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Is It Ok To Be Nitpicky?

Dorkpool February 17, 2015 User blog:Dorkpool

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Anyone who has read my Riffs know I'm very, very, very nitpicky. I'm the type of guy who watches an episode of a show like, say, Gotham, and when a newspaper comes out only a few hours after a crime has been investigated, and the headline of the newspaper is about the investigation, I'll comment, since that's stupid and ignores the way the press works. But is doing such a thing right?

There are two trains of thought here: those who subscribe to the "MST3K Mantra" ("If you're wondering how he eats and breathes/ and other science facts/ Just repeat to yourself 'it's just a show/ I should really just relax'"), and those who are very nitpicky. Let's address those who subscribe to the Mantra first.

Now, being too nitpicky can be annoying. The example from Gotham I mentioned earlier doesn't really affect whether or not the episode is good (by the way, the episode was good. From what I've seen, Gotham is turning around); it's just a minor lapse in logic. If it doesn't glaringly ignore the laws of logic and reason and doesn't impact enjoyment, does it really need to be addressed? To the Mantra crowd, nope! The episode was still good.

Now, a fellow like me might say that it should still be addressed. There's suspension of disbelief, and there's buying stupidity. Suspension of disbelief entails you believing that someone can fly or crawl on walls or whatnot. Buying stupidity is having to believe that newspapers come out hourly, the cops arrest and release people at will with little to no investigation (I'm looking at you here, "Jeff the Killer"), or things of that nature. Based on what I said, the Gotham example is buying stupidity. However, there are certain levels of buying stupidity. There's the lowest one, which is minor stupidity that doesn't really impact the plot (the Gotham example); the moderate one, which is some stupidity that does affect the plot a bit (there was an episode of Arrow where Oliver Queen goes from a country that's probably in Asia or something back to Starling City, which is in America, in a few hours, by car. I think that would be an example); and the highest one, which is a lot of stupidity that greatly impacts the plot ("Jeff the Killer" in its entirety). So when is it right to nitpick?

Well, I should probably define "nitpick" here. A nitpick is a complaint about a story of sorts that may focus on something minor. If it's wondering why and how Slender Man switched bodies with Eyeless Jack in "Slender Man Vs. Eyeless Jack" (I am still pissed about that story), or wondering how a 13 year old can beat multiple children to death, be set on fire and only have his skin bleached white, and burn off his eyelids without harming his eyes, then that's not a nitpick, since these are critical plot elements that are incredibly stupid. Also, those stories are bad. Nitpicking kind of depends on how good what you're nitpicking is. If it's something bad, then it's not really nitpicking unless you're complaining about a really minor detail. If it's good, then complaining about something minor is definitely a nitpick (In the story "Love Always", a good story by BanningK1979, whose work I highly recommend, one would wonder why SPOILER ALERT a guy would make his dog drink alcohol). The reason for this: bad stories make certain plot holes or idiocy very clear. Good stories don't, and draw you in. Questioning certain details about good stories will take one out of the story.

So, is it right to nitpick? I think it really depends on whether the story is good and whether or not it's something you like to do. In general, if you want to nitpick, no matter how good it is, go for it. But if you're really going to nitpick, do it with a bad story. It should be noted that some people may not enjoy your observations, so you shouldn't nitpick around those people. So, yeah, go out and nitpick!

So, what do you think? Is it ok to nitpick? Is it annoying? Am I annoying? (Answer: Very) Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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