On Popular Things

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A discussion that I and my fellow authors seem to have again and again is “is it worth time reading or watching really popular things?” This is not snobbery, but more a question about using our limited time. Maybe something popular is so analyzed and discussed we don’t think there’d be any value in seeing it or reading it. Perhaps we want to find the less known and bring it to light. Maybe we’re tired of good but overexposed franchises

There are legitimate reasons to ask “do I care about this popular thing?”

As I noted before, you can overdo worrying about “am I consuming the right media.” There are reasons to take a chance on popular media.

First, you may like it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying something popular, no matter how many people tell you your nose isn’t turned up enough. To try to dislike things you like is to turn your back on the rest of yourself.

Even if your enjoyment is minor, you may also desire the social connections. You may be “into” a film series or TV enough that you can enjoy discussing it with others. Humans are inherently social beings, and media consumption is part of it. Don’t indulge in something you don’t like, but I think it’s understandable to “give it a try as everyone else is.”

If you are unsure if something popular is worth your time, then why not try it? You can always drop it after reading a few chapters or watching an episode. It is OK to quit.

Finally, no matter why you partake in popular media you will have useful reactions – as I’ve noted, your insights on any media are uniquely yours. You may learn a valuable lesson, even if that lession is I hate this stuff. Each encounter with media – rare or common – is a learning experience.

Remember, your experience of a media is unique, even if it is “I will never touch this dreck again.”

Steven Savage