The Art of Letting Go

Last weekend, my wife and I visited an old high school buddy in Northwest Arkansas. The previous year we had met up for lunch and he extended an invitation if we ever wanted to come up (it’s about a 3-hour drive from central Arkansas) and go tailgating with him and his “crew”, we were more than welcome. Now I’ve never been a tailgater, understanding that millions of Americans partake in the ritual across the land every Saturday on gamedays.

It’s just never been something I’ve found appealing. But I can understand why others enjoy it. Like any hobby or activity, it’s a way for those who share your enjoyment of a particular team the ability to come together and share in the love communally. To catch up on the last two years of missing out, I made plans for us to spend the weekend with an old friend and do something we normally wouldn’t. Tailgate at a College football game.

After the game was over and we broke down our tailgate setup, we headed back to Matt’s place for an after-game hangout/cookout (Arkansas won, so spirits were high). While there, two other of Matt’s friends started to engage in a pretty intense discussion about LIV Golf and if they were for or against it.

After about 20 minutes of back and forth, my wife and I both removed ourselves from the conversation and migrated to another area. As we were heading back home the following day, my wife asked me what I thought about the passionate discussion that was had about LIV Golf. I told her to me, that it was simply two guys who were very passionate about golf, and had very strong, opposing opinions on the subject.

It would be no different for any two individuals who discussed any topic that might be passionate about. This leads me to the heart of the story.

That conversation at my friend’s house was a mirror to every online discussion about the Lord of the Rings TV show.

To be clear, I support the right to critique and challenge any work that someone feels is deserved of such scrutiny. However, what I will never support is the idea that artistic works are devoid of interpretation. After all, isn’t interpretation one of the basic tenants of art itself? What the viewer gets out of consuming that art in the first place? Regardless of what the intent of the creator of said work was originally?

This is where I might lose some folks. I’m not saying that original works should be stripped down to their bare bones and reconstructed to fit whatever the current state of society might be. Changing an original work beyond a certain point can change the core identity of what it was, to begin with. The meaning and feel of it become lost and morph into something else completely.

What I am saying is, that interpretation should be embraced, not shunned. Allowing for some wiggle room when adapting a work to another medium is a tricky and daunting task. Trying not to upset the fanbase in the process of that original work comes with its own pitfalls and challenges. And understanding the level of reverence that particular works hold for different areas of fandom can also provide difficult to navigate as new creative teams come forward with their version of your beloved franchises latest entry.

So what does all this thought exercise leave me? Personally, I’ve struggled very much with the current state of Star Trek since the 09 film. Railing against the latest offerings of TV series set in the universe that Gene Roddenberry created. Some have honestly been better (Strange New Worlds) than others (Picard season 2 is almost unwatchable. I’ll die on that hill), but overall I have yet to find something in the new offerings that hit the mark like older shows and films did.

Even with my issues with the current Trek, I still remain a fan. I’ve just learned to adjust my expectations and more importantly, I’ve let go!

Let go of the bitterness. Let go of the angry fan thoughts. Let go of trying to tear it all down. And instead, work on just being a fan. And if that doesn’t work, at the end of the day, I’ve come to the realization that not everything in this world was created for me. And that’s okay. Of course, I always hold out hope that the new offering on the horizon will hit the mark, and my inner Trek fan will get that warm fuzzy again like it did with the older stuff. But if not, it doesn’t keep me from enjoying it to this day. It doesn’t erase it. And I can still enjoy it over and over, without it encroaching on anyone else’s ability to enjoy what they do.

So have those great, insightful discussions about the things you love. But make sure you don’t cross over into troll territory. After all, no one enjoys being that guy!

As always, leave a comment with your thoughts. Until next time, LLAP!

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