I watched the film “Twelve Years a Slave” the other day. While I thought it was an incredible story and a very well made film, there was something that held me back from loving the movie. I spent the following few days trying to figure out what exactly it was – whether I found it too violent, or too slow – but I soon came to realise that it was none of those things, rather it was the fact that everyone and everything had hyped the quality of the film to a level beyond what it deserved.
This got me thinking (dangerous, I know) about the concept of ‘hype’ and how it has the ability to ruin everything that is good in our lives. The second someone tells you that something is ‘good’, your reaction to that thing is doomed to be a comparison of their feelings. It doesn’t matter how good you are at blocking out their opinions, their viewpoint will always be sizzling in the back of your mind, poking at your senses, unconsciously and automatically inflicting their demons upon them.
It’s not just about films either.
“Here, take a sip of this drink, it’s amazing”
“I wasn’t a huge fan of that restaurant”
“I have a friend named Sam, I think you two would really hit it off”
That’s why I hate hearing what people think of films or books, especially ones that I’ve been looking forward to. I know that someone reading the Harry Potter series today would never enjoy it as much as I did when I first read them because of all the fanfare surrounding them these days.
Admittedly, hype could also have the opposite affect, especially when something has been hyped down. My most recent experience of this involved the city of Paris. I was always told that it was rather a disappointment – apart from the Eiffel tower and the Mona Lisa, there was nothing to get overly fussed about. Maybe this lowered my expectations of the city, but I ended up adoring that little town. Nonetheless, however, I am fairly sure I would have still really liked Paris if I had heard nothing about it. Imagine never having heard of the Eiffel Tower, and then seeing for the first time!
Every now and then, though, there comes the things in life that power through all the hype. They are different for everyone, I think, which is a peaceful thought. Maybe there are so remarkable to you that no amount of hype can overthrow the expectation. Things that give you that shivering sensation when you encounter them or make you learn forward and scream into your fist. I guess, maybe, it’s those things that keep us going, those things that make life worth living. Maybe that’s why we meet new people, see new films and visit new places – to see if life can gift us with another spine shivering moment.
Makes it all kind of worth it then, doesn’t it?