I Don’t Like Dinosaurs

I should probably start by hastening to add: I don’t dislike dinosaurs, either! It’s an ambiguity of English that when one says, “I don’t like X,” it can mean one has negative feelings about the ‘X’ in question, or it can mean just that one has no positive feelings for it — that one is neutral (or perhaps not interested enough to have an opinion).

It’s an easy jump from “don’t like” to “dislike,” so the phrase, “I don’t like X,” is usually taken that way. But I have wiring in my brain that makes me see it more literally — as failing to have a liking for ‘X’ — so I often have to clarify what I mean.

And what I mean is that I have zero interest in dinosaurs.

Which for many probably amounts to the same thing. It’s a habit of humans to conflate lack of interest in a favored topic with perceived dislike of that topic. It’s taking insult that someone doesn’t share your passion.

So even taken the right way, it may puzzle or distress. How can someone, especially someone with my background, not be into dinosaurs? It boggles the mind.

(Kind of like when people find out I’m not into the CBS TV show, The Big Bang Theory. They don’t understand how it’s possible someone like me isn’t a fan. It gets even worse if they find out I have actual antipathy towards the show.)

But anyway, confession time: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I just don’t find dinosaurs interesting.

At all.

I never really did, not even as a little nerdy geek. (Still a total geek; I like to believe I’m less nerdy.) I did go through a brief phase when I first encountered them as a kid, but they never really took.

I see the same lack of interest in both the science and science fiction I read back then. From a very early age I was hugely attracted to physics, technology, and the “hard” sciences. I never found much interest in biology, zoology, or archeology.

And, for the most part, I’ve been especially disinterested in history. The more distant the history the greater my disinterest. By the time one gets past the ancient Greeks, I’m pretty much out entirely.

I’m just not interested in the rear-view mirror. I’m interested in now and what’s coming. I’ll leave history to the historians; they seem to like it.

Not that I don’t value history for what it’s taught us!

Every moment contributes to who we all are now. I just feel no need to review, or even understand, the past. I’m content to start with now. It’s hard enough learning all the shit I have to learn today without also learning about yesterday.

But that’s just me, and I’m a known weirdo (or so I’ve heard).

At least you can see why dinosaurs don’t grab me.

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It probably also explains why pirates never did much for me, either.

Historical. Mythologized (e.g. “pirate treasure maps”). No spaceships. No lasers. No computers. Nothing that appeals to me.

I have no idea how many times I’ve been on the Disneyland ride, The Pirates of the Caribbean. I lived in Los Angeles nearly two decades and went often. It was a fun ride, but I always had more empathy for the terrorized townspeople than for the pirates.

Number me among those whose jaw dropped upon hearing they were making a movie about the ride! Given all the great stories lying around, I’ve never really understood movies based on toys, so basing them on amusement park rides is… weird!

I recently saw the (utterly unmemorable) fifth entry in the Pirates series, and what it reminded me of most was a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Lots of illogical, meaningless, frenetic action.

It wasn’t bad… it just wasn’t much of anything at all.

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There is nothing wrong with Tom and Jerry or with any of the cartoon action films that are so popular. There is nothing wrong with harmless, meaningless entertainment. A great deal of what we call “fun” is exactly that.

And “fun” — like “beauty” and many other things — is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t mean to shade mindless fun, although I do have concerns (which I’ve expressed here many times) similar to what a nutritionist might feel about a diet of only junk food.

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Full disclosure: I have some aberrant brain wiring that makes me shy away from anything that’s hugely popular. It has always been my general sense that the more popular something is, the less interesting it is.

It’s almost mathematical. People have a range of likes and dislikes, and it’s only where there’s a lot of overlap that something attracts lots of people. This often means offending the least amount of people, and that’s where the blandness comes in.

Simply: the stronger the “flavor” the greater the chance people won’t like it.

Not always, though. I suspect few would call HBO’s hugely popular Game of Thrones “bland.”

But I can make an argument that, against the full backdrop of similar fantasy, it actually is fairly ordinary, even a bit derivative, if one has read a lot of such (Pratchett’s Discworld, Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant, Jordan’s Wheel of Time, Foster’s Spellsinger, Asprin’s Myth Adventures, etc).

Something I try to keep in mind is that people without this background come along all the time, and for them it’s all new. I just hope it inspires them to seek out some of the more tasty fantasy that led to GoT.

My actual point here is meant to be that Game of Thrones, on many counts, falls into the category of things that [A] I’m not interested in, but which [B] lots of people seem to expect me to be.

Sorry, Father, I’ve sinned again. No interest in the Medieval period (same reasons as with pirates), no interest in court intrigue and dirty dealing, no interest in villainous evil people, no interest in war stories, very low interest in zombies, and almost none in dragons.

Those last two being particular offenses to science fiction fans, because [sigh] “Everyone loves zombies and dragons!”

