I’ve seen this a lot. It’s a criticism I get very often, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard people asking the same basic question of Eli, V, Broegan, Nadiyah, Caitlin, and Kai and a whole host of other bloggers, especially when talking about the Hunger Games.
Here’s basically how it goes. Someone will explore a theme in a book or movie or TV show. They’ll examine a character, their actions, their characteristics, and their flaws. They’ll describe the merits and problems with a story. Inevitably, though, they’ll get some variation of the same message. “Why do you have to pick it apart? Why can’t you just enjoy it?”
This whole line of reasoning baffles me. How do you guys enjoy something without picking it apart? Do y’all just jam a hamburger in your mouth in one bite without bothering to taste it? When you go to a museum, do you just look at each thing for half a second, shout “SAW IT,” and move to the next thing without taking a second to observe?
Take this whole Gale business from the past few days. People have been saying I’m a bad fan, that I’m “hating on Gale,” and it always comes back to the same question: “why can’t you just enjoy it?” The thing is, I can and I am. The only way I can enjoy Gale’s character is it I examine it. Liking someone as a person and liking someone as a character are two entirely different things, and the only way I can like someone as a character is if I examine their motivations and their actions.
Because the thing is, if you’re not thinking about what you’re reading, if you are not gaining something from the experience, then there is no point in reading.
So when I’m “picking it apart,” that is how I enjoy it. I hate to see this criticism being thrown about because it implies the harder you think about something, the less you enjoy it, and if enjoyment can only be found by refraining from thinking about anything, then I don’t want enjoyment.
Yup, yup, and yup. This is true for every fandom.
And “Why do you have to pick it apart? Why can’t you just enjoy it?” is so often followed by, “Just stop reading/watching it then if you’re unhappy with something.”