I think that we all know, to some extent, that kids do really stupid stuff in order to get attention, approval, and to sound impressive. This is most annoying when the things that they have just done is either outright bad behaviour (especially when you are both aware that they are aware it is bad), and when they are being hateful.
It’s hard enough to give a stamp of approval when a kid comes to one with a baffling or stupid “achievement”. And I mean something like bringing a poisonous spider into the house to keep as a pet. Or saying something that you know didn’t even make sense to the speaker (this is actually my favourite attention-grab, but it does sound very awkward and I still have no clue how to respond to it, even though I genuinely think it’s funny).
The latest one I have come across, I would like to blame on the art of reviewing. Kids with smart phones come across the junior/Nickolodeon version of That Guy with the Glasses, and suddenly they think they are hot stuff, saying, “I hate that movie” and the like. This is so unfortunate, I hardly know where to begin.
First of all, I think I understand where it’s coming from. That’s why I brought up a notoriously negative reviewer by name. Personally, I don’t like his style. It’s all flailing and foul language, and often missing such a glaring point that the review comes off as a nonsensical, poorly informed opinion delivered from an already irritating man.
But I know I do that kind of thing too. Why would I turn my nose at any negative review? They are funny to read and to write. Everyone loves dumping on stuff they don’t like.
These kids are missing the point, though. They see someone else laughing and they don’t know why, so they imitate it so that they look even worse than a poorly informed reviewer. “I hate that movie” is not scathing criticism dripping with wit. It’s a nasty, spiteful opinion that in my experience, is based on nothing but “I’ve seen it too many times” or… the attempt to impress with the aforementioned, if nonexistent, scathing wit.
While trying to find a film that this particular child would let the group of four people watch, with the hope of a consensus, two people suggested Roman Holiday. Given that this child is obsessed with Pride and Prejudice (and to a lesser extent, other Jane Austen works), this is not such a long shot. The response? “It looks stupid.”
The opinion is based on nothing. This is a blind declaration of hate, and when confronted with a dissenting opinion in the form of, “I love this movie, Audrey Hepburn is a great actress and it’s very funny,” the first response is merely repeated, with the stupid grin waiting for a pat on the head.
It’s not fun to have someone answer every suggestion with “I hate that”. Having no reason just makes it worse, and being placed over a head poised for a pat is even more uncomfortable.