For instance, I tend to be really hard on people who only like movies that everyone else likes or people who only watch movies like "Bad Boys 2" and "Blade: Trinity." In fact, up until last spring, I would say I was ignorant as to the importance of needing to watch movies like this. These movies make hundreds of millions and are seen by 70% of our country almost religiously, thus, couldn't they be said to be more influential (or reflective of society's real needs and wants) then movies like, oh...let's say "Magnolia?" Now, I hate what I just wrote but I think it's the truth. Wouldn't you have to agree if you really gave it some thought?
So, since last spring I've attempted to minimize the amount of "downplaying" of movies like "Bad Boys 2" b/c of how I believe this kind of attitude pulls me further and further away and makes me more and more out-of-touch with a culture that really does love to watch movies like this ("Bad Boys 2," "Exit Wounds," "XXX," "Star Wars 8")" ALL OF THE TIME. That's why they go to the movies. They don't want to go to try to find hidden meaning like why the camera captured only the hands of the people in a particular scene or how the mood of the movie really correlated to the colors used by the filmmaker--were they saturated or were they desaturated out? As one writer I'm reading right now would say, they go to find out one thing. Particularly, the point of it all--what is the point? The point of the movie: what is it? If it's ambiguous and weird like "Magnolia" the general public will hate it (emphasized place on the word "hate" in the previous sentence). If it's dry and dysfunctional and only funny to people who think suicide is funny, then once again, the general public will hate it (like perhaps "The Royal Tennenbaums," although I'm not suggesting the suicide scene was funny in this film, i'm just saying that people like me probably thought it was very telling or revealing of Luke Wilson's true character and people like my friend "Bob" think it's just freaky and weird and abnormal and totally "f-d" up). Like one of my Taylor professors used to say, "I don't go see movies to see reality--I go see movies to escape it. If I wanted to watch what it feels like to have your wife cheat on you [he was referring to "American Beauty" at the moment] I would turn on the TV, or talk to a friend or just look at the world around me and BE depressed." I never realized how right on this professor was...at least, when it comes to the feelings of MOST of society.
The truth is, the elitest crowd loves to gripe about how shallow and dull and ignorant and stupid and totally pathetic mainstream culture really is (and the people who consumingly buy into it) but let's be honest...what are we doing or they doing (am i part of the elite crowd? i'm not sure) to change or influence culture like these consumer movers and shakers are? Aren't we speaking and preaching to a choir, even though it's a choir that's about 1/100 of the mainstream size?
Which brings me to my personal dilemma (and the dilemma to all people sitting in a seat nearby me when it comes to popular culture): do I want to be a person who compromises knowledge and perfection for the sake of influencing the popular people or do i want to be a person who strives for knowledge and perfection even thought i'll eventually and probably end up alienating 90% of society, thus, having very very little influence (i.e., do I want to sing with "Destiny's Child" or "Sufjan Stevens"? It seems it's a 'damned if you do and damned if you don't' option and I don't like that at all.
Which brings me back to my original, opening sentence to which I think MIGHT be a solution (key word there is "a"). Shakespeare. I'll say it again, Shakespeare. He's one of the few people I can think of who made stuff that people who love "Bad Boys 2" would love and be entertained by and yet, pleased those hoity-toity people, those intellectuals and elite folks of society (while making fun of both classes simultaneously). That's why Shakespeare is so amazing. Not because today's scholars have said he is but because back in his day, he influenced the maximum number of people by realizing he had to please the poor and the popular as well as the proud and the elite. That is where his true genius lies in.
Thus, to the elite, I tip my hat...and to the popular crowd, I fart. Maybe it's not that difficult to do after all.