Why do people need to "put down" things they don't like?

I’m not a perfect person by any means, but one thing I’ve jettisoned from my life is the need to “put down”/deride/insult/denigrate things that I don’t like, because I know that some people do like those things.

I guess I need a better understanding of the different mindsets that would gravitate towards one of the two following statements:

  1. “That’s not my taste”.

  2. “There’s no accounting for taste”.

I want to say that maybe it’s a maturity level issue, but I’m not certain.
So which statement would you be most likely to choose and why.

I’m particularly interested in why one would choose 2; do you feel your “taste” is somehow more enlightened or superior?

One thing I try to do is jettison from my life people and things who annoy the shit out of me. Putting them down generally sends a clear message “not welcome here”.

I’m not even talking about being mean to people. If one of my coworkers suggests going to the Times Square TGI Fridays for lunch, simply putting it down with a simple “Friday’s sucks” informs them that they should never make such a suggestion because there are so many better and more affordable restuarants.

Putting stuff down is a way to:

  • be provocative
  • show how cool you are by defining what you are and are not into
  • test your own POV by seeing how your put-downs are reacted to
  • subtly (not!) communicate feelings you have about the person you are talking with
  • etc…

It is a behavior that is learned very early on and is the bread n’ butter of teenagers everywhere. It is hard to shake.

When I was younger I constantly dismissed music that I didn’t think was cool. Now, I try to keep an open mind and acknowledge that there are good examples of most musical genres, but there are some genres not to my taste. For me, learning to not put things down was about getting more mature…

Having said that, I still pop off with the occasional provocative statement. “Renoir sucks!” is sure to lead to conversation over wine at a dinner party. If said with good humor and a willingness to discuss, concede, provide backup thinking, etc, it can be a good conversation starter. Said rudely without actually engaging in conversation it is pretty much an identifier that the speaker is a twit.

I’ve experienced the put down. If I say I love an author, someone might “wittily” dismisses the writing as {insert superior attitude and negative comment}. It doesn’t change my mind about the author I like. Just makes me dislike the “expert.”

Another example in a recent “which is better” thread, instead of listing the positve aspects of one’s own choice, most posters decided to put down the other choice. (Southpark vs Family Guy - no link provided)

I hope I would choose “that’s not my taste”, but I’m in a morally superior mood at the moment so I may not be as honest with myself as I might seem to be. (heh-heh-heh)

I think it’s all about elevating one’s self via denigrating others and it sure says one hell of a lot about the speaker. If a suggestion I make is met with “_____ sucks” then, yes, you will have made your point; I won’t bring it or anything else up to you again.

I agree. I think many people will tell you something that you like sucks or whatever because they feel insecure about their own opinions.

“Never make such a suggestion”, or “never make such a suggestion to you again”?

Perhaps they’re not interested in a better, more affordable restaurant - maybe they’re interested in going to TGI Fridays?

God, you people sure are reading too much into this universal human trait. People put things down because those things offend their sensibilities somehow, be it food that tastes bad, a movie that insults the audience’s intelligence, or badly designed furniture. That other people like it is irrelevant.

This thread is stupid. Personally I would not have started it.

It’s a social selection process. No different than any other more subtle or equally obvious choices we make every day to identify with or distinguish ourselves from a particular group or social strata.

Think of it as the mathematics set theory of social interactions. By making certain value judgements you identify yourself as a member (or not a member) of this or that superset.

It’s also valid to not announce your personal preference. That too has social advantages.

I think BwanaBobis referring more to the context and delivery of the put-downs. What you’re referring to sounds more like mere voicing of one’s opinion and nobody is saying there’s anything wrong with that. It’s the rude, offhand dismissal of anything that isn’t to a person’s liking along with anyone who disagrees.

Oh I realize that.

That sort of insulting tone has it’s place. It’s a way of strongly marking your territory by telling people which particular group you identify with in the hopes that the group in question has a greater perceived social standing.

In other words, you’re announcing: “I identify with this particular set of arrogant pricks who think Ruby Tuesdays is the shit! We look down our noses at you plebian set of pricks who think Fridays is an acceptable establishment.”

In msmith537’s case, he wants to send a message that he’s so secure in his identity with this other social circle of pricks that he doesn’t even feel compelled to tell you which particular superset of pricks he belongs to. Someone suggesting that he join them with the less desireables merely serves to underscore the fact that he is above all that and they are clearly unfit to even ask.

Honestly, half the content on the SDMB would disappear if we were to stop putting down people and the abominations they like. Dissing things is a universal human tendency, and we get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Obviously, there’s a time-place-manner component, as msmith537’s unfortunate example shows. But why shouldn’t we take advantage of the relative anonymity and distance of a messageboard to get our digs in at Tom Cruise, for example? There’s a lot of fun to be gotten out of ol’ placenta-eating, quiet-birthing, couch-jumping, shrink-rapping Tom.

They should never make such a suggestion to me again. I would hope they would not make such a suggestion to ANYONE again. At the very least, if they have their heart set on paying the exhorbitant prices of the crappy, dirty TGI Fridays in Times Square, they won’t be surprised when it sucks.

First of all Ruby Tuesdays and TGI Fridays both suck equally in NYC. Throw in Red Lobster, Pizzaria Uno and Olive Garden too. The reason they ‘suck’ is that when you are New York City with the finest restaurants in the world, you don’t go to one that you can find in any shopping mall in America. Especially since they cost at least as much.

Second of all, you are pretty much correct. A big reason people put down other people and things whether they realize it or not is to elevate themselves. Some people hear “Friday’s sucks” and think “shit…I don’t want to look like an idiot”. Others who are more secure say “YOU suck!! I happen to think their Jack Daniels shrimp and chicken KICKS ASS…bitch!”

And finally, I sincerely hope you aren’t calling me a “prick”. That would hurt my feelings. :frowning:

Hey, just because you don’t like the practice of putting down things one doesn’t like, doesn’t mean you have to put it down! :smiley:

Can I ask a related question?

Why is it that some people, after you have said you don’t care for something, automatically assume you are saying that it sucks unequivocally, and that by extension, they suck, too, because they like it? Then they get all defensive and sometimes belligerent about it.

If I don’t like lobster, or death metal, or what-have-you, it just means that it doesn’t appeal to me. It’s perfectly fine if you like it. Any ideas?

Nah man… I was just using a bit of poetic license to illustrate a point better. It was a generic use of “prick” and totally not directed at you specifically except to use your post as a handy example. No personal insult intended. I’m just rolling that way today. :slight_smile:

…And I quite like the Jack Daniels ribs. :stuck_out_tongue: Wouldn’t admit it in hip company but it’s definitely a guilty pleasure. :smiley:

A put down can be a useful tool in not escalating an argument.

I’ve used it, and sometimes been accused of conceit for my trouble (obviously on occasions when it hasn’t diffused the situation as intended), but I think it might sometimes be the only alternative to:

  1. Hurling abuse
  2. Personal insult
  3. Rolling over and being trodden on

And often, it might just be honest negative criticism being misinterpreted as a put down.

Imagine an advertising boss being shown an idea for a new campaign by one of his staff. He probably should simply say, “I don’t like it”, but if he doesn’t, then “It looks like a high school class did it” might be better than, “WHAT IS THIS USELESS CRAP?”

Just my 2c.

Eew, BwanaBob, this thread is soooo gay. Only a dork would post in it.

Gay? It’s totally fagatronic!