I know some people do not like popular things, simply because they are popular. If it’s popular, they don’t want to read it, see it, listen to it, wear it, or eat it. I always think of the people who refuse to read Harry Potter not because it sounds boring or because they think it’s of Satan, but because a massive amount of the world has had the audacity to like it and therefore it must be shunned.
Loudly shunned, actually. It’s not enough to just not read it – you must tell people about how you are not reading it because you are not a hive mind and you are a forward thinking individual and . . . oh, what was that? Sorry, I dropped off in the midst of your long and tedious rant.
I’m sure there are other reasons to hate popular things (although I’m not really sure what they are), but when I see people turning up their noses at really awesome things to prove some sort of point, I can’t help but think, “Do you have any idea what you’re missing? It doesn’t make me think you’re awesome because you’re too good for Harry Potter; it just makes me think you aren’t trying something it’s very likely you might enjoy.”
Even more perplexing is when people stop liking things because other people have the gall to find out about it and like it too. “Oh, yes, I read the first Twilight book and I loved it, but then it became popular, so I haven’t read any of the other books.” Oh well, you sure showed them, didn’t you?
Of course, this may be because I usually like the bandwagon, especially when it comes to books. If it’s popular, I want to read it: The Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, Sarah Dessen, Georgia Nicolson. Show me the bandwagon and I’ll start chasing it. If thousands or millions of people like it, it’s likely there’s a reason for that (Eat, Pray, Love being an obvious exception where my eyes nearly fell out from the eye-rolling it forced me to do, as you can see here), although obviously I’m not saying all popular things are good or that all unpopular things aren’t.
Maybe this makes me insanely low-brow, but I don’t really care. I don’t want to have people ask me for book recommendations and to respond with some title that had a first-run of twelve whole copies and probably is only available from an international publisher for $178 plus shipping. It is one million times more likely that I’ll steer you right toward something with a long hold list at the library.
I like liking things that other people like. I like going to a midnight showing of something or waiting in a long line to meet a popular author or see a famous sight. (I will generally not make a fool of myself and I will never throw my underwear on the stage, but I have no issues with being a groupie). I enjoy having interests in common with other people, being fascinated by the same TV shows, or having seen some famous location in Boston that millions of other people have seen too.
In fact, I feel so strongly about this, that I intend to make it part of my professional creed. I told Bart last night, “This clearly makes me a librarian for the people.”
I like the sound of that.