Overrated vs Underrated. Most people just don’t understand what the terms overrated and underrated mean. They forget that some authority has to actually RATE the thing in question. However, based on the hundreds if not thousands of comments and articles I have read over the years, most people base their arguments on what they conceive popular opinion to be instead of looking at any data that may be available. Many topics/people aren’t even rated to begin with, so how could they be overrated? For example, someone once said that “The DailySkew is overrated”. Thanks, hater! Underrated is much more easy prove.
It doesn’t help that everyone with an opinion believes that their opinions are correct and authoritative on any and all topics. So many things are subjective in music, sports, politicians, historical figures, services, companies, etc. However, what shouldn’t be subjective is the data that actually “rates” something.
Although you may be too young or conditioned to believe everything on the internet (like polls or when message board mutants practice Groupthink) back in the day, each industry had trade publications (magazines, journals, digests, etc.) and usually there was an independent body or authority that created awards, a Hall of Fame, or rankings.
Yes, thanks to the Internet I have learned that many of these respected publications only had one editor, so it was his sole opinion, but that opinion created reputations since it was “in print” and read by thousands of people. Therefore, as a matter of historical record, we have to use those publications, along with newspaper articles and voting results from the time period to judge. Perhaps the main thing that some people overlook is sales data- did the public consume the product or pay to see the person?
All I am trying to say is that many people make a HUGE error when they use the words “overrated” and “underrated”. They usually refer to their own opinion (“I don’t like the “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, so it is overrated”), they use what they consider to be popular opinion and attack the straw man (“Derek Jeter is so overrated because he is a bad fielder”, or they create their own rating system to go up against their imagined system (“Hulk Hogan did not have a lot of wrestling moves, so he is overrated”).
Let’s go over these examples:
#1 Aretha Franklin’s Respect was ranked as the fifth best song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. She won Grammy Awards for it, and was inducted in the Hall of Fame. It sold a bunch. It was ranked first for Pop and for R&B in 1968. It was covered by dozens of groups and is routinely performed on American Idol. It has appeared in dozens of films and TV shows, as well.
The fact that Joe Anon from a message board doesn’t personally like the song is irrelevant, since millions of people have heard the songs and approved of it by buying it, downloading it, or voting for it.
#2 Derek Jeter is overrated because he doesn’t field well, and he is popular for no reason. New age stats show that Derek Jeter is a below average shortstop in terms of his fielding (he can’t get to balls at the edges of his subjectively assigned range). Yet Derek won the Gold Glove award for shortstop and numerous other accolades. Because of this, Stat Heads lashed out against Jeter and actually attacked his hitting, overall value, personality, and place in history. Just because someone isn’t perfect, it doesn’t mean he sucks. Jeter is a 1st ballot Hall of Famer.
#3 Most pro wrestling fans who think they are smart (I call them “smart marks”) love to rip Hulk Hogan’s poor “work rate” and “in-ring skill”. Here’s a newsflash: a wrestler’s job is to sell tickets with his charisma, look, and entertainment skills. Hogan by far was the biggest draw in the history of wrestling. ’nuff said
With my three examples, you have seen how some fans attack bands, movies, performers, or athletes so much by accusing them of being overrated, that they have lost sight of how much the performer actually accomplished. I also showed the proper way to use the words overrated and underrated.
Sticking to this, I would be wrong to say that Hulk Hogan is so overrated he is underrated [the title of this article was used to get your attention], because last time I checked he never won any Wrestler of the Year awards and he is not in the Hall of Fame because of the number of wrestling holds he had, but because he made the most money.
Better terms are “overlooked” and “overhyped”, and if the writer at least quantifies their definition “List of Players that Did not Deserve Gold Glove Awards”, “Top 10 Wrestlers Whose In-Ring Skill Did Not Warrant a Huge Push”.