Maybe some of you that read this column regularly know that I review movies for Raleigh’s local NBC affiliate as something of a side hustle. My reviews usually drop the morning before a film opens in theaters. Last week I reviewed Aquaman.
Let me give you the TL;DR version of the review. I HAAAAAAATED Aquaman.
My review was published on December 20. It went up some time around 9:30 AM. My job description for the rest of the day was essentially “monitor news in the sports media industry, get in fights on Twitter.”
See, fans of comic book movies assume that anyone that doesn’t fall over backwards with praise of the latest costumed crime fighting adventure has an agenda. Fans of characters from the DC universe believe that agenda is crapping on DC movies so that critics can continue to heap praise on Marvel movies.
I won’t lie. Being accused of having an agenda, when you genuinely don’t care what your readers do or don’t watch, is frustrating and I will clap back at people on Twitter that ask me how much Disney pays me to write bad things about Aquaman. I also wrote bad things about Infinity War earlier this summer for Christ’s sake!
But here is what I have stopped doing. I have stopped taking the accusations seriously. I have stopped caring about the people that look up pictures of me and then call me fat on various social media networks as a retaliation for not liking Batman. Seriously, a few years ago I wrote a negative review of Batman v. Superman and received an email calling my daughter (who was 6 at the time) the c-word.
Fandom of any sort is dumb. Even the most rational fans of teams, characters, or whatever have still devoted a significant part of their lives to loving something that will never love them back. That is insane.
In sports radio, fandom is what makes our job possible. I am not telling you to dismiss all fans of anything. Just prioritize the larger slice of the audience pie over the smaller one.
If you’ve been in your market for longer than two or three years, you still have the chance to win over new fans, but there are a lot of people that have already made up their minds about you. Focus on the ones that like you. Focus on the ones that don’t know what you do yet. Those that have already decided you hate their team or will never take you seriously because of your race or gender aren’t worth your time.
Being in the public eye, even a little bit, can be exhausting at times. My wife is a doctor. We have never met people together as a couple that find out what she does and then go on a rant about how someone misdiagnosed their fibromyalgia, but the second they find out I’m in sports radio, it’s my fault that Colin Cowherd doesn’t think the Cowboys are a legit Super Bowl contender.
To me, that person isn’t worth wasting any time on – on my show or in whatever that social situation is. I’m not going to go out of my way to find a reason to call a team with an average-at-best quarterback “championship calibre” just to make this idiot feel better. I’m also not going to calmly explain that Jason Garrett couldn’t scheme his way out of a paper bag. He’s already made it clear that his criteria for liking me or even listening to what I have to say is blind confirmation bias.
Most of the comments I got last week that called me an asshole for calling Aquaman the worst movie of the year included the phrase “I haven’t seen the movie yet.” Oh you haven’t? Great, then I know your opinion doesn’t have the same value mine does, because I HAVE seen the movie. Thank you for admitting it and saving me time on caring about whatever your next sentence might be.
Between show prep and guest booking and general research, we put a lot of work into what we do. It is good to want the most people to recognize how talented you are and how hard you work.
What isn’t good is wasting time or mental health on people whose minds will never change. Before you stress about negative feedback, consider the source. It isn’t that listener feedback never matters, but if the content of that feedback includes complaints about how you see the hypothetical matchup between Jordan and LeBron playing out, then who cares?
Our new year resolutions are so often about what we can do to improve ourselves in the eyes of others: lose weight, make more money, etc. Now that 2018 has come to an end, take some time to focus on improving yourself in the eyes of yourself. Quit valuing the opinions of people whose opinions have no value.
Not everyone is going to agree with you, and there is a big chunk of people that will use a disagreement as justification for not liking you. That’s not a you problem. If a listener doesn’t like you because your show is boring, that is a criticism to value and grow from. If they don’t like you because you aren’t a blind homer or because your opinion on the best quarterback of all time doesn’t match up with theirs, then they have already made up their mind. Any time you spend trying to change it, is time wasted.