“You Haven’t Seen/Heard/Read/Played [BLANK]?!”

Dumb stock art illustrating being overwhelmed by media. Image courtesy of Whatculture.com

If you have any sort of social circle, you’ve probably heard some variation of the titular question screech incredulously from someone’s dumb lips, dumbfounded by the fact that you haven’t experienced the same media they have. And it annoys me anytime someone says it to me or within my vicinity.

Pop culture is filled with more entertainment options than you can shake a shaking stick at. Movies, TV, video games, music, books, comic books: there are way too many ways to pass the time between living life and tending to kids. (And who needs to do that, really?) Sure, there are cultural landmarks (Michael Jackson, the Harry Potter books and movies, The Avengers movie, Call of DutyThe Big Bang Theory for some reason) that are more popular than others, but they are anomalies out of the millions of movies, shows, books, games and albums that exist.

It is selfish to believe that everyone has experienced the same things. Like entertainment media, people are diverse, unique little snowflakes (to coin a phrase used by my lady-bro Jane) that are different from each other in everything from preferences to asking dumb questions.

Back to that idiotic question at hand: “You Haven’t Seen/Heard/Read/Played [BLANK]?!” (UGH.) There are two good ways to answer this: laying down some logic; or being honest and curt.

  • The Logical Answer

This is wordier and therefore less likely to be effective when dealing with stupid people and/or questions. That said, presenting your evidence with a smartphone and internet access will back up your points with visual evidence.

When asked that inane question (UGH), have your answers ready. Here are some estimates based on quick Amazon.com searches (this excludes over-the-air television broadcasts; cable and satellite; libraries; Netflix, iTunes, Crackle, Hulu and other streaming/physical media services and exclusives; GameFly and other game-rental services; Redbox and other movie rental options; and piracy):

    • Movies
      • DVDs: More than 500,000–before filtering out special editions and duplicate copies
      • VHS (I know): More than 200,000–minus special editions and duplicate copies
      • Blu-rays: More than 34,000–minus special editions and duplicate copies
      • Amazon Instant Video: More than 65,000–minus special editions and duplicate copies
    • TV Shows
      • Amazon Instant Video: More than 15,000–before filtering out special editions and duplicate copies
      • DVD: More than 153,000–minus special editions and duplicate copies
      • VHS: More than 49,000–minus special editions and duplicate copies
    • Video Games (excluding games before 1994, which is a LOT)
      • 56,000–minus special editions, accessories and duplicate copies
    • Music (excluding CDs, cassettes, singles, cassingles, vinyl albums, 8-tracks, and victrola 23-skidoos)
      • MP3s: More than 25 million songs–minus duplicate copies and knockoffs
    • Books (excluding iBooks and other e-books aside from Amazon’s Kindle)
      • Paperback: More than 21 million–minus special editions and duplicate copies
      • Hardcover: More than 8 million–minus special editions and duplicate copies
      • Kindle: More than 1 million–minus special editions and duplicate copies
      • Audiobooks: More than 500,000–minus special editions and duplicate copies
  • The Honest Answer

This comes in two forms. The first is letting the person know that you weren’t interested in experiencing the subject of the conversation, or that you haven’t had time to do so.

The second comes from James “The Dawson” Van Der Beek in the form of a monologue from the coming-of-age, whipped-cream-sexual-topping movie Varsity Blues:

And really, this is the best answer to SUCH a DUMB question.

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