Anything that's popular must be good, and, therefore, any criticism is unjustified.
Why I Hate It
Do I have to explain? Well, I guess I do because people say this all the time. I did an episode of Hate By Numbers on Black Eyed Peas and although it was met with much rejoicing, countless people hit me with this logic in comments. So first off, let me respond by saying, "ha, ha, you're a BEP fan. You suck." O.K., moving on.
How could something that's popular suck? How could it not? In order for something to be a success, lots of people have to like it. And people suck. Lots of people, doubly so. There aren't enough qualified connoisseurs of music or art or literature to make something a hit. In order to be huge, morons must necessarily get on board too. Does that mean that anything that's popular, must suck? Of course, not. You have Shakespeare, The Beatles, and Citizen Kane. You can be great and popular. But popularity itself is not the test of greatness. Don't believe me? Well, let me prove it to you. The year is 1969 and, speaking of the Beatles, the Fab Four release Abbey Road, arguably their best album. And even if you forget about the Beatles, in 1969 you had Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. A cultural revolution. And do you know what the number one song of 1969 was? The song that the most people bought and wanted to listen to? Sugar Sugar by The Archies. Yeah, explain that one away. Must be the exception that proves the rule? Choke on this:
All this suffering is part of a cosmically divine plan.
Why I Hate It
I suppose this cliche wouldn't be intolerable if it were merely meant to be taken literally. Everything does happen for a reason. People die young because they get hit by trains or get cancer. People are maimed and disfigured in wars because of bombs. I mean, if that's all this cliche were trying to convey then it would just be vaguely annoying. You'd assume the speaker were just some mental deficient who says things like "water is wet," "ice cream is yummy," or "Tosh is funny."
But the annoying thing about this phrase is that the speaker believes he/she has some inside track to God or Fate or whatever mystic unseen hand controls the universe. As if there is a power and that power decided there was an actual reason to inflict a newborn baby with Trisomy 18 or have a woman get gang raped. And given the existence of this rational force --that operates only with justification and reason-- who are you to question why someone ravaged your wife, or blew apart your son, or took your leg? This cliche insists that either happy endings always exist ("see, they never would have found that tumor, unless they were repairing that machete wound to your abdomen") or if there is no happy ending for you then your suffering was part of some greater plan that benefited another ("don't be sad that you were imprisoned for twenty years by a racist jury for a crime you didn't commit, I mean, think about the valuable lesson you've taught us about bias in criminal juries!) I'm not saying all suffering is random and pointless, or that nothing good can ever come out of a bad situation, but the arrogance that comes from the belief that tragic events are always justified as part of a larger plan is just intolerable. I don't know why bad things happen, but I do know that no one who throws this cliche around knows either. So to everyone keeping this miserable expression alive, please leave people to their misery and save your cliche for yourself the next time you're walking in the woods and step into a bear trap after getting shot in the eye by a drunken hunter.
... calm down. This picture isn't real.
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