|You don't know til you drink it all!|
Oh yeah. This is happening.
You know that discussion you get into, the one with the people and the trendy book that's in all the airports and that your friend's wife just loved, and now he's all like, "yeah, it was pretty good; it had a good story, interesting characters, etc. etc. blah blah, old argument, logical fallacy, incorrect premise, and so on..."
Yeah. That one.
And you know where this is going, where it always goes. First you try to just move on to a new topic, because seriously, it's not a law that you HAVE to read every book-of-month Cosmo-pick that the ladies around the office are just swearing by (this week). And, let me repeat that, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO READ THE POPULAR BOOK. YOU CAN READ WHATEVER YOU WANT. IT'S CALLED CHOICE. AND INDIVIDUALITY. AND SOME OTHER COOL CONCEPTS PROBABLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY TOM PAINE AND T-JEFF.
But, moving on didn't work. They've cornered you. They're pressing you for your opinion. After all, you must have one. Everyone should have an opinion on some flash-in-the-pan gone-tomorrow pop-fiction novel. This is important stuff, not trivial bullshit like national healthcare or war. They always force this issue. The reason, I find, is that it becomes important to them, since you're a reader (maybe even a writer, as well), who's known for having odd or non-mainstream taste in your books. Because, you know, America. And shit. But, somehow this translates to the people at the dinner party or the office mixer, or what have you, as you being a "book-snob" or some other such nomenclature that demonizes having individual preference.
So, they need to bully you into the corner, because they think they've stacked the deck, and you are going to come out looking like the idiot and they so much smarter than you, here in this context.
And, finally, you acquiesce.
"It just doesn't interest me. It's not the kind of book I'd like to read," you say. "I don't enjoy the language, the way it's written, the author's voice, tone, style, etc."
You've been as nice as you think possible, leaving everyone room to go home more or less intact.
But, wait, here it comes...
"YEAH, BUT HAVE YOU READ IT?" they ask, all smirky and winky and shit.
"I read the first few--"
"AHA!! YOU HAVEN'T READ IT, SO YOU DON'T KNOW!!! BWAHAHA BWAHAHA!!" And some other faux-superiority bullshit.
"No, I read enough to know that I--"
"NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU HAVEN'T READ IT, SO YOU DON'T KNOW!! YOU CAN'T SAY UNTIL YOU'VE READ IT!!!!!"
And, now in their minds, they've become infinitely smarter and superior to you in every way possible. You're practically the Al Qaeda of books now, as they've shown.
I suppose I should end this blog here, since anyone who is like those described above will have stopped reading by now in order to go forward being *"that guy."
But, instead, and for no reason other than my own lack of anything else to do at this particular second, I will trudge on in this probably less than interesting discussion with myself.
Because that argument is bullshit.
Because I don't need to drink an entire carton of milk before I can say it's bad. I don't even need to drink one sip. I can smell that shit as soon as I open the lid.
Because I don't need to eat my entire plate of food to know that I don't like the way it tastes. The first few bites are enough.
I don't need to marry every girl I meet before I know if it really might work between us.
I don't need to actually get a tattoo on my body before I know if I want to have a tattoo.
I don't need to spend 7 years & $100,000 on medical school to know I don't want to be a doctor.
I don't need to zip up in latex, get handcuffed, and participate in an orgy before I know I wouldn't like it.
I don't need to practice the drums and join a band before I know I wouldn't want to.
I could keep going, but why?
Seriously, you pick up a book, you read the first few sentences, paragraphs, even pages. If it doesn't pass the sniff test, then put it the hell down. We all got 99 problems in this world and having to fist this head-pounder into your brain ain't one.
So, you go read 50 Shades of Twilight. I'll go read Lonesome Dove. And, Jonathan Franzen can fuck himself. And, we'll all have a pretty good time.
Oh yeah, and that whole "Well, you gotta get through the first 100 pages or so, and then it gets good" argument? Yeah, that's bullshit, too.
Now, go enjoy your life.
*"that guy" is an asshole.