Have you ever wondered why something is popular? Have you ever questioned the quality of something popular? Have you ever tried something that everyone else seems to be raving about, only to be disappointed? Of course you have. We all have. Why is that?
This morning Steve and I were discussing how the world is more accepting of crap these days. The more other people accept it, the more it becomes popular. Then the powers that be get the idea of, “well, lots of people liked this, so let’s rejig it and package it as something slightly different but the same.” They make money because people love the same crap.
Granted, we can’t argue taste. This is all about television shows, movies, music and books, of course. Plenty of people said they couldn’t stand Gilligan’s Island but it still stayed on television forever. I know that the argument is, “Well, I don’t want to think about it, I just enjoy it.” That’s fine but it makes me sad to know that quality books, movies, shows, and music aren’t even known about by some of these people who don’t want to think about it. I know people who have also thought I was in the wrong for not going along with the sheep-like following of a certain popular show. (I’ll give you a hint, it’s a competition and the one who wins year after year sounds just like the winner from the last season.)
We all have our guilty pleasures, as I mentioned in my last post about contemporary and classic books. I watch reality shows even though they aren’t good, quality shows. Even when I watch them I ask myself why I’m bothering but sometimes a little thoughtless fun in your entertainment decisions is good. But most of us know the difference. We may know things such as “Moves Like Jagger” is a terrible song that shames Mick’s good name, for example. We may also know that Twilight fan fiction is based on books that were called out by Stephen King himself as terrible. We could also know that a movie like Battleship is bound to be awful if it’s based on a board game. And I’m sure we all know that half of the stupid shows in prime time are bloody awful. Why, why do they still watch them?
But some people can read, listen to, or watch these for a cheap thrill. However, knowing that they aren’t “good” is the difference between those who go “this is the best book/show/song/band/movie ever.” No, no it’s not. You can enjoy it but it’s not “good.” Good connotes quality, effort, style, talent and creativity. I am not trying to demean anyone who likes music on Radio One or Hillybilly Handfishin’ (thank you, Joel McHale for reminding me what kind of crap the US television producers can create.) My hope is just that they give things that aren’t popular a second chance. Some good things are popular, of course, but the majority, not so much.