would serve spaghetti with hamburger meat and sauce from the jar. Invariably she’d get distracted and end up not only burning the hamburger meat, but also reducing the sauce to nearly the consistency of tomato paste. To this day, I find myself longing for the concoction, even though it is a crime against food.

    Anyway, last time I went with the “emotional override” argument it ended badly, so this is where I stop.

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    1. But something can have an emotional toe while legitimately appealing to taste. But what we consumed when we were younger, paired with our tastes, determines what we like. It is not the sole driver. My mom loved Fritos and I think they’re the worst thing ever. Likewise Pizza Hut pizza, which is the one pizza you have to force me to eat because its just a menorah with cheese (that’s an oil-content joke).

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