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  "It turns out personal taste is a matter of taste."

A fan is shocked to find that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has made so much money!

Surely the low Rotten Tomatoes rating should have tipped viewers off. Okay, even if they didn't care about those, surely they would have seen how horrible it was for themselves after the first weekend. What are they? Sheep?

Conversely, how could Serenity or Scott Pilgrim not have made loads of money? Okay, people didn't know about them, but surely word of mouth would have carried.

Well, the truth is that some people genuinely like Michael Bay movies such as Transformers, and that works like Firefly just don't appeal to everyone. If the fan can't or won't understand that, then they have Opinion Myopia.

This, by the way, is pretty much the original definition of the word bigotry. A bigot was once simply someone who wouldn't allow anyone else to have an opinion that differed from their own. The older definition has become semi-obsolete now, but it still turns up on occasion (for example, repeatedly in the play version of Inherit the Wind).

The formal academic term for this phenomenon is "the false consensus effect."

Fan Hater and Complaining About People Not Liking the Show are Sub Tropes, where some seem to take offense at differing opinions.

Compare Fan Myopia (thinking a work is more popular than it is), It's Popular, Now It Sucks, He Panned It, Now He Sucks, Broken Base, Bias Steamroller, and Vocal Minority.

Contrast Your Mileage May Vary (recognizing an opinion isn't shared).

Examples of Opinion Myopia include:


Comic Books Edit

  • If your only exposure to the various books in the X-Men line is the Uncanny X-Cast podcast, you'd get the impression that it's just accepted that X-Force is the only consistently good book in the line, X-Factor is entirely useless, and Greg Land is a wonderful artist. Start with virtually any other online reviewer and you'll come away with the impression that it's a universally accepted, scientifically proven fact that X-Force is rubbish and X-Factor is the only X-book worth reading, and that it's literally impossible NOT to believe that blindness would be preferable to having to look at Greg Land's art. It's not that both sides disagree, it's that they seem completely unaware that anyone in the world holds the other opinion.

Music Edit

  • People who talk about what is and what isn't 'real music' or how 'there isn't any good music anymore'. If someone has heard examples of a genre that they dislike they will automatically write off the whole genre as bad and 'how can anybody listen to it?'
  • Do not mention you like mp3s to anyone who uses FLAC. They will give you a long lecture about how you obviously aren't a real fan of music because you can't tell the difference.
  • In a similar manner, don't tell serious vinyl collectors (the kind who file stuff away) about how you listen to your records. Expect a massive diatribe if you casually mention you opened a sealed record without having another sealed copy filed away.
  • People who refuse to share rare music on the grounds that they have something hardly anyone has are like this. Especially when someone else shares their copy of the same material and says they're doing it because they want to make people happy.

New Media Edit

  • Any Message Board that is enforcing conformity in opinions will likely have this. Any Message Board aimed at a particular group or interest will have the majority of posters holding the opinion and any poster who doesn't will tend to be the type to post on message boards they specifically disagree with.
  • Any Message Board / blog with a sufficiently strict moderation / comment policy will be accused of this. How dare the owner of the blog decide that some opinions are not worth hosting and some people not worth arguing with. Let's leave it at that.
  • Vitriolic reviewers and reviewers who point out Unfortunate Implications present in works get this a lot.
  • This is one of the main reasons that the Television Without Pity forums maintain strict "no talking about the boards on the board" and "Talk about the posts, not the other posters" policies. Posts like "I don't get why everybody wants her to win" or "What's wrong with all these people who don't like him?" will net at least a warning and possibly a ban.
  • This overlaps often with Critical Dissonance. Many reviewers, especially Video Game reviewers, seem to think that because their tastes are limited, that means that any game they review should be strictly along those.
    • A very notable example are the reviews of Grand Theft Auto IV, which gushed about recreating a living, breathing world, while minimizing the gameplay and technical issues, which were noted strongly in user reviews.
    • A common form is if they think the content of a game is "kiddie", they will put that well above if the gameplay is any good, how the game performs, replay value, and other factors that would appeal to many gamers more than whether a game is kiddie or not. Because they don't like kiddie games, it's clear no one else will.
  • One game reviewer talked about this, stating more or less, what while most reviewers talk about what the game is, what you do, and why they thought it was fun, a truly good reviewer also talks about why you the reader might like it.
  • Parodied in the Onion article "Man Who Enjoys Thing Informed He Is Wrong".
  • Sort of an example on this very wiki; we tend to be very much against any implication that Joss Whedon is not the rightful inheritor of all under heaven. We did, after all, begin life as a fan site.
    • Also, the vast majority of debates on the fora. Probably best not to go onto detail.

