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Culturally Popular – To be a popular artist do you have to think popular culture is actually good?

I watched "The Hangover." I fucking hated it.  This is a movie 50 million people loved?!

I've tried to watch "Criminal Minds" and "Bones" and "NCIS" and "Big Bang Theory."  I detest them.  These are shows that get 10 million viewers per episode and dot the Neilsen ratings weekly top ten?!

I started "The Da Vinci Code."  Quit after page 50.  This is a book that has been read by zillions of people in 40 different languages?!  I didn't even know there were 40 different languages.

I'm not a culture snob.  I read, watch, and listen to everything.  True, I pursue the best of the best, but I also read, watch, and listen to the most popular of the popular.  Just to see "what it's all about."  Just to try to understand the zeitgeist.

When it comes to books, I not so humbly think that my book "How to Fail" is vastly superior to most.

Based on sales alone, it is most certainly not.

And that's my point exactly.

Does the fact that I hate most all best-sellers yet think my book is better, doom me straight from the get go?

Does one have to generally like the most popular of popular culture to then produce his own super popular culture?

Did Spielberg have to like the American Hollywood hits of the 50s and 60s (as opposed to the more artsy European stuff) in order to become the definitive hit-maker of his era?

Did J.J. Abrams have to worship blockbuster artists like Speilberg--because we know he did--to become the most famous pop producer of his era?

Did J.K. Rowlings have to be inspired by the most famous piece of pop culture ever in order to create the most read book series ever?

(Maybe I should start going the initials route--A.M. Goldfarb.  Yeah, that's the ticket.)

Would I write the kind of works that were not just liked, but were gulped up by the idiot masses if I was also a massive idiot that loved all the popular shit?


Or, maybe I just need a movie released to 3000 screens, a TV show aired on CBS, a book given front table placement at the airport newstand.  Maybe I need to curse less.

Whatever the case, I'm about to start reading "The Hunger Games" to see what that shit's all about and why it sells like fucking crazy.

Then, I'll keep writing what I like to write.



Popular culture* of recent times I actually liked:

Every Pixar film
"Avatar" (seriously)
"The Dark Knight" & "Inception"
"The Blind Side"
The Millenium Trilogy
"Room" by Emma Donahue
NBC Thursday night comedies
"How I Met Your Mother"
"Modern Family"
Lady Gaga

*I defined this as blockbuster movies, highly-watched network TV shows, and best-selling books before any one argues.

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  1. Big Bang Theory is an excellent show, my friend.

  2. I clicked on that JK Rowling link expecting to see something about the Beatles or Star Wars, D’Oh!

    I don’t think you need to actually like popular culture, but you need to be conversant in it. It would not shock me to find that some very popular artists think pop culture sucks and that their won work is the lowest form of hackery, but they are just churning out product. It would certainly be easier if you liked popular culture so that you could immerse yourself in it, but the immersion is all that is necessary.

    I did not hate “The Hangover” but I did not think it was the instant classic that so many did. I thought it was a mildly amusing movie that I will never see again. On the other hand, I loved “Superbad.” That movie is the “Animal House” of this generation.

    Do you include “Outsourced” as an NBC comedy that you liked? That had a halfway decent premise that just failed to execute the dismount.

    • I liked “Superbad” too. Debateable whether that would “count” as super popular culture but I suppose any Apatow work would. So, yeah, I liked that.

      Never watched “Outsourced,” I thought it looked dreadful. Though a lot of people I respect dug it.

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