A few times a year us cultural fiends are hit with a new film, band or book that is touted as the greatest thing since The Godfather, Nirvana or On the Road. When it's a book, you notice that half the readers on your bus have this book in hand. When it's a film, every ass in your office "saw it over the weekend and was floored". And when it's band, well, they'll be coming to the Fillmore soon! And when it's a technological advance like the universally-adored iPhone, they're visible on every Starbucks coffee table from coast-to-coast.
I almost never buy into the hype of these things. And it's not because I'm a hipster or a snob (ok, I'm sort of both). When such a massive collection of people are swept up by something, I automatically question its worth. Yes, there have been exceptions. I ignored the raves about The Arcade Fire's "Funeral" until I just couldn't handle it anymore. I listened. And I liked it. A lot. However, this is very rare.
Let me see if I can get to the point. When so many people adore something in pop culture, doesn't that naturally mean that that work is somewhat watered down, in order to appeal to a large cross-section of folks? A perfect example would be "the indie film that could" (the phrase alone makes me want to cannonball off the Bay Bridge), otherwise known as Juno. I heard the raves from countless people, but remained very skeptical. A few weeks went by. More raves. There was talk of a Best Picture nomination. Sick of hearing from people about this movie, I finally gave in. About 20 minutes into the movie, my instincts were proven right. This is a terrible film, one of the most vapid and half-assed films I've seen in years.
I really don't know the point of this post, other than to somehow defend my cautiousness with respect to the latest hypes. People often seem a bit put-off by my refusal to just jump on the bandwagon.
Whether it's our government or the latest pieces of literature, we should always be cautious about things that are accepted and/or adored by huge numbers of people. Remember, fifty million people voted for George W. Bush, not once, but twice!
Oh, and stop bugging me about Vampire Weekend. I finally gave a listen. They're terrible.