Other Edit

  • Shipping wars. So many vicious, seething, blood-boiling wars have been launched because so many fans could not comprehend how anyone could not support their One True Pairing. Noe even fans who don't ship them with anyone or have no interest in shipping will be spared, because shippers believe that their OTP champions true everlasting love and if you don't agree with them, then you must not believe in love.

Professional Wrestling Edit

  • The Internet Wrestling Community, or the IWC. As a whole, they tend to favor wrestlers with a higher "workrate." At times, this tends to conflict with who's actually over and receiving a push in various promotions.

Video Games Edit

  • The JRPG/WRPG debate tends to veer towards this, especially when the "freedom vs. story" conflict is mentioned.
  • Often with long running series, series that's mostly "Japan-Only" or series with didn't gain popularity until a later installment. Punch Out is often thought of as the FIRST in the series despite actually being the THIRD counting the arcade installments. However most gamers grew up playing the series on the NES and telling them otherwise leads to touchy debate. Similarly, Star Ocean: The Second Story was thought to be the first in the series by some fans before the PSP remakes came to be. Keep in mind, the Save Data screen actually SAYS the game is "Star Ocean 2" and fans considered it to be the first.
  • When gameplay elements are more recognized from one game series because it's POPULAR, despite deriving its system from another lesser known game. For instance, Quick-Time Events are USUALLY credited to "God of War" despite "Shenmue" being the game that made it fashionable... once again. I say "once again" because this type of gameplay element is reminiscent of Laserdisc based arcade games like "Dragon's Lair".

Western Animation Edit

  • A case of inverse Opinion Myopia: the general feedback loop of "Oh my God, grown men like My Little Pony now?!"/"Yeah, we like My Little Pony now, what are you gonna do about it?" has led many bronies to forget that the show has just as many fans in its target demographic (that is, small children, especially of the female variety) as it does grown men and women, which occasionally causes friction when people who haven't forgotten this ask them to try and make their...not quite work safe material a little less accessible for the young'uns. Which has apparently led to the newly-penned of the "Brony Pledge", which is less a "pledge" and more of a "stern reminder from one of us to the rest of you". Which, admittedly, is in and of itself rather more decorum than one usually sees from fandoms that have an excess of Rule 34.

