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Leave Folks to Their Joy

By Julie, not believing we haven’t had snow in Somerville yet!

Around the end of 2018 I noticed a couple of people posting on Facebook, letting people know they shouldn’t bother to see Mary Poppins Returns, and listing the reasons why. When folks disagreed, they shut them down. As someone who spent the last half hour of the movie weeping with joy, I disagreed. (The Balloon Lady!!) But I’ll admit, in a social media world that is often overly opinionated, those posts bummed me out.

I wasn’t sure why until I saw this post, which I shared last week and have been thinking about ever since.  Leave people to their joy. I’ve decided that I’m holding that idea close in 2019.

I’ve worked in the arts for over 30 years, and I’ve been a published writer since 2015. While I believe in the need for critics, I don’t believe in a binary “like/don’t like” rating system. Like something or don’t, but because you feel one way doesn’t mean folks who don’t agree are wrong. Of course, if you have a ton of experience in a genre or art form you will have a more informed opinion. But that doesn’t mean you “win” an argument.

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions, because I do. Strong ones. But here’s what I’ve noticed. I can go to a play with my critical hat on, and question a casting choice or a set design or a beat in the play. But if I’ll look around and see folks having a wonderful experience, does that make them wrong? Or even if there’s a “this isn’t great” consensus, a handful of folks may love the piece. Because they’re in the minority, does that make them wrong?

The arts are subjective. Have your opinion. Share your opinion, respectfully. Give reasons for your opinion. But don’t make someone feel badly for disagreeing with you. As my friend Marg-e used to say, that’s why they make different colored refrigerators. Not everyone agrees all the time.

Leave folks to their joy.

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