I am not a Thunder Over Louisville fan. I "get" Thunder-lovers. Occasionally, the sight of expertly-flown fighter jets dancing in the skies over the city makes me go all Lee Greenwood inside. How can it not? It's an art. It's a talent. It's dangerous and beautiful. And how can you not admire the brave patriots who fly those planes?
But the air show makes me squidgy. So much money goes into all that. And fuel and other resources. And the celebration of instruments of war and destruction?... I'm not really cool with that. And certainly, I can't help but ache for those Louisvillagers who have at one point in their lives lived somewhere where the sound of a fighter jet overhead was not the sound of celebration or martial artistry but the sound of immanent peril.
Lord knows, as someone who was one of the first groups of people to return to New Orleans after the mandatory evacuation, post-Katrina, I was-- for years-- wigged out by the sound of low-flying helicopters. I still kind of am.
And fireworks at close range have always made me edgy.
I'm not a Thunder-hater, but I'm not a Thunder Over Louisville fan, either. I could absolutely do without it.
But you know what I like LEAST about Thunder? All the Thunder-Lover-Shamers.
It's the day before Thunder Over Louisville, and this is about the time when the Thunder-Lover-Shamers start rearing their ugly heads. They pop up on Twitter or Facebook. They emerge among your co-workers. They start troll-posting on the CJ website.
Their primary goal: to make people who genuinely enjoy Thunder feel terrible about their love for this event.
Listen, it's totally fine with me if you hate Thunder. As I said, I'm mostly in your camp. But it's not okay to, once a year, express your hatred of Thunder by deriding and shaming those people who truly love it. If you have serious moral objections to Thunder Over Louisville, then you should be working ALL YEAR LONG to somehow ban and/or improve what happens during this Derby season opener.
I don't know if it's the same people, but Thunder-Lover-Shamers are the same beasts as Awards-Show-Lover-Shamers or Football-Lover-Shamers. The people who tweet during the Emmys: "I don't know who Julie Bowen is or what she is wearing... Thank God! Curled up with the latest Jonathan Safran Foer and my cat."
Love what you want to love, and let other people get their giggles from whatever it is that tickles their toes. Thunder-Lover-Shaming makes you sound like a jerk.
In the immortal words of Bill & Ted, "Be Excellent To Each Other."
Party on, dudes.
And want to watch the finale of Thunder 2009 from my back yard? Check this out (bonus, for those of you who don't know me, you get to hear the dulcet tone of my voice). Thunder from my back yard