I was wrong recently.
I mean, that implies that I have not been wrong until recently. I WILL CLARIFY!
I am wrong A LOT. With great frequency. Both on factual matters or subjective matters. Take the word subjective for instance! I use the word “objectively” the way people use the word “literally”: when it is quite untrue that what I’m saying is very much not objective. And though I sometimes use “objectively” that way with humorous and ironic intent, I have blurred the line so much in regards to it that who knows what I mean anymore?
Anyway, I was wrong in a movie critique recently. Upon watching and reviewing the new Robert Eggers film The Northman on Letterboxd, I gave it 1.5 stars out of 5, and most of my review was lambasting the flick for being an absurd rip-off of Hamlet. The character is on a misguided quest to avenge his father, who was murdered by his uncle! The character’s name is friggin’ AMLETH, for god’s sake! What tripe, right?
You can bet I Googled that!
And it turns out that HAMLET itself is actually derived from the story of Amleth, and I felt like a god damn schmuck when I read that and found it to be true. You just get so used to the idea that everything comes from Shakespeare that you forget Shakespeare read and adapted other material as well!
It was a weird feeling, though. I was provably wrong about something I had mocked a movie for, and someone pointed out the correct fact. And for the briefest of moments, I felt… not great! Like I was embarrassed or upset or something. Why is it that sometimes the opportunity to learn something is met with resistance? With the urge to… NOT learn that thing? I wanted to just blow off this reply and pretend I never saw it.
But that was dumb. That would be a dumb reaction.
So I admitted I was wrong after a few minutes, edited my Letterboxd review and score, and then poked fun at myself over the matter in my Monthly Movie Log here. I took my shin-kicking, smiled, and moved on. I still don’t LIKE the movie, but now I am more attuned to the fact that my problems with it are in the source material and not the movie itself.
(Assuming, of course, that the source material is the reason for the silly magic night-time sword and other weaker plot elements. And maybe why the valkyrie had braces. Look, I found out Amleth exists; I didn’t read his book, man)
Time was, as a younger and more hot-headed man, I might have given in somewhat to the initial negative feelings that were stirred up and just doubled-down on the whole thing. How? I am not sure. But vitriol finds a way! I’d have found something there to contend against.
As I get older, the desire to prove I’m right or care if I’m right has mostly dissipated. I’m FAR more likely to make sure my opinions on movies are prefaced with some sort of “Personally…” or “To me…” or “For my tastes…”. I not only only don’t care if people see what I’m saying is just my thoughts; I actively want them to know it. Sure, I think Midsommar is a trashcan people movie that has no appeal whatsoever and a story that could have been written by a drunk toddler, but other people like it, and I respect those people!
(I do not TRUST those people. But I respect them and their tastes! But if they were eating something and asked me to try it, I would politely but firmly decline a bite of their poop sandwich)
The funny thing is I’m MUCH more likely be A-OK with someone hating something I love than loving something I hate. You don’t like Pan’s Labyrinth? Oh man, I love it! But you do you! But if you enjoy Batman Vs Superman? I mean, that’s great for you, but I will side-eye you forever and ever while not saying anything untoward about your love for it.
And I think that’s where everything else comes along. Just as I don’t want to besmirch the taste of others, I strive to be the kind of person who can admit I am incorrect about something and accept that! I have changed my mind of dozens of political stances, for instance. I have believed something with all of my heart until… I got more information and a new perspective. Then I incorporate that into what I believed prior to that moment and tossed out what no longer made sense.
I like to think that, especially in such matters, I am constantly growing and processing new data. I didn’t have all the answers five years ago. I hope I don’t have all the answers now!
(Well, I mean, I HOPE I do because that would be rad as hell, but I’m sure I don’t)
That makes me a flip-flopper, I think.
But that’s all right!
(But if you ask me tomorrow, I might decide it ISN’T all right. Because I might flip flop. Oh no!)
Anyway, as I talk about my super awesome maturity and general level of life accetingness, I am reminded that it is May! Mental Health Awareness Month! I wrote on this last year around this time, and it remains an important issue for me.
I like that this is my perspective on life, this whole respect and growth and admitting I can be wrong stuff. It makes me feel better. It feels like positive development in and of itself. That Blue Lantern Corps tattoo is paying off!
The most important thing, though, is to take care of yourself. Never be ashamed to reach out to people around you or to admit you need help. I am always willing to help or listen or do what I can.
So until next time, as always, take care.