Thursday, January 12, 2006

The popular conundrum

According to the book of Benrik (sidebar), today is Mainstream Day. What better day than today to post on my aversion to most things popular*. When things (books, movies, music, clothes) enter into that phase where everyone just has to have it, I begin to get annoyed with the very existence of the object in question. The Da Vinci Code, for example, was an entertaining enough book, but the thought of millions of people signing up to join the cult of Dan Brown and worship at the altar of his stories makes me want to wretch. It most assuredly makes me want to avoid it like the plague. The Oprah effect is also part of the problem. I have no issue with Oprah, but I do find it a bit mind blowing. Take Oprah's latest book club pick, A Million Little Pieces. It was on my list of books to read when it first came out, but I just never got around to it. Because of Oprah every soccer mom, ritalin-popping wannabe is reading the book. Now, despite the fact I've heard he is a brilliant writer, I'm hesitant to pick up the book. In my mind, I recognize that insane popularity doesn't directly translate to complete and utter crap, but moving past that hurdle is difficult. This isn't a new phenominon with me. I was one of two girls during my freshman year of high school that truly hated New Kids on the Block. No shirts, buttons, dolls or cds for me. I guess the question I'm left asking myself is whether I can reconcile my intense dislike of mainstream popularity with a genuine interest in something that makes it big.

*Don't think of me as one of those people who thinks they're so cutting edge or too cool to like something everyone else likes. That's not where I'm going here. I just don't want to be a drone.

13 comments:

  1. I love the mainstream. I love to conform. Non-conformity is conformity at it's worst!


    But at the same time, I won't jump on the bandwagon of popular, or mainstream, things. Lord of the Rings? no thanks. wouldn't touch Harry Potter until I felt left out of conversations;) etc.


    So really, I don't fall on either side. I like stuff because I like it and generally just try to do the opposite of whoever is closest.

    How else to explain how I love Britney Spears AND "indie" bands:)?

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  2. See...and I love that about you. You like whatever you like whereas I feel like I should automatically dislike Ashlee Simpson on principle (even though her songs stick in my head). This post (mine) also annoys me because I hate people who are nonconformists just because but don't realize they're now conforming with the nonconformists.

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  3. I'm the same way as far as a lot of things is concerned. I wasn't living in the States when Survivor first started, and the mania over it annoyed me so much that I never jumped on the bandwagon. The same goes for Harry Potter. And American Idol (although that might just be b/c it's so damn stupid). And Billy Joel. It's not that I think I'm too cool, I just get annoyed at how flipped everyone else gets.

    As for A Million Little Pieces, well...if you read The Smoking Gun report, you might actually be more inclined to read it.

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  4. Wow, I can't believe I just wrote "as far as a lot of things IS concerned." Someone take away my U.S. Citizenship. That was horrible.

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  5. Tinapopo...I totally agree about A Million Little Pieces and the Smoking Gun thing. If the man can write, then he can write. Fact, fiction...who cares.

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  6. "I hate people who are nonconformists just because but don't realize they're now conforming with the nonconformists."

    EXACTLY!!!!!!


    I also love how I'll hate someone (Hilary Duff) and then one day, all of a sudden, I'm their biggest fan:)

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  7. I hate it because some of the bands I love are turning mainstream. Once they hit the big time, I think all of their creativeness hits a downward spiral. Look what happened to Dashboard Confessional...
    I read "Million Little Pieces" way before it became an Oprah favorite and I have to say, it's one of my favorite books. Serena, you should give it a shot. Not because Oprah told you to, but because I did ;-)

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  8. Definitely disagree with you Allie on a few levels...Sure, some bands get molded into a "singles selling band" but definitely not all. Look at DCFC, I think their last album was awesome. Just because they're getting paid more doesn't mean they'll stop making what they love necessarily.

    But everyone can have their opinion:)

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  9. yeah i'm actually reading 'A Million Little Pieces' now (I bought it last week). i was annoyed when i woke up and heard about the controversy swirling around it -- oh so is it the trendy thing to do now? Ick! I'm reading it --because I want to-- and so far I'm intrigued whether it's real or not!

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  10. Honestly, I didn't think their newest album was as good as Transatlanticism or The Photo Album, but that's just me.

    I think there's more pressure to produce more once you've hit mainstream.

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  11. Obviously we need to agree to disagree. I also tend to give the benefit of the doubt to groups I already like, ya know?

    ANyway...

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  12. Anonymous3:31 PM

    I think of mainstreaming differently because of my job.

    SD

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  13. Now we need to get "SD" a blog so he can have a little pictures, too;)

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