I have been known to annoy Yahoo! Answers’ bevy of unpaid cultural critics — and if ever there were people who deserved to be unpaid, it’s those people — by restating their original statement: “Shorter version: How dare you like something I don’t like?”
Expand this beyond mere entertainment choices, and you have something like this:
I do think “virtues” — which are often things that require effort on a person’s part, and are often things that go unnoticed and unsung — are harder, and are not as visible in our culture right now — as “morals,” or at least the sort of “public morals” that allows a person to snark at another, unknown person because that person is fat. Or because that person smokes. Or because that person dresses badly. Or whatever. It can even devolve into true stupidity — Lynn talked the other day about “how everything becomes a little war” and it is, exhaustingly so, like that. Even down to the “best” flavor or brand of ice cream. Or what television shows (if any — and that’s a whole OTHER Western Front) are worth watching. And again: it’s easy for a person to justify their choices in life by running down someone else’s, or telling that person they are bad, stupid, or wrong for the choices they make. And I just want to wave my arms around like a demented Kermit the Frog and scream “STOP IT! STOP. IT.” Because it just makes everyone feel worse, and doesn’t actually solve any problems.
I have, more than once, defended my stance by saying “I’m sixty years old and don’t have to give a ruddy rat’s ass about anyone else’s opinions.” Which is true enough; the tragedy, perhaps, is that it didn’t occur to me to say something like that at twenty-two.