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?