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I Don't Watch Game of Thrones


You know what’s funny? Everyone I know watches this show. That’s cool. But I want to understand something about this whole thing. Is there some special kind of offense that GoT fans take when you don’t watch it?

This is it: there seems to be this sense that I’m flaunting the fact that I don’t watch the show. Or that someone doesn’t watch the show. It’s like they want people to say “I don’t watch that show,” so they can be offended by it.

First, there’s no particular reason I don’t watch it. I guess I wasn’t a huge fan of the books. I read the first two and just didn’t feel compelled to continue. On paper, it seems like the perfect show for me. I love all that sword and medieval combat shit. Dragons? Hell yeah, sign me up. But… I just haven’t gotten around to it. And this doesn’t mean that I won’t ever watch it. I just am not that interested at the moment. And it seems like people are really offended by this.

But this got me thinking. Maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. Are there anti-GoT people out there bragging about how much they don’t watch Game of Thrones? Maybe as an outsider, I just don’t notice because it’s not on my radar. I’ve never seen it. But Fans Of Things are usually hypersensitive to people being critical of the Things. For example, I play fantasy football in a league with some friends and family. We take it moderately seriously. There’s a modest buy-in and a non-trivial payout for the winner. As a result, during the football season, I watch a lot of football. And right away at the beginning of the season, there’s a whole lotta posts from people talking about how much and how often they don’t watch “sportball!”

That’s not even a real sport, guys. Come on!

The deliberate bragging about not being interested in something that other people are interested in is a really weird thing. It’s exacerbated by social media, of course. And perhaps amplified by it. One question that bears asking is: to what extent is it just a vocal minority of people that are just, like, super proud of themselves for not having watch GoT or an MCU movie and to what extent is it that people who are Fans of Things are just hyperaware of that minority? Because I know it’s not my entire facebook feed that is posting about how awesome GoT is. And I know it’s not me or anyone that regularly shows up on my feed bragging about how so not into GoT they are. But I am aware of the handful or so people who don’t watch football and are super proud of themselves about it.

I’d like to say that there’s a solution to this conundrum. But I don’t think there is. I mean, it would be super cool if people could just, like, shut the fuck up about not being into things that other people are into. But they’re not ever going to do that. Maybe people just haven’t figured out how to comport themselves on social media. An offhand comment about GoT made over drinks at a pub don’t have the emotional force of a meme or a facebook post. Even if it was just dashed off in a moment of…whatever…peevishness? We are viscerally affected by the power of memes, and that power should not be taken lightly.

Social media is fundamentally altering the way we interact with each other. I think we all get that. But it is also fundamentally altering the way we interact with our godsdamned hobbies! The Things we are Fans of are on full display. We display them proudly. And apparently, we occasionally mock each other for it. In passive-aggressive meme-form. And maybe we should all just figure out how to either be cool with that. Or stop being jerkbags.

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