I’d like to take a few minutes and talk about opinions. I have a tough time with opinions, on one hand, a learned opinion can be a fun, revealing, and in some cases a life altering confabulation. On the other hand, you have the Internet. Ahhh the Internet, a collection of people all of whom have opinions and yet have no idea what they are on about. The worst time for this is the political season. Everyone becomes a literal expert on the workings of the US government. They couldn’t tell you the first three Articles of the Constitution or how many Amendments there are, but they feel qualified to weigh in on what Congress needs to do about the Supreme Court. They tell everyone they have ever met that they should be feeling a burning sensation or they are no longer friends. Foreign policy, basic human rights, and fence construction are simply no trouble at all when the Internet gets ahold of them.
Sports is another subject in which the blind continuously berate the blind. Less than a billionth of a percent of humans are talented enough to play a sport for money, yet billions of opinions are opined every day as to what these pros and pro teams should really be doing. At bar stools and checkout lines across the nation, “knowledge” is being espoused to anyone within earshot. You might find yourself asking, is this reasoned discussion at least? Not on your life it isn’t. It’s one horrible opinion after another. Once the dust settles and the soapboxes are stored neatly away, you realize that the worst part about these “fan” opinions is that they usually aren’t their own. They’ve just regurgitated something they heard on some awful radio program or SportsCenter. They can’t even take the time to think about what they are talking about, instead, they just vomit up something that Brock Salad said that morning during their long slog of a commute.
This leads me to the concept of fandom. Or better yet, extreme fandom. A fairly popular Baseball writer and Seattle native, took to Twitter recently to explain why she couldn’t enjoy Mike Trout. He doesn’t play for the Mariners… A generational player whom she can’t enjoy because he doesn’t play for “her” team. Living and dying by the outcome of one contest or team would, and does, make me insane. It breeds a concept of all or nothing, and it’s stupid. You live in “my” city and you’re not a fan of “my” team? Kill yourself. Oh, you aren’t from here? That’s cool then, but your still an idiot and I hate you. I find it a shame that if I want to go to a Mariners game, I must don the appropriate uniform or risk having food put on me. I might be ten times the Baseball fan as the drunk guy slurring insults at children, but it doesn’t matter, I’m wearing a Sacramento RiverCats hat. I know nothing about Guti or Boomstick. What sucks even more, is that I’m supposed to just know all of the things about a particular team or player because, ya know, ima dude. As a result, I have a disproportionate amount of knowledge regarding things I don’t care about.
All of this shouldn’t really be that surprising. If everyone had good opinions, we wouldn’t have the Prius or the Datsun Leaf cruising about. Porsche wouldn’t have made it out of the Seventies (feel free to assume they haven’t). Tom Douglas wouldn’t have nine hundred thousand restaurants, and the iPhone would be the only smartphone anyone uses. None of this is true, however. While this might be unfortunate, I don’t think I would like living in a world where everyone just got along. It would be boring and very quiet. Progress would stagnate and awesome stuff would never be born of terrible mistakes. Take the Prius, the shriveled husk of the promise for a better tomorrow has a direct hand in making the new Volvo line-up so amazing. Or the Koenigsegg Regera, or The Ferrari The Ferrari, or the McLaren P1. The BMW i8 only exists because people believed that they were saving the Universe by using two power plants in one vehicle. A terrible opinion on how to save the world led to arguably the best class of “mega-cars” ever.
This, of course, is just my opinion. Another idiot. Another blog post. Same ol’ internet.