Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Popular? Why?

So. You ever hear a new song on the radio and then over the course of a week, hear that same song at least fifty more times? Have you ever wondered why exactly that song is so popular? Is it because the radio powers that be say so? The influence that mainstream media has over its consumers is a funny thing. I know I've found myself thinking that I like certain types of music just because the radio tells me they're popular, only to find that I don't really enjoy the songs at all once I give them a good listen (Green Day is a prime example of this). The same thing goes for TV shows, TV personalities and movies.

Here's a quick run-down of all things pop culture that I know I'm supposed to like because every other human on the face of the Earth does, but I'm just not in to:

1. Bob Marley: I'm sorry, I just don't get it. Try as I might, I can't stand reggae.
1.5. Jack Johnson: Popular surf rock? Seriously? The Beach Boys also fall into this category.
2. Nirvana: Don't understand why its so cool to like Nirvana. Dave Grohl is excluded from this discussion. I (heart) the Foo Fighters. Like, lots.
3. Oprah Winfrey: Good lord. So obnoxious. Throw your money around, crazy lady.
4. Forrest Gump: People LOVE this movie and I totally HATED IT.
5. Martha Stewart/Rachael Ray/Regis and Kelly: Ick. Ick. Ick. Kill me now.

On the other hand, though, there are certain things about pop culture I cannot get enough of. I know it's wrong, but I can't help it. Sometimes I feel a little dirty (Ok, not really, but you get the picture).

1. Bobby Flay: Ugh, I KNOW! But damn it, I love that guy! I just watched an episode of Throwdown! where he takes on a Philadelphia lady in a mac-n-cheese battle. I am now inordinately hungry.
2. The Hills: MTV hit pop culture gold with Lauren Conrad and all her Hollywood drama. Deee-lish, it is!

So very strange, this whole idea of liking something just because it's cool to do so, no? Ever happened to you? What is it about pop culture that you can't stand despite the fact that every media outlet is telling you that you should?

Discuss. ;)


Amisk8er said...

Oh man... enforcer... you just opened pandora's box!

-Music is put on the radio because people want to get their music out to the most listeners possible. But Radio has the uncanny ability to make good music bad, and bad music good... by virtue of the "play-a-song-100-times-in-one-day" method. And music that is just meant to be will stick regardless of the radio. I say F*%K radio!!!! it's terrible and nobody should listen, and that's mainly because it DOES influence your opinion.

-As far as liking things because it's "cool" to like them... well, please tell me you are above that! The problem with your opinions on this post is that you judge a few things based on their popularity, but hey, some things are actually, genuinely popular because they are actually genuinely liked by many people, and not because the media tells us so.

-My last point will simply be, your post seems to commit the big fallacy of expecting other people to like what you like, and wondering why some things are kept in the mainstream media when you don't like them. It is equally uncool to NOT like something because lots of people like it... unless fame and fortune have compromised that thing's integrity...

-that is all :-)

The Enforcer said...

Ok, clearly I failed at making my point. I'm gonna try my best not to get argumentative here. I promise. Lemme see if I can clarify...

"Music is put on the radio because people want to get their music out to the most listeners possible."

And who chooses what music gets put on the air? Certainly not the artists themselves. If you are a struggling musician trying to break into the scene, you have three choices...
1. Rampant Myspace whoring, a la Tila Tequila
2. American Idol
3. Internet radio, where musicians can hope that someone will discover their stuff so that they can have a cult following.

Otherwise, radio big-wigs choose what artists people get to hear, and will subsequently like. Now, for those of us who know better, we will continue to seek out other, lesser known outlets, such as internet stations, where truly unique talent exists. I think some things are genuinely popular because people think that's all there is and they learn to like what's given to them by radio stations.

In this post, I never tried to say that some things shouldn't be watched or listened to just because I don't like them. I was simply pointing out that *I* don't get it. ME. Obviously, plenty of people like the Jack Johnson coffee-house, hipster, beat-poet, hackey-sack sound. And that's fine. More power to them! The good thing about musical diversity is that there's something out there for everyone. My point was simply that certain aspects of pop culture are not for me and no matter how many times Bob Marley is rammed down my throat by local radio stations, I'm not gonna ever come around to liking it.

My whole idea behind this post was to get people thinking about the media they consume and whether or not they actually like it, or if they have been subtly influenced to do so. After all, I'm guilty of it, too.

Arvay said...

Well... supposed there is this song that you didn't used to like, and the radio plays it over and over, and then you *do* like it... And you sing along when it comes on the radio, and you enjoy a bit of your commute a bit more.

So now you have joy from a song that didn't used to give you joy. What's wrong with that?

The Enforcer said...

Honestly, there's nothing wrong with that at all. Some songs take a while to catch listener's attention.

Others, no matter how many times they're played and re-played, will never sound good to me. And not that my point of view is right or wrong...its just my opinion.