Confused Views: A million inarticulate wastrels

Matt offers his very personal view on the online world. As usual, it's not for the easily offended...

Usual warning: if you’re easily offended, then Matt Edwards’ weekly Confused Views column isn’t the place to be…!

You, reading this. Yeah, you, at the keyboard. You think you’re pretty special, don’t you? You trawl the Internet looking for articles to add comments to so that you can grace the world with your opinion. We all trawl the Internet too, but we’re not looking for places to have our say, we’re specifically looking out for your opinions. That’s because you’re so bloody good. You’ve managed, with no research or education on any subject at all, to be the one person who’s right about everything. Film, music, politics – you’re right about it all. We need you to right all the world’s wrongs. You’re amazing, you are. Special old you.

If only that were true, eh?

In this age of the Internet, everyone gets their say. Thanks to sites like Ain’t it Cool News, CHUD, Bloody Disgusting and perhaps the most prestige of them all, Den Of Geek, self-professed film buffs across the world have found a way to express their opinions to an audience. Hollywood is presumed to be listening and absolutely everyone seems to be talking.

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The idea, I think, is that filmmakers now have a direct link to their audience. They can find out what the audience wants and put that into their films. It’s direct, unfiltered feedback from the end consumer. A perfect system.

Surely then, this is golden age of cinema. Right? No? Why not? Well, because it seems that, in most instances, this idea that the studios are listening isn’t actually true. There may be a rabble of shouty protesters on the pavement outside the building, but they’re difficult to hear or care about from the top floor. Also, it seems that,where people have been listened to, the end results have been…disappointing.

Specifically, as a contributor to this nonsense, you have to take some of the responsibility for Snakes On A Plane. What’s wrong with you, you bloody idiot? What were you thinking? And why did you make so much noise about Grindhouse? Getting the Weinsteins all excited about the Avatar-like box office haul the film was going to make. Why didn’t you point out to them that the loud Internet buzz wasn’t a lot of people making a little bit of noise each, but about eight of you over-excited buffoons shouting your heads off? And even then you didn’t pay to see it, because you had to download it illegally because the world couldn’t wait until the film was released to find out what YOU thought about it.

So this revolution in cinema that you were supposed to be bringing about thanks to the Internet – it’s not really happened. In fact, looking around my local Blockbuster and at the latest cinema listings, I’m inclined to suggest that, against almost insurmountable odds, you’ve actually managed to make things worse. You’ve created another group of people that filmmakers have to appease, and you don’t even have any practical filmmaking experience.

I think there are two main reasons that things have gone so wrong.

One reason is that most people, most of you, are awful idiots with nothing interesting or insightful to say. Not only that, but even if you did have something to say that was worth hearing you wouldn’t know how to express it. Throw in that under a cloak of anonymity everyone seems to think they’re either a superhero or a super villain, bringing justice to message boards and comments sections all over the interweb or making the most outrageous comments they can to get a response, and you’d have to concede that, essentially, the Internet is a wasteland. It’s like the diary of a million inarticulate wastrels.

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The other reason is that people don’t know the value of their opinions anymore. They sit at home and watch Pop Factor and get to choose what happens. They get to talk on the news as part of real factual reports to give their opinions. They can publish blogs. People receive constant reinforcement that their opinion is of equal worth to the next person’s, which means that an educated opinion is worth the same as an uneducated one. If you can’t see the problem with that, yours is the uneducated opinion.

It’s time to accept that your opinion isn’t worth anything. You don’t know about pop music, you shouldn’t be voting on X Factor and choosing the next big pop star. You don’t know about filmmaking, you shouldn’t be writing long winded diatribes about what professional filmmakers are doing wrong. You don’t know about economics, you have no business analysing the effects of Avatar‘s financial performance on the marketing of future blockbusters. You know about serving people overly-complicated types of coffee. When that topic comes up, that’s when we’ll be looking to you for input. When we talk about the menial nonsense you use to fill your day, we’ll be heading straight to you.

As a result of all of this, a good way to discuss films has been ruined by a collective of physically repulsive, sexually aggressive scum who’ve hijacked it so they can inform the world that they’d be willing to sleep with Scarlett Johansson or that they like Kat Dennings’ boobs. You only need to briefly glance at the things these heroically pathetic morons say to start considering a nuclear holocaust a pretty reasonable step forward for humanity.

But you know who really annoys me? The ones who have a small degree of success. A few people listen, but not many. People like me, who have a column and a few readers. People who have any number of words on display every week but nothing to actually say. I’m probably worse, worse even than you, because I think I can coast by on low brow humour and excessively wordy sentences.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking and, yes, you’re right. It was only a matter of time before I ran out of targets and turned on myself and my own column. I don’t think there’s anything else left to make fun of. So, it’s my turn; I’m a goggle-eyed, ill-informed idiot who overvalues his opinion and thinks he’s considerably funnier than he actually is.

What do I actually know about anything? Especially film, which is what this column is allegedly about. My knowledge of the filmmaking process is severely limited at best. I haven’t directed anything other than a few shorts nearly five years ago, and they were rubbish. I tried to make a film a few years ago and failed miserably. I don’t even spend that long writing these columns and the research that goes into them is always either faked or non-existent.

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So, to summarise, me and you are stupid and we should keep our opinions to ourselves, although we probably won’t. Have a nice weekend.