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This is a Caturday post, but in the most roundabout way possible.
The other day, a music video hit my Facebook stream. It was a video I had never seen, and song I had never heard. The video was Nickelback’s This Afternoon. The video quickly arrives at a scene in which someone brings a band they’ve kidnapped to play at a party intending to prove that “the Nerd Brigade knows how to rock.” The organizer is disappointed to see that the band is Nickelback. This is a brilliant moment of self-awareness that’s lost on society today. No one seems to be able to laugh at themselves anymore, especially when it comes to politics and religion.
But that’s not my point.
This got me thinking, yet again, about how everyone hates Nickelback. There’s even been a “scientific study” done to prove this is the case. And yet, Nickelback was, as of January 25, 2017, the 11th Best-Selling Band In History. How do you explain the discrepancy? It’s simple: This is yet another example of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. A bit more formally, this is yet another example of the statistical fallacies people commit when analyzing data. In the YouTube generation, a single point of data is often used to extrapolate a broad rule. Confirmation bias also plays a factor, of course, and people don’t appreciate the fact that their specific search command loads the data. For example, if you Google “eating sauerkraut on ice cream,” you’ll find plenty of stories on it, and if you leave your blinders on, you’ll ignore the fact that almost all of those stories are reporting the same phenomenon originating from the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania region.
But again, I’m drifting from my point.
The truth is that Nickelback is, in fact, very popular (or at least was), and is probably still well loved by those that grew up with it (much my love of Rush, Fleetwood Mac, etc. doesn’t fade with time). So why is it that the only people you see in your streams are the haters? Consider this: How many of you (myself absolutely included) have criticized people for talking about home much they like CrossFit, veganism, or, well, Nickelback? Anytime someone does, they get blasted. There are countless social media posts asking which fan group is the most annoying of the bunch. That drives positive comments underground. On the other hand, we welcome the hatred people spew for just about anything. It’s probably seen as “edgy” or “raw.” It’s really just dickish. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be allowed to be dickish. Here’s another example, and it’s the one example where hate is criticized.
As a free speech nut, I’m completely fine with you spewing your hate; I just have a problem with the weakness society has embraced allowing your hate to cause them to self-censor themselves. No one’s opinion is more entitled to be voiced than any other’s. The second we abandon that principle, everyone will be censored. You need support for that assertion? Look around you, America. It’s everywhere. But the fact that this phenomenon favors hate is a bit disturbing and explains how we get the impression that beloved things are largely hated.
Full disclosure: I shamelessly admit that I like (don’t love) Nickelback. It may appear that I’m trying to do the same thing, saying I like Nickelback because everyone else supposedly hates it, thus turning around the attempt to sound counter-culture on itself. However, I’ve often said that when asked about guilty pleasures. Nevertheless, Nickelback is not a guilty pleasure. I’m far from alone.
If you don’t like Nickelback (or anything else), that’s fine, but holding them up as a poster child for what’s wrong with music is stupid. If there’s something wrong with modern music, it’s a trend among all the bands, but there’s isn’t. Popular music is popular because it’s what people want to hear, and not all of it is as formulaic as is claimed. Take it from this old fogey: No one cares what the old people think. As a demographic, you don’t have a lot of disposable income, but even if you do, you aren’t spending it on new things. Don’t become your parents. Stop hating on what the young-uns want. You’ll be dead soon, and the only people left will be the young-uns. While you’re at it, stop basing your worldview on one video or article.