Making judgments, but being open-minded

By From page B1 | November 16, 2012

While writing a piece about the importance of keeping an open mind and trying new things, I was awakened to my own hypocrisy.

I was yanked off of my high horse when discussing today’s arrival of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2″ to theaters with my finger down my throat.

The only way someone is getting me to watch any of the films in the series is strapped to a chair with my eyes pried open, “A Clockwork Orange” style.

It does sound like the final installment is action-packed. If I learned anything from the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, even bad film series are tolerable with good action sequences.

Nonetheless, that flies in the face of what I intended to write, about how keeping an open mind and trying new things is good for us.

I know I’m not the key demographic for “Twilight.” That doesn’t bother me. The fact that I have already decided not to try it sticks in my neck like a vampire fang, however.

I’ve long been an advocate of trying books, albums, movies or TV shows I didn’t think I’d like.

A record store employee once dropped a navy blue album cover with a drawing of what looks like an angelic baby alien in utero on it in my hands. I was skeptical, but years later, Sigur Rós’ “Agaetis byrjun” was my first foray into one of my favorite groups.

It’s easy to fall into ruts in our artistic consumption. Heck, some of us choose it: “There hasn’t been a great record made since the 1970s,” I once heard a friend complain.

Despite being a voracious culture vulture, there’s the persistent, nagging worry that not being open to new things is the path to cultural irrelevancy and closed mindedness. A Jedi craves not these things.

Trying new things is good for us, psychologically speaking. It makes new pathways in our brains, unlocking us to new possibilities, opportunities and ways of thinking.

Plus, basing my opinion solely on what others say is thin reasoning. It’s important to try even things we might not like and form our own opinions because we shouldn’t judge an album by the freaky alien fetus on its cover.

So, will I see “Breaking Dawn – Part 2″ just to prove my point?

Not a chance.

In writing this, it occurred to me that there’s a third way, breaking away from my black-and-white, zero-shades-of-gray perspective. Siths would think in absolutes.

The answer isn’t all or nothing. The answer is tolerance and willingness.

That might seem obvious to many of you, but it feels like a revelation to me.

I have to keep an open mind to all albums, books, movies and TV shows, bending an olive branch to some of my pop culture prejudices: Taylor Swift, Mumford & Sons, reality TV and “Twilight.”

Having sampled those things, I know they’re not for me. If I never ever hear T. Sweezy’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” again, that won’t bother me.

Being willing to listen to everything, watch every movie or show or read every book to prove a point isn’t the answer.

It’s a tolerance approach. I don’t have to go over to the Dark Side to know that it’s bad.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a “Twilight” movie to not watch. May the Force be with you.

To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.

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