Friday, August 16, 2013

I thought about being offended

when I saw this movie review which says, "If the original felt like it was designed for adolescents, however, this follow-up feels like it was made by an adolescent, one with a whopping case of ADHD." The good folks at The Wrap liked that line so much, in fact, they used it again under the headline. I thought about being mightily offended, because ADHD is a neurological condition and not a lazy slang term meaning "poorly organized filmmaking."

It's also a fairly ill-informed thing to write, in that folks with ADHD tend to be extra-creative and frequently end up working in the arts (see my previous post on that); someone with ADHD isn't necessarily going to be a bad storyteller. They're more likely to be a wonderful storyteller who forgot to pay their electric bill five months in a row. Or a genius filmmaker whose clothes never match because he can't find the clean laundry.

This is additionally a pretty obnoxious thing for someone with ADHD to read, since the condition they've struggled with for a good chunk of their life is now being played for laughs in the service of trashing a summer movie sequel. Frankly trashing a summer movie sequel shouldn't even require so much work. If the movie were any good, it wouldn't be released in August. All you really need to write is "It's August and this is a sequel. Half a star. Moving on."

(Bear in mind, I liked the first "Kick-Ass." I thought it did a pretty good job being meta right up until the end when it didn't, and I love Chloe Grace Moretz because she is the coolest and I'll even go see her in the "Carrie" remake. But not even my liking for the first film can justify the existence of the second film.)

I'm not loving the fact that my son, who can read, and who's been known to read what I'm reading right over my shoulder, could stumble upon such a sentence right up there in a movie review. What's he supposed to think, the first time he sees something like that? Or the second or the third?

So I debated being offended. I considered going into full all-out self-righteous mode and trashing the writer eight ways from Sunday. And then I considered some more.

I'm not a huge fan of some people's tendency to get hysterically offended over every little thing. I don't necessarily want to be one of those people. It's no fun to be around, for one thing. They tend to get a "cry wolf" response after a while; people stop listening to them. For another, there are definitely better things in this society/this world/this century/etc. to get worked up about than the use of a word.

It's clueless and obnoxious to use "ADHD" like it's some sort of goofy slang word. But it's also a pretty good indicator of someone who isn't worth listening to. For instance, I will never seek out this writer's movie reviews again. And I think that's what I'm going to tell my son, the first time he sees or hears something like this: Now you know not to bother listening to this person, because they are ignorant.

You can't change the ignorant people. But you can decide how to respond to them, or whether to respond to them at all. And that, in a way, is sort of freeing. 

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