I hate backwards hats for a few reasons. I think they look stupid. It’s not functional unless you’re a catcher in baseball or riding a motorcycle. It’s a statement, or an accessory modified to look “cool” for the sake of being “cool”. Or you’re in your forties trying desperately to hang on to your youth, and it’s cheaper than buying a corvette or Mazda Miata (depending on your income bracket)

The more I try to justify why I don’t like backwards hats, the more I realize it doesn’t matter. I realized whatever reasons I could come up with are generalizations and projections to rationalize how I feel simply because I don’t like the way something looks.

I’ve noticed a frequency bias where I always see tall athletic men with backwards hats accompanied by attractive women. I assume she’s his girlfriend and think to myself, “I hope she doesn’t let that asshole have sex with her with his hat on backwards.” Because for some reason I see that as a complete abomination, including a lack of self respect and standards. I also assume the man is confident enough to not only wear his hat backwards for no functional/logical reason but also have an attractive girlfriend.

All projections of my personal insecurities based on what I think I’m not or what I don’t have. But instead of accepting the possibility that I’m being judgemental, I personalize it and rationalize my assumptions and justify my generalizations. One bias after another rapid firing as excuses for all the dumb reasons I don’t like something. This helped me realize that not everything needs an explanation and you don’t need a reason to not like something. More importantly, the justifications and the act of hating something is a waste of energy.

The impulse to not like something may come from a subconscious defense mechanism where I think people with backwards hats are “cooler” than me and therefore better. That’s why they have a girlfriend. Not because they have any other desirable qualities and has absolutely nothing to do with me being combative, needy and awkward at times…

It’s no secret how quick we are to react to something based on our preconceived pre-programmed notions. That’s because our reptilian brains were originally designed for dichotomous thinking and inductive reasoning. This was so we could make fast classifications for the sake of survival but leaves us only seeing things as good or bad. Our brain is taking in millions of bits of information and automatically simplifying them into concise, manageable binary data. For example, red could mean poison — bad, or fertility — good (Peterson). Simple, right?

When you encounter the unknown or the unexpected in ways that contradict the view of yourself and how you “know” the world works, you produce stress hormones. What if a negative reaction is passed down through family views? Then you have an authority bias through parental and peer reinforcement for why something is good or bad. Or it is bad to think something is good and you only believe that because someone you trust told you and someone else agreed. A combination of biases from the authority bias, confirmation bias, bandwagon effect and so on, instead of asking yourself what you really think; or why you feel that way? And should you actually give a shit?

YouTube

YouTubes algorithm for suggesting videos is an elaborate version of a coded confirmation bias by continuing to suggest videos based on your viewing history. These are videos that it deems the same or similar enough to what you have been watching. Increasing the probability of watching recent videos on the same or similar subject. And down the rabbit hole you go.

On a personal note, my viewing history got so out of control that when YouTube suggested a video titled, “What Darth Vader does with his Free Time,” I knew I needed to make some changes.

Dude Perfect

Based on my poor reasoning for not liking backwards hats, it was always easy for me to skip a Dude Perfect video. Five guys with backwards hats playing with balls. My pre-programmed response was, “no thank you.” Then I saw them on a clip of Ridiculousness with Rob Dyrdek, of which I’m a big fan. A gentleman who may always wear a hat but hardly wears it backwards.

On the show they mentioned their “All Sports Golf Battle” and it intrigued me. A few clicks later was when my slight obsession and admiration for the gentleman of Dude Perfect began. It was incredible, and I had so many questions. How did this start? Do they do this full time? How did they accomplish this? What they achieved and how they achieved it was fascinating to me.

They recently had a documentary released on their YouTube channel diving into what took them from trick shot videos to the business moguls they are today. From what I could tell Dude Perfect was born out of boredom and reached their tipping point after they posted their first video to YouTube receiving overnight recognition.

Based on the number of views and news coverage, they were on to something special. But what I really appreciate is how they took that initial success and built on it. They branded it, increased their production value and continued to create new content that was about fun and friendship.

In their documentary they discuss the crossroad of deciding whether they needed to get “real” jobs or roll the dice on Dude Perfect. They even commented on how hard the decision was to make but also how hard it was to tell friends, family, wives and girlfriends that they were going to push back against the social current that tells us what we are supposed to do and how we should all live our lives.

It was a risk but what’s admirable is they continued to take more risks by deviating from what was already working with trick shot videos and created the stereotype videos, various battles, their game show model called Overtime and then a nationwide sold out tour. Now they have over fifty million subscribers, over a billion views on YouTube and countless family friendly sponsors.

To keep the man crushing going, what I admire the most is even with all their success, they have kept their videos fun and authentic. They decided as a team and implemented their standards as individuals and as a business agreed they would not support or advertise adult products such as alcohol. The team even stated how they understand their content appeals to young children, and they pride themselves on setting a good example.

In the age of click bait and fancy or misleading titles; or the cabin fever most Americans are experiencing, I found it more therapeutic than ever to see a video titled “Airplane Trick Shots” and know that is exactly what you’re going to get. Five guys with backwards hats playing outside and having the time of their lives while they are practically printing money off screen.

The last thing and what I admire most is although the owners and operators of Dude Perfect are religious, they do not use their success as a platform to preach. Instead, you see them standing behind a quality product and it seems like you can feel that. Standing behind their business with an established standard and holding to it.

I’ve thought about this a lot. Primarily because I really love Dude Perfect, but also because 2020 has opened my eyes to so much hate and social unrest in the US (Not that it hasn’t always been there). Where our freedom of speech is protected, but so is public shaming and public execution. One of many over corrections that makes Americans afraid to have an opinion.

A friend of mine visited recently, and it was great to see him. He has always been a good friend. I think he is extremely smart, well read, and I value his opinion. Even his difference of opinion. Which he had no problem voicing when we were watching youtube and he saw all the dude perfect videos I watch. He had a very articulate explanation for why he did not like Dude Perfect and I even laughed when he added a, “You’re better than that,” quip at the end of his synopsis.

I think about this often. One, because I didn’t have the energy to debate (which made me feel a little weak) but also because it’s ok for someone to not like something. What’s important is understanding the meaning we assign to what we like or dislike. In this situation I prioritized our friendship over the impulse to argue and the need to be right. Especially over something that was solely a matter of opinion and perspective. When I look at Dude Perfect I see standards and honesty, things I wish were more prominent. When my friend sees them, he sees a representation of everything he dislikes in the world. And no matter who is right or wrong or what we believe certain things represent, friendship is about accommodating and building something. Something that’s not built on subjective absolutes or placating each other.

My highschool geometry teacher used to always say my name and go, “… I don’t think you’re grrrraaaaaasping the cooooncept.” Then he would always tell me to simplify the equation. If I apply that principle to the combative and sensitive culture of today and simplify the equation, you are left with just people. Say I bump into some tall, handsome, fit, no sleeves on his shirt, backwards hat fuckface holding hands with his crazy-hot-matrix defying girlfriend. If I eliminate my biases, defensiveness, projections and insecurities, you’re left with a man and a woman. People just like you and me.

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