Why Did This Bother Me?

This past weekend I was at a Christmas party that my friend hosted.  I had a great time, except for one incident that really bothered me.

Someone had brought their boyfriend and he was … well … interesting.  I almost want to describe him as a condescending, arty geek.  The whole problem with him was the fact that he was very stubborn in his mindset and believed himself to be the expert on everything.  It wasn’t an obnoxious, Gilderoy Lockhart presumptuousness, but a look-down-his-nose-at-you type of person.

I try not to judge, I really do.  I’ve mentioned this before and we’ve all been there when people will judge you based on what you like, what you wear, etc.  But this guy just drove me crazy with his superior attitude.

My main contention was at a point when Lord of the Rings came up in conversation.  Keep in mind, there was no mention of Star Wars at all before this point.  He was rambling on in his skittish way, not really looking at anyone in the little group, when he said, “Anyone who is still clinging to Star Wars as the best movie trilogy is a dying breed.  Everyone knows that Lord of the Rings far surpasses it in composition, direction, editing and effects.  I just can’t understand those people who still like Star Wars, and I’m an artist so I know about these things.”

Yes.  He willingly labeled himself as an artist.

Two things went on in my head here.

First of all, you can’t label yourself as an artist like that.  It just doesn’t work.  It makes you look like you’re bragging and you’re out to prove to people that you are what you’re not.   It would be like if I brought up in a sentence “Well, I’m a geek, so I know about this stuff.”  Never, ever would I say something like that because it also invites competition from others who might actually know more than you.  And then you look like a fool.  You convince people that you’re knowledgeable about a subject by what you say, not how you label yourself.  I guess the problem with his declaration was also that he wasn’t specific.  He did not say “I analyze movies on the side” or “I am a sculptor”…it was just so vague and the statement was intended to give weight to his sentence, but honestly, it just backfired.

Secondly, I couldn’t figure out if I should break my vow of never arguing with someone about Star Wars.  I swore a long time ago that I would not try to argue someone into liking Star Wars or argue with them that it is the best movie in the world, etc.  I feel like you end up driving them further away from enjoying the movies if they perceive you as a crazy fan as opposed to letting everyone have their own feelings.  What bothered me about this interchange is that his girlfriend said to me, “Wait, aren’t you a big fan of Star Wars or something?”  My husband was looking at me, just waiting to see if I would let loose on this guy.  Nope.  I simply said, “Yes, I love the movies.”

Artist just looked at me with barely masked contempt and said, “Ugh, I don’t get it, so dumb,” and then went into another three-minute spiel about Lord of the Rings and how outstanding they are.

Should I have broken my promise to myself?  I guess what bothered me is that he didn’t ask me why I love the movies so much or invited a friendly debate on Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars.  He wanted to state his opinion and that was that.  For the record, I love both movies a lot.  But they are also completely separate, incomparable trilogies in my head with different genres and histories.

Mostly, I shrugged it off and enjoyed the rest of the evening.  Yet I kept coming back to it yesterday, annoyingly wondering if I should have said something and vacillating between the thought that it wasn’t worth it.  Should I have defended the greatest trilogy of all time and thereby maybe inadvertently breaking my vow and getting into a debate about it?

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4 thoughts on “Why Did This Bother Me?

  1. Sounds like he was pretentious wanker – not sure if that term is suitable in the US – but I wouldn’t worry about it. People are what people are and sometimes you just have to accept it and hope you never meet them again.

  2. This may be a weird correlation, but this actually reminds me of a wisdom teaching of Jesus’, specifically about party etiquette. It goes that Jesus was talking to the movers and shakers of his day, and said that when you’re invited to someone’s house and people are starting to take seats at the table without any real direction don’t go for the most honorable seat. If the host comes up to you and says, “Sorry, friend but this place is meant for another”, you would look like a fool. But if you assume a less auspicious position, when you’re called by the host, “Friend, move up here and sit at my side to the place you are due” how much more honor would you receive?

    I guess what I see is this guy was giving himself honor by assuming superiority over others and their interests. How can someone even say one trilogy is definitively superior to another in a media as subjective as film, where everything is a matter of taste and opinion? Oh, right because he’s “an artist” thus being granted authority over the whole of creative endeavors.

    In contrast, your response was humble and gracious. Other people there, your husband and friends, know that you’re passionate about Star Wars and yet you didn’t make this a point of contention. You allowed him to have his puffed up moment in the sun, and the people who know you best, whose opinions actually matter, respect you for your humility.

    To bring this back around to some appropriate subject matter, I think your response would be more of the Jedi response. A Jedi would choose her battles, be humble in moments of contention, and allow actions and demeanor to speak louder than a conflagration of words.

    • I like that I had a Jedi response! I’m over it now, but it definitely bothered me for a few days.

      I actually don’t remember that story/parable in the Bible, and I do read it almost every night – so that is a little sad. It sounds vaguely familiar but I could have just glossed over it because I couldn’t apply it to my life. Until now muahahaha (no need for evil laugh but I feel I have to always insert it after “until now”)!

  3. I figured I was coming late to the party, so to speak, but those were the thoughts that hit me once I did get around to reading it. So, I figured I’d throw in my two cents. The story is heavily paraphrased from Luke Chapter 14. I always feel like walking on eggshells when bringing up faith on a sci-fi based site, so nice to know the Bible isn’t frowned on here.

    So… Today this Star Wars blog, tomorrow THE WORLD!!! ahem. Natural reaction to evil laughter…

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