This is the first of what will be many rants on this site. This is my loathing of sweeping generalisations. Now, I realise that sentence in itself is contradictory, but why is it that the people who are ignorant about something completely dismiss it? I am not saying that I have never made any sweeping generalisations myself (I have a number of times purely to wind people up). We are all guilty of it, but I try avoid them, and back any decision or opinion I have up with evidence.
I can relate this to the two things of which I am most passionate about; music and computing.
Let’s start with computing. I am a Linux user, I have been for a while. That’s not to say I hate Windows, I just find I am able to do things in Linux which I am not able to do in Windows. Therefore it is a tool which suits me best. However, invert the situation and ask some (not all, I don’t want to make huge sweeping generalisations myself) Windows users why they have never considered Linux. The answer on the whole is “Linux is hard”. Not only is that statement a broad generalisation, it is actually untrue. People have been using Windows for a number of years (even the exact same OS for 7 years!) and are used to it. That doesn’t mean it’s easier. These people have probably never used Linux in their life, or at least not properly. Yet they dismiss it.
I have never really touched FreeBSD, and have only played with Solaris on a relatively small scale. I don’t use them. I would not, however, go around slandering or libeling them. At the same time, I can understand why people would use Windows (application support, gaming etc..), but I think people need to open their minds to the fact there is an alternative and not immediately dismiss it.
My second point is music. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a metal fan (as well as rock, classical, jazz…). Something that irritates me are the people who dismiss it completely (particularly those snobs who think of it as a lesser art form) by saying comments such as “it’s just noise”. Have they heard every band? I’m a metal fan, and I wouldn’t claim to know all the different types. It is a huge genre. These people are again dismissing through ignorance. They think they know what it is like, and it all must be the same, therefore they don’t like any of it.
I realise in this case, labelling has a lot to do with it. Yes, all these music types come under the “umbrella” metal, but in fact there are many subgenres, and even within subgenres there are differences (eg. I really like Freedom Call but don’t like Hammerfall). I am making this point not because I think this is something that’s unique to metal music, but because it is something that isn’t. Everyday people/ideas/art forms are being judged because they fall into a category.
I am not trying to change people’s mind in this post, all I am trying to achieve is make people think twice before they completely dismiss something and to provoke thought.