You either laugh or you don't
Here's something you don't often see in the internet.
I have inexplicably become a fan of the NBC Monday night television programme Las Vegas.On the net, just like in real concrete life, I'm sort of used to hearing people defend their likes and attack their dislikes. Very rarely do you find someone who says they like something and then goes on to talk about how lousy it is. In fact, if you say you like something, others will assume you're defending its virtues and not just expressing a personal preference.
By most measures it is a truly dreadful show; it’s more like a “sexed up Love Boat in the desert” than anything else.
Aren't they really two different things? You can apply standards of merit without getting emotionally invested and see that something has value. But with likes and dislikes, you either do or you don't, and I think it's mostly out of your control. My guess is that people feel more like they're in control if they can cobble together a rationale for their opinions, instead of simply saying that they feel the way they feel.
Roger Ebert—who I suspect may be nuts, but that's another post—always says that you can't argue about comedy. You either laugh or you don't. Seems like that rule applies way beyond comedy, or movies.