Cynicism is killing us

Columns

by Ramon Razo, Managing Editor

Photo courtesy of Otaku.com

After 14 years, “Kingdom Hearts 3” is finally out. You can read my review on schoolcraftconnection.com It’s an OK game that is missing any sort of depth. Those who aren’t crazy about the game are usually met with the similar responses, one being that nothing can live up to the hype.

For me, this wasn’t about hype. I let go of it being some masterpiece way back when the production of the game seemed to imply it’d never come out. No, the issue is just that it just has major issues. “Hype” should never be a benchmark by which you critique a piece of entertainment. “Infinity War” had 18 movies behind it and entire decade of buildup, and regardless of what you think of that, the film is way better than it deserves to be from a structural sense, but I get it. With the rise of “nerd rage” from media outlets like YouTube, it’s easy to see why so many automatically assume that any sort of pop culture criticism is drawn from being not analytical, but from being cynical.

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not disparaging content creators like the Angry Video Game Nerd, or others who make video essays. The former, James Wolfe, is playing a character, and folks like Lindsey Ellis, Super Eyepatch Wolf and MovieBob while all have enjoyed the occasional negative review or sacred cow roast, their analysis of entertainment is that: analysis, coming from a general love of the respective mediums, even if their outlook the given piece is not favorable. See MovieBob’s two hour long dissection of “Batman v Superman” for such an example.

When I talk about cynicism, I’m talking about people who can’t remove the tongue-in-cheek joy of occasionally relishing in a “so-bad-it’s-good” outing (like “The Room” or “Catwoman,”) and things like obsessing over nitpick, making judgement calls about a piece of entertainment before they are able to get a grasp on it, being under the assumption that simply being negative toward what is popular is the same as being analytical, etc. The problem with this is that unnecessary cynicism has begun to ruin what we are supposed to love.

While “The Last Jedi” isn’t perfect, the obsession that these films are a campaign against certain demographics ended up (allegedly) not only causing “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” a movie that should have been a hit, to flop, thus causing other spin-offs that fans wanted, such a Boba Fett film, to be canceled.

We as a consumer populace don’t need to settle for bad entertainment, but this nature of nitpick and obsessions over what can go wrong is causing a lot of popular culture to turn from actual storytelling, innovation and entertainment, and instead, it is spiraling into a reflex of these bizarre cynical obsessions such as the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast” obsession with addressing every “issue” every Cracked.com style list had with a 90 minute cartoon. A love of pop culture should stem from love, not marinate in negativity toward everything not good enough.