Me: “Meh. Whatever.”

Actually I like them fine when a storyteller manages to find a new spin on old and oft-told tales. As always, the ask is: Take me someplace new!

Zombie stories have been told and re-told. It takes a fun spin, like Shaun of the Dead or Cockneys vs Zombies (or a few others) to grab me. The usual just isn’t that interesting.

Dragons,… dragons are preposterous. Huge bodies, tiny wings, breathes fire. Ridiculous! You can’t tell a serious tale about dragons. They’re purely fairy tale fun.

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Speaking of fairy tale fun, here’s another hugely popular set of stories that fall into my Meh! bin (or my Eh! bin, at best): Star Wars.

Sorry, Father, big sinned have I. Star Wars interesting I find it not.

Again, to be clear, I don’t dislike it. (Except for Episodes I, II, & III. Those are abominations.) But I’m not, by any stretch, a fan.

There is an exception: Episode IV, A New Hope, was a game-changer that I wrote about in the Anno Stella Bella post.

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I don’t do this deliberately. At least not consciously. It just seems to always work out this way. All sort of nearly universally popular things just do nothing for me:

Football and Basketball, for example. Hugely popular. And they just don’t interest me. I love baseball, so it’s not sports. Just a matter of taste, I guess.

(I do confess to some antipathy towards football on a number of counts, but it wouldn’t be possible for me to have less interest in basketball. It doesn’t occupy my thoughts at all.)

You’d think I’d like soccer, but no one likes soccer.

[Yeah, that was just pure snark. But seriously, fuck soccer. 🙂 ]

The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. What can I say. I liked The Who.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate Beatles or Stones, they’re giants! I just can’t say any of their songs are favorites, barely even know many of them, and would have a lot of trouble trying to even list albums.

I was a bit more into The Stones (actually have three albums), so my preferences for big British early rock bands seems exactly inverted from the usual: Who, Stones, Beatles.

To be honest, I’d much prefer to listen to Amy Winehouse, Peter Gabriel, or David Grey. My whole not looking back applies to music, too. I vastly prefer modern music to old rock.

While I’m on the topic of music: Rap. Mostly leaves me cold. It’s mainly (to my ignorant ears) heavy basic beats and lots of words, and musically I crave lighter beats, stronger melodic lines, and complex arrangements. In contrast, I love jazz, for example: no words, complex music.

I do have a  lot of respect for rap’s origins and meanings. I see it as a form of poetry, often social rage poetry about matters I may not be fully equipped to understand.

I do have some opinions about white appropriation, about what success does to grassroots messages, and about the connection between rap and what can only be called thuggery.

But these are all so far outside my orbit that I don’t feel qualified to comment.

Chocolate-Chip Cookies aren’t even close to being my favorite cookie, that honor goes to molasses-ginger, a far less popular cookie (to my eternal anguish; one just can’t find good ones).

In close second place are oatmeal-raisin, and I might even take a nice butter-sugar cookie before a chocolate-chip. So, once again, my preferences seem exactly inverted from the norm.

Not that I have anything against chocolate, but I tend to like it only alone or with caramel (which I vastly prefer to chocolate). I’m not big on chocolate in things, or, especially, things (like nuts or jelly) in my chocolate, and I don’t even care for it as a beverage.

But a nice piece of chocolate, maybe with caramel? Oh, hell, yes.

While I’m on the topic of food: Pie. Entirely leaves me cold. It’s mainly cooked fruit with sugar added, and I loath cooked fruit, poisoned with more sugar or not.

There is something called a chocolate-chip pie, and it’s just a giant cookie, not a pie at all. But then, see above about chocolate-chip cookies.

I also can’t abide anything pickled, nor just about any egg dish. I’d rather be waterboarded than have to eat a fried or boiled egg. Likewise to actually eat a pickle. Stick pins in my arms, instead, please. Bamboo under the nails…

I can choke down scrambled eggs if they have enough other things in them, and I quite like quiche for some reason.

Actually, pie, cooked fruit in general, pickled anything, and eggs, fall under the category of strongly dislike, to the point of not touching ever. Which is a contrast from all the stuff above on which I’m neutral.

The common point is that these things are hugely popular — so popular people often assume I must like them. Some have even tried to convince me I was wrong, that I ought to like them.

(Coffee is another thing “everyone loves” but which I would file under dislike. People are always a little surprised when I refuse a cup of coffee. Weirdly, I love coffee ice cream.)

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And then there are clowns.

There is this common fear of clowns (coulrophobia), and even many people without the phobia can find them creepy.

I’ve never shared that and don’t quite understand it. It’s a guy in big shoes, garish makeup, and a funny outfit. I’ve never understood the fuss.

You probably shouldn’t shake his hand or smell his lapel flower, though.

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So,… bottom line, I’m an outlier. Common term: freak.

Heh. Like that’s news. Known it all my life!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

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