In all seriousness, I'm rather interested by the bug-eyed, slack-jawed "WHAT!?!?!!!" reaction I get when I:
a) announce that I'm unfamiliar with some apparently pivotal part of American popular culture.
|HER: Just like in Jaws!|
ME: I never actually saw Jaws.
|HIM: Listen, it's a Michael Jackson song!|
ME: Yech, I really don't like Michael Jackson.
The WHAT!?!?!?!!! is beginning to get to me. It's a knee-jerk reaction, of course, but the underlying mentality is rather disturbing. It betrays this conception that there is a certain pool of experience from which everyone usually drinks, and if you don't drink from it, you're...weird. While I accept