When Common rapped “if I don’t like it I don’t like it that don’t mean that I’m hatin” he wasn’t talking about the car community, but with enthusiasts being branded as ‘haters’ for simply expressing an opinion that differs from the majority, he easily could have been.
Today it’s not all that uncommon for someone, who for sake of illustration we will call Person A, to post their car (usually modified to the upper extremes of their style choice) online and have it shared on a social media outlet where Person B says “that looks awesome” , person C concurs, and person D says “With modifications one, two and three, I think four through five are not really necessary and take away from the car’s overall look”.
At this point Person A replies with something to the effect of “whatever haters motivate me”, B and C quickly add he didn’t build it for you, and people E through F come out of the woodwork asking “if you don’t like style xyz why are you following Xyz Society?”, before ending with “no one asked for your opinion anyway, hater”.
This alphabet soup example might seem contrived, and depending on what areas of the internet you frequent unrealistic, but trust me it happens with alarming regularity. Calling people “haters” and then completely disregarding what they have to say, no matter how valid or eloquently stated, has become the adult equivalent of covering one’s ears and saying “lalalala I can’t hear you”.
To be honest considering how thin the skin of many enthusiasts appears to be I’m surprised they’ve managed to wield a wrench without it coming through the other side of their hand. Heaven forbid someone try to offer up constructive criticism of any kind and not just an opinion, that might just cause all out anarchy.
Do you think car modification icons like George Barris, Boyd Coddington, and Ed Roth (if for whatever reason those names seem unfamiliar how about Nakai San, Wataru Kato, or Magnus Walker) expected everyone to like what they did and no one to speak up otherwise?
Their styles are all heavily studied, debated, and criticized but, but at the end of the day they all own their aesthetic choices and stand behind them, not behind a sticker that claims they didn’t build it for your approval.
If you want to build a car that represents your taste and personality by all means go for it, but don’t expect everyone to like it and the notion that if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all, is far better suited for the kindergarten classroom than it is in a community made up primarily of adults.
Differences of opinion, especially in a hobby as subjective as car building, is a good thing, and criticism isn’t often meant to insult.
Using myself as an example, just because I don’t like a particular feature of a car, or a particular style of modification, doesn’t mean I don’t respect the build, the builder, or style.
There have been several times where I have lobbied a criticism or query about a modification, or stylistic choice, and received a very detailed valid justification for its execution. That bit of perspective often leaves me respecting the build that much more.
Sure I still might not like it but, if these individuals truly built their car for themselves, and not me, that shouldn’t matter.
Continuing to chastise and drive out those who think differently, or challenge what is currently in fashion, simply encourages more of the same lather rinse repeat, brighter, wider, lower, louder, formula that people are already beginning to tire of.
To sum thing sup as succinctly as I can, I am not proposing a community based on negativity, but rather one where constructive criticism is both effectively given and received without resulting in fierce stand offs and open minds. Sure it might be an idealistic goal, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one we should all strive for.
Until we get there however just remember If I don’t like it, I don’t like it that doesn’t mean that I’m hatin’.
Are form vs. function critiques more valid, though? Aesthetics are SO personal, but take the STi pictured here – that’s the empitomy of low & slow, so why the vented hood (with custom scoop) and front mount intercooler? Even if the turbo has been upgraded you’re never going to use it with camber like that.
Please correct me if I’m wrong.
I tend to agree with you with the function of the STI, but the slippery slope is when we try to explain or rationalize someone’s else’s decision and have it make sense to us. People will do what they want because they think it’s cool or they think it will make them cool, that’s okay, it’s just not the answer we want when we have a technical question of why this or that…
Hey Ash, no right vs wrong here. I feel like asking why the owner did that is a fair point to ask and in what I’ve observed people would call you a hater for doing so.
Now the owner might respond because I like it, or because it was already installed and at that point you still know why he did it, but you don’t have to agree.
And no one was called a hater and we were all mature about it is my dream
I found it interesting watching the guys from MCM go to Japan and talk to people about their car modifications and people openly admit they modify with what they like, what was around, cheap, convenient without ever having the though come through their heads as to if it was “right”
Everyone is looking to be right and one-up each other – I like the race track, people might ask questions and ask you Why, but rarely will someone come up face to face and say “I don’t like this or that” or “2 more degrees of camber is faster” – it’s your car, you figure it out and as long as you don’t interfere with everyone’s fun, go have fun yourself, period.
The rest is about being cool on the internet.
Yeah justification could be as simple as because I like it. But for those same reasons someone else could not like it, not out of malice or anything like that just simple preference.
I think it’s become cool on the internet to bash people for not liking your own personal preference.
Thanks for the feedback on this one guys almost left er in the vault 🙂
Thanks for posting this Dave. Everyone is entitled to there own ideas and opinions. Like the saying “to each his own” I encountered this before I simply said “because I wanted it”.
“Because I wanted to” has always been my standard response to any “why did you do it” type questions. Thirty years ago I was probably not so calm about someone’s apparent criticism, so maybe it’s something that comes with age. As the young’uns grow up and mature hopefully they’ll see that the only person they need to please is themselves. Or maybe I need to yell at some kids to get off my lawn?
Age probably has a lot to do with it. I totally tell kids off my lawn!
While not an extreme example, my bagged Cobra drew a lot of criticism. It’s just people’s nature to automatically “not like” something they’ve never seen before, or if it goes against the mainstream.
As for why the STi owner put a FMIC on a car that will never be driven in anger, well, there is still a lingering “JC Whitney effect”. People tend to install things on their vehicle just because it exists. As in, the JC Whitney catalog has tons of items for my car, most of it is gaudy and tasteless, but it’s available, so it must be good, so I’ll install it. Shopping from a catalog doesn’t happen any more, but the equivalent nowadays is “I saw a few other people that did it online so it must be good, so I’ll do it too”.
So, in reality, the hate is aimed at people who do things too differently, or too the same. So what does that mean? We gotta do things not too different but not too the same to avoid being hated on? WTF is that??? Just build your car, read the comments, laugh if they’re absurd, and carry on with your day. Oh, and count the views, likes, and dislikes all in the same category, because as has always been the case, ratings are ratings.