I didn’t plan on making this post. In fact, my plan for today was to talk about mockumentary television, but the lovely Daily Tar Heel has inspired something radically different.
If you’re not familiar with the Daily Tar Heel, it’s a newspaper that is distributed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and is widely read by students at UNC-Chapel Hill. I’m a student at UNC, by the way. The DTH is pretty respected. It’s thought of as a good paper. The DTH has these opinion-type sections called “Quickhits” and the “Kvetching Board.” The editorial team makes the Quickhits section. It’s mostly made up of snarky observations. Readers send in kvetches. They’re also snarky observations. All year I’ve had issues with these two sections. Here are a few examples:
You see the trend. The Daily Tar Heel loves to make fun of UNC’s Quidditch team. I have a fundamental problem with this. And yes, I am a member of the Quidditch team, so there’s some bias here, but my problem with this isn’t due to the fact that I’m on the team. I don’t care if people think I’m weird for the things I enjoy. I realized a long time ago that my taste was “geeky,” and I would get some crap for that. Truly, it doesn’t bother me. My issue with this is bigger than being offended for the Quidditch team. My issue is with the obsession society seems to have with bullying people because of their passions.
And yes, it is bullying. I have no doubts about that. When the readers and the editorial team of a paper publish negative comments in nearly every paper about one specific group of people, it’s bullying. And it’s wrong. It’s not ok to make fun of someone for something that they care about. That’s never going to be ok.
If you make fun of someone for being passionate, then the person with the problem is you.
Playing Quidditch doesn’t hurt anyone. Being a really big fan of Harry Potter doesn’t hurt anyone. It. Doesn’t. Hurt. Anyone. Do you see the point I’m trying to make here? If people are doing something that they enjoy, and they’re not hurting anyone, then it’s fine. It’s better than fine, really. It’s great.
Passion should be encouraged, not mocked. Passion is the reason anything amazing gets done. Passionate people are forward thinkers, innovators. Hell, passionate people are the kind of people who go to schools like Carolina. So does it make sense to mock these people for their passion? No. Not at all.
Just because someone loves something that you may not love doesn’t mean they’re wrong. God, I can’t stress that enough. I don’t like jazz music. I really, really don’t like it. But do I think that anyone who enjoys jazz is wrong? Of course not. It’s more likely that I just have plebeian taste in music. The same thing applies for people who really love Harry Potter, and decide to take part in Quidditch. Just because you don’t think it sounds like a good time, doesn’t mean other people are wrong for loving it.
Besides, loving Harry Potter is a positive thing in itself. Harry Potter is well written. It’s profound literature that encourages love, kindness, the importance of friendship, and good triumphing over evil. It’s a series that encouraged an entire generation to read. And reading is awesome. Not to mention it’s just a kickass story. Harry Potter is a snarky, wonderful character who shows that heroes are flawed, too. Hermione breaks down all kinds of antifeminist barriers. Ron is the purest example of loyal friendship you’ll find. Snape represents bravery, and fighting for what’s right even if it means you have to give your life for it. Hedwig is… Look, I’m getting off topic here. I could go on and on, but the point is, Harry Potter is great, so don’t make fun of people who really love it, because they have good reasons to do so.
Don’t make fun of anyone. It’s pretty simple. When you want to be a douchebag because you think that someone’s harmless interest is “weird,” just don’t. Just don’t be a douchebag. That’s all you have to do. Think those rude thoughts in your own head, and then send them away. Don’t voice them. Even if people laugh at your douchebaggery, deep down they’re probably just thinking about how you suck as a person.
Stop making people feel bad for loving things.
Stop mocking passion.
Just live and let live, you bastards.