Real Life Edit

  • Any religion, world-view, lifestyle choice or other strongly-held view does have examples of this, although it is by no means universal.
  • This seems to be Truth in Television as far as American politics are concerned. Generally news networks that tend to favor one position will consider the opinion of anyone who does not share their position to be wrong, stupid, and/or morally corrupt simply by virtue of not sharing their position. This extends to political discussions. There's a weirdly specific example in the UK, where not only the media but politicians in Parliament will dismiss an opponent's suggestion by branding it with the painfully childish words "barmy" or "loony". Often no workable alternative is suggested, or reasons given that the idea is "barmy": the proposal is insane because the speaker says it is.
  • Virtually universal among anyone who discusses politics on the web as well. If you're liberal, expect to be derided by conservatives as a baby-killing, valueless, faithless monster...who is actively trying to destroy America. If you're a conservative, you'll be derided by liberals as a 'teabagging', sanctimonious, callous hypocrite...who is actively trying to destroy America. That a small but loud faction on either side actually fits these stereotypes doesn't help matters.
  • Centrist positions aren't terribly safe on the internet either; usually nothing riles up both than someone who doesn't have an "angel vs. devil" view of the spectrum. Between the Hard Left and Right, you'll either get called a weakling for not being with either or against either or just hiding under the label. It's fair to say no side (even if it's NOT a side) is safe on the internet. As with the liberal and conservative extremes, there are some centrists who flatly state arguing alongside the centrists with genuine valid arguments which doesn't help.
    • Moderates within American political parties often face this from their own party members. Right now as of the recent 2012 GOP primaries, moderate Republicans are getting hit with it the most, with the more conservative members of the Republican Party accusing more moderate GOP'ers of being "secretly liberal and trying to infiltrate the party"...even if they only hold ONE liberal opinion. Moderate Democrats get it too though, with more liberal Dems often fuming at the moderate Dems for not being fully on-board with their beliefs; Senator Joe Lieberman, for instance, has a neoconservative view of foreign policy but is actually reliably liberal on most other issues, but by now has been pretty much disowned by the Democratic Party.
  • In certain debates that have got even more polarised than usual (religion and abortion being obvious and overlapping examples), anyone who doesn't 100% agree with one side will be treated as the worst example of the other, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. So a pro-choicer who thinks that the time limit for abortion should be slightly reduced will be treated as a misogynistic religious lunatic by other pro-choicers, while someone who is generally anti-abortion but thinks it should be allowed in extreme cases will be told by other anti-abortion people that they're secretly in cahoots with the "baby-killers."
  • Non-voters are often villainized for not wanting to decide the future of their country/state/city, etc. Politics tends to be complicated, by design, yet if someone doesn't think they're informed enough to make a good choice, or that they simply see no significant difference between the candidates, they might as well be peeing on the flag for all the respect they get.[1]
  • After Richard Nixon was re-elected in a landslide, Pauline Kael was reported to have commented that she couldn't understand how it happened: nobody she knew had voted for him! (In fact, it was a Beam Me Up, Scotty misquote from a speech where she admitted how alienated she was from Middle America because she didn't know many people who voted for Nixon.) It's commonplace for divisive and/ or "sectional" political figures to be almost universally loved in one region and almost universally despised in another: for instance, not many New Yorkers will admit to admiring Sarah Palin at a party, whereas she seems to be extremely popular with residents of some other states.
  • Ironically for Nixon, who was elected by a huge landslide in 1972. In August, 1974, a few days before he resigned, Gallup had as a poll question "Did you vote for Nixon in 1972?" - there was a 0% Answer to 'Yes'!
  • During the 2008 U.S. Presidential election this perhaps reached its height. There were people on either side who considered it impossible for an intelligent, thinking person to vote differently from them. As in expressing shock and dismay that someone could do such a thing. South Park parodied this in the episode that aired the night after the election, in which Obama voters had drunken parties and waited for happiness and perfection to happen, while McCain voters tried to kill themselves or hide from the end of the world. Of course, this being South Park, the hysteria was in fact all part of a plan to distract Americans for twelve hours...
  • Mocked, of course, by Stephen Colbert. Simply thinking that Bush Jr. was a great President rather than the greatest President is enough for him to declare you wrong about everything else.
  • Douglas Hofstadter, in his various works on human cognition, has discussed how this phenomenon impedes our ability to understand other people. He admits to some examples of his own-- for instance, being unable to comprehend how anyone could dislike chocolate and enjoy liver. (Admitting you have Opinion Myopia is the first step to overcoming it.)
  • Anything on the Internet. It's scary what people will do if you disagree with them and they aren't anywhere near you physically. A peculiar situation occurs when an opponent of X will enter a discussion with its proponent, only to end it after a while with "you are a proponent of X, therefore your view is biased and this debate is pointless". It's extremely common for people on the Internet to dismiss any kind of media that includes something they do not agree with as "propaganda." Putting aside the fact that in many cases, the word is applied to works that obviously do not fit its definition, it's rare for such people to admit that media supporting their beliefs would equally be considered propaganda.
  • Hilaire Belloc wrote about being amused how British internationalists like Shaw and Wells always seemed to think that transcending petty national distinctions went along with extremely British things like the diction of the Jacobean translation and five o'clock tea. He was exaggerating (that was kinda his hat), but there really is an element of "everyone's actually just like me" in the international peace movement, both of his time and since. He also thought it was really funny how disgusted people like the aforementioned always were whenever, say, the French, demonstrated that they didn't always agree with British Fabians on everything. Chesterton put this much more succintly in "The World State":

  "Oh, how I love humanity/With love so pure and pringlish./And how I hate the horrid French,/Who never will be English."

  • This tends to be quite a issue during debates on which sports are better as well that those internationally that wonder why that sport is so popular in that country. This doesn't happen much with popular sports domestically (ex. American football and baseball in the U.S.) although it does happen, but it comes up way too often between two foreign sports. The most prominent example: Football/Soccer. Not many Americans are really big when it comes to watching the sport; which would be fine since everything can't be liked by everyone, but many just can't stand that fact. Though there are Americans that are guilty of Complaining About Shows You Don't Like and acting as though people are idiots for liking it. Naturally, this bunch tends to drown out Americans with legitimate complaints about the sport and Americans that love the sport. And then there's Soccer fans complaining about America's preferences towards American Football, Baseball, Basketball, and even Ice Hockey, as well as the actual sport themselves, even if they know nothing about them. There's a lot of debates between any two sports or so (and it's not limited to the above), but these debates....rarely go too well.
  • One of the most common symptoms of this malady in fans of various embattled celebrities is repeated use of the phrase "you're just jealous" around those celebrities' critics.
    • Another commonly used phrase is a variation on "I don't get the obsessive hate for That Thing I Like," especially when the so-called obsessive hate is little more than mild mocking, criticism or even just disinterest. The person uttering this phrase is utterly baffled and saddened that not everyone can recognize how wonderful That Thing I Like is, and such an attitude must surely be either a failure to recognize greatness or a character flaw on the part of the mocker, critic or disinterested party (variations on "you must be a really unhappy person because you spend all your time hating That Thing I Like" are also common). The notion that if something is heavily disliked by a lot of people, there's probably a good reason for it doesn't cross anyone's mind.
  • Parenting. God help you if you happen to have a different opinion on how to care for and raise your child, because someone, somewhere, will think that you are a horrible person who is destroying your child's life. There is no room for 'disagreement' with these people -- you either parent the "right" way or you're a child abuser. Parenting forums can get incredibly vicious in particular, such as one forumer saying that a woman should have her child taken away because she didn't breastfeed.
    • Parents vs. Childfree. Some parents seem unable to conceive that you could not want to have children (which does NOT equal to hating children), and some childfree are no better by calling them "breeders" or equally-disparaging monikers.
    • The Hospital Birth vs. Home Birth debate. Home birthers are irresponsible and putting themselves and their children at risk. Women who give birth in hospitals are "out-of-touch with their bodies" and total slaves to Big Medicine. Particularly vehement within any feminist forum.
    • Gender roles are another big one in parenting. If you want to raise your kid to disregard gender roles, have fun fielding all the comments/gifts/backseat-parenting from people out there who have very rigid ideas about what little boys and little girls should be/do/like (not to mention the teasing she or he will get at school if you go too far in this direction). And if you prefer traditional gender roles, be prepared for some more liberal/feminist people to treat you like you're no less than psychologically abusing the kid.
    • Jeff Vogel, of Spiderweb Software fame, wrote an amusing log detailing his first daughter's first 4 years of life. In the epilogue, his lists some things he's learned, one of which is "For almost every possible question you can have about parenting, you can find two books which will tell you, with no room for argument, two completely opposite answers."
    • This is pretty much the bread and butter for shows like Wife Swap.
    • Child leashes. If you use one, you're a horrible monster who treats their children like animals. If you don't use one, you're irresponsible and your child could get hit by a car/kidnapped by a stranger at any moment because of your negligence.
    • Case in point: mention Amy Chua anywhere and the result will make Hell look like a birthday cake.
    • It's gotten to the point where some are starting to add "parenting" after "politics, religion and sex" in the list of things that are not appropriate dinner-table conversation.
  • The death penalty. While more liberal-minded people tend to think of it as the most horrid and anachronistic punishment men could come up with, more conservative individuals have their problems seeing the point in a judicial system that dispenses with the possibility of using just and final retribution on truly despicable beings. And of course, both seem unable to relate to the other position.
  • Example from American Gun Politics: if you are pro-gun, then you are a crazy redneck who wants the streets to run red with the blood from Wild West shootouts. If you are anti-gun, then you are a wimpy pussy who not-so-secretly wants to take away everyone's rights. Like the earlier political examples, it doesn't help that a small fringe on each side actually fits these stereotypes, and will engage in over-the-top theatrics to prove their devotion, e.g., politicians encouraging citizens to bring firearms to a town hall meeting with their Congressmen or the President.
  • Newcomb's paradox is a particularly remarkable example of this. Quoth Robert Nozick, "To almost everyone it is perfectly clear and obvious what should be done. The difficulty is that these people seem to divide almost evenly on the problem, with large numbers thinking that the opposing half is just being silly." This can still hold even if they've been explained the other side's thinking in detail.
  • In the gay community there's a divide between people who are for and against Pride Parades and general "In your face" activism. Extremes on one side claim such displays perpetuate negative stereotypes; at worst they believe all gays and lesbians should act the same and strive to fit in with the mainstream. Extremes on the other side think the first group is simply ashamed of their sexuality, completely disregarding any legitimate points that might be brought up.
  • Even beyond the Camp Gay/"separatist" vs. Straight Gay/"assimilationist" divide described above, there's also a general divide between "political gays" and the less politically-active gays. Many feel that every LGBT person should be active in fighting for his/her political rights, or not be surprised when they disappear/don't come to fruition. Others feel that being able to choose not to be political and to just treat their romantic and sexual lives the way straight people do is the best way of showing equality.
  • And there is the detestation of gay Republicans and gay pro-lifers by those who think that homosexuals must a fortiori adopt the liberal agenda on EVERYTHING.
  • Other social debates such as gay marriage and gay adoption tie in with this too: if you don't believe in gay marriage/adoption, the Liberals will say you're selfish, intolerant and you deny people happiness and legal rights; if you agree with gay rights, then the Conservatives (and/or the occasional bible-thumper) will say that you're ruining traditional morals, making gays more than equal and are disobeying the bible/God.
  • Vegetarianism, especially Veganism.
    • While the majority of people have no issue with someone else eating outside their "comfort zone" (maybe saying "Hey could you not faceplant into that raw steak in front of me?") it's amazing how many will spend no small amount of time proselytizing the supposed health benefits of their lifestyle and/or overly dramatizing the downsides of the other (while, of course, ignoring the opposites), some going so far as to say "humans aren't supposed to eat meat ever!" Of course, while usually Played for Laughs, people espousing a pure-carnivore diet are becoming more frequent as well.
    • This is equally true of people who seem to take personal offence at the very idea of vegetarianism, or simply can't understand that some people really just don't want to eat meat[2]. Also, many vegetarians who would never dream of telling anyone else what they should or shouldn't be eating have to endure meat-eaters treating them as though they were the worst kind of moralising bigot simply because they've opted for the salad.
    • The same can be said for those that drink alcohol and those that don't. Apparently anyone who doesn't is trying to foist their high and mighty ideals on you by ruining your buzz, and vice versa.
    • No kidding! If you don't drink simply because you're not comfortable with it, be prepared for people to think you're judging them and need to try it to "loosen up". Simply deciding it's not good for you, but being okay with it for others as long as it's responsible isn't an option, apparently.
    • It extends to almost any high-profile diet. Paleo ("Caveman") dieters can often be seen to bag incessantly on anyone who dares eat something that "isn't real food" because our pre-agricultural ancestors didn't have it, like pretty much any dairy or grain product. And the cheesehead community doesn't take too kindly to the thought of anyone not eating dairy.
  • It even extends to where you shop! In the USA, the stores you buy groceries from will be seen as indicators of your political/social type. If you shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or any other place that specializes in dainty organic foods, conservatives will assume that you are a wimpy, liberal pussy. If you shop at large chain grocery stores or big box stores, especially *gasp* WalMart, liberals will accuse you of being a barbaric ultra-conservative redneck who doesn't know what "good" food is. Ironically, the one source of groceries that both groups actually seem to admire is small farmers' markets. Liberals stereotypically like them because they provide organic produce, while conservatives stereotypically like them because they see it as a way to support salt-of-the-earth rural farming families. However, each group likes to pretend that the other overlooks the farmers, interestingly enough.
    • You will also be judged for the restaurants you like. If you happen to enjoy eating at Olive Garden, for instance, you will be berated as a clueless barbarian rube and accused of being directly responsible for "real" Italian food joints going out of business (despite the fact that small businesses serving Italian food are actually one of the most common small business types in America, and are clearly flourishing). For some people, you can use any restaurant chain--including Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Applebees, etc.--for a similar effect. And there is no reasoning with the people who get upset about this. These people are utterly convinced that enjoying the food at any large restaurant chain makes you a horrible, evil, clueless person who doesn't respect "real" food.
  • The discussion of obesity is also a hotly debated topic and it is more so if children are involved. There is no middle ground when it comes to someone's weight. If they aren't fat, then the person is presumed to be healthy. If someone is overweight or obese, it is assumed that the person is extremely unhealthy as they do nothing but sit on the couch while eating fast food everyday. Despite that it is possible for someone to be carrying a good amount of bulk while still being physically fit and having a proper diet (and equally possible to be thin with high cholesterol or a fast resting heart rate), it is ingrained in many peoples' minds that fat people are never healthy just because of their weight.
  • One interesting example is the type of apologist for a controversial issue who knows X is not right, but refuses to believe it is wrong either, and convinces themselves it is in a "grey area". If someone says X is bad, they will argue up and down that other people can't say that 'cause it's really a grey area. X having any benefit at all makes it a "grey area", even if the benefit is far, far outweighed by the damage. Oddly enough, they will never make this sort of argument to people who think that X is good.
  • Anyone who disagrees with you is obviously being paid to do so.

Notes

  1. There is the entirely valid point that you can choose to vote for no one, i.e. refusing to vote, usually by writing in an obviously fictional candidate like Mickey Mouse as a form of protest, but that's not the same thing as declining to vote.
  2. Any vegetarian who has had a bacon sandwich waved in their face with a gleeful cry of "you know you want to!" will recognise this attitude.