Scott D. Parker
It started with the surprising hub bub surrounding the publication of THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. No, it wasn’t the interview stuff surrounding Clinton’s waffling on his place in the MeToo movement. It was among fellow writers on Facebook. Somewhere along the line, some writers think it’s okay to crap on the reading interests of other people. Not sure why.
Jealousy? Probably in some cases. Patterson is a highly successful author who personally authored numerous books before working with a team of co-writers to get the stories out of his head. Can you imagine having so many stories just bursting around in your brain that you can’t write them all fast enough? I’d love half of that energy. So what if the stories produced are ones you don’t particularly enjoy? I never read the FIFTY SHADES books, but I never thought those that did—including my wife—were somehow less than I was. It’s a book, people. And, when you get right down to it, people were reading books instead of not. Shouldn’t that count for something?
Then there was the news that actress Kelly Marie Tran deleted her social media posts as a result of malicious fans who didn’t take too kindly to her being an Asian-American woman playing a role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Really? I’m guessing these were the same dolts who didn’t like Rey also being a girl or Finn being a black man. This is a working actress who took on a role (likely a dream role; it’s Star Wars!) and, simply for being who she is, gets crap thrown at her. I’m guessing these would be the same type of folks who look down on those of us who read THE DA VINCI CODE or any James Patterson book? Grow up, people. As much as I love Star Wars—yeah, it shaped my childhood, but the prequels didn’t ruin my childhood; that was already over—it’s still a movie made by real people doing their best.
Then there were the two celebrity suicides. I honestly didn’t know Kate Spade, but I sure knew Anthony Bourdain (and wrote about him yesterday). His zeal for life was palpable. He yearned for the whole story, the background of a story, and the story of a people through the lens of food. Specifically, I appreciated his ability to reveal the core truths about what it means to be a human no matter what country you call home. I even created my own version of the Bourdain Quatrain after the famous tagline for his No Reservations show: “I travel. I write. I eat. And I’m hungry for more.”
Sure, he didn’t always waste time with the stuff lots of people loved—he loathed pumpkin spice anything; he hated the TV show “Friends”—but I bet you one thing: he would have gone to the mat defending your right not only to like what you like, but to not be criticized for liking it.
So let’s chill, y'all. Read what you want. Listen to music that makes you smile. Watch what you want. Like what you want.
And for those people you don't know? Be kind to them. Kindness takes so little effort and it goes so much further.
And tell those you love that you love them. Do it every single day.
If you’re reading this and think you are at your wit’s end, please seek help. Life is too, too precious. You are important and meaningful. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.
This has become more prevalent over the past several years, people telling others what's good and what isn't and looking down on those who disagree. Years ago I was walking out of a symphony concert and heard a woman with a group of friends mention how much she enjoyed the performance. They immediately set her straight with descriptions of what was wrong with it, phrased as if they were doing her a favor by "educating" her. Her face fell. They ruined her evening. I made up my mind then and there never to consciously do that. Doesn't mean I don't have opinions, or won't give a book or movie an unfavorable review. Just that I'll never consciously put down someone else for what they read or watch. What I think is good is my opinion. It may be more or less educated, but art does not have any mathematical certainties.
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