This is something that has been annoying me for a while now but recently it has been happening a lot more and I really really hate it. Here’s the thing. We are, all of us, fans of opera and the world that surrounds it: the productions, the singers, the orchestras, the conductors, the audiences, the opera houses, the music, the drama. And of course not everyone has the exact same opinions on it. Nothing has ever united the opinions of everyone. It’s a good thing, that we all think differently. It means that we can have discussions, we can think, we can see things differently every time and it is this that keeps opera alive. Disagreement is, in a way, how we show our love for opera. We want to talk about it, to share our ideas and to find out how others think about things. But we are all still united by love and interest for this art form. What I hate more than anything are the people who refuse this. Who try to force people out who don’t have their opinions. Who think that there is a ‘right’ answer to everything. The people that are rude and condescending and turn discussions about preferences into arguments about what is right and wrong.
Why do they do that? I don’t think I could ever just tell someone that their liking for art is ‘wrong’ and to correct them, like a parent telling off a child, about what they should and shouldn’t do or think. How are people so arrogant that they dare to think that their opinion, and only theirs, is right? This is art we are talking about. There is no ‘right’ and there is no ‘wrong’. Yet these people seem to live by the mantra that “Everyone is entitled to free speech and thought, except the other person.” Don’t they realise how rude and thoughtless they are being? Don’t they ever just stop and try to think from the point of view of the other people? I’ve tried to understand why people would act like this, but I just can’t. It doesn’t make any sense. I can’t imagine why someone would be so selfish as to try and deny other people the right to think.
I really love using the Internet to communicate with other opera fans. I have so many wonderful people I have got to know through Twitter and blogging. This is what the Internet is for – meeting people, making friends all over the world, sharing thoughts and stories and experiences. We should be united by our love for opera, not divided by our thoughts within it. Disagreeing is good, definitely. But sometimes it just gets out of control. Certain blogs (most of you probably know who I’m referring to here) don’t try to stop this and then the comments become a breeding ground for rudeness and bossiness. This isn’t just blogs – I see it a lot on YouTube and it just really upsets me. Can’t people just accept that they are all slightly different and settle down to enjoy opera together? Can’t love for this art form bring people together instead of causing anger? If these narrow-minded people had their way, Twitter would look something like this:
Person 1: Maria Callas was amazing.
Person 2: Yes, she was.
Person 1: I love hearing her sing.
Person 2: She was a wonderful actress as well.
Person 1: Oh, yes. Yes, I agree.
Person 2: I know you do.
How boring is that?! So please, share your thoughts. And listen to others. That’s just as important.