Knowing Your Tastes

Recently I wrote a blog called What Do I Rate This? If you didn’t read it, that’s okay. I’m just a human being with feelings that you hurt at whim.

It’s cool.

As a quick overview, that blog was dealing with the existential crisis of rating things in the public forum. (If you didn’t read it, you have to take me at my word.) The external pressures can mount as people judge your tastes based on how you rate what also they have seen.

Sometimes disagreement on those points is productive, other times people get a little huffy about it. I also wrote about an insight into conversations that go awry about taste and opinion, I Don’t Need to Make a Hamburger to Know When I Don’t Like Them.

You may think at this point that this blog is only about self-promotion and interlinking to other things for SEO value. I assure you that it is not, “interlinking” is a dumb neologism, and rush to the point forthwith.

The Point

When discussing things with my friend Mike not too long ago, I commented how I’ve got a plethora of high ratings on my letterboxd profile. I joked that maybe it means I’m not as discerning as others.

He commented that it simply means I know my tastes very well. I can tell what movies I’m likely to enjoy, and if I’m going to make the decision to spend my time and/or money on something I’d pre-select. His reply stuck with me. It’s obvious that it did because I’m writing a blog about it.

It seems a simple enough idea. It’s also a bit profound.

The Insight

There’s a good insight to how we construct our own “taste bubbles” (that’s not a bad name for a novelty food, actually), and function within them. I know what I like, and so I’m drawn more easily to things I’m predisposed to enjoying.

This doesn’t mean I’m not adventurous and don’t travel outside my virtual comfort zone. I’ve watched plenty of things that don’t align with what anyone would expect me to watch. I’ve watched things purely on word of mouth, despite my own ambivalence. I’ve also gone from hating something with a fiery passion, to loving it with all my heart.

I’m pretty sure no one would expect me to be such an ardent fan of the Fast & Furious franchise. But I took the plunge and haven’t looked back Hobbs & Shaw is one of my most-anticipated movies of 2019. I’m looking forward to it more than anything Marvel©™® is putting out.

Fate of the Furious F8
Some of my oldest friends thought I was kidding when I said I love this series.

Purposely Watching Things You Know You’ll Dislike

As a note, don’t give me this nonsense of “I regularly like to watch things I dislike.” That’s a tortured logic chain to blow the brain of any robot chef on Futurama. It’s the same urge that makes people watch TMZ regularly so they can feel superior to celebrities.

You may encounter something you dislike, unexpectedly or not, but wasting your time and energy regularly with things you’re predisposed to dislike makes no sense.

This disclaimer is for one person in particular: I’m aware that’s an argument against watching Neil Breen’s movies, or showing someone The Room. But note the use of the word “regularly.” Those fall into the category I’m talking about with the TMZ comparison: watching something so you can feel a little better. I’m talking about doing it regularly. 

Obviously critics have to watch things for their job, but remember that having a podcast and a Twitter account doesn’t mean you’re automatically a critic.

In Conclusion

Your tastes may change over time. Mine have. Everyone’s tastes change. But it’s OK to like what you like, and know what you like, and watch what looks like something you’d like.

If the worst result is you have more movies sitting with positive ratings than not, that’s not the worst thing that could happen in the world.

It’s all the more reason to own your ratings. Be proud of them. Flaunt them.

If someone gives you a hard time…

William Shatner Captain James T. Kirk Star Trek V
Remember, I actually like this movie.

One thought on “Knowing Your Tastes

  1. I agree! I have hundreds of ratings on Goodreads, and I think over a thousand on IMDb, and a very small percentage are less than what I consider average. It’s rare that I rate a movie less than 7/10 or a book less than 3/5. And it’s mostly because of the reason you’re discussing. I know my tastes and tend to avoid what I know I’ll dislike. I try to balance it with seeking out new stuff and broadening my horizons, but I do so intelligently. Sometimes I find something I really don’t like. But more often than not, I find plenty to like. And that’s a blessing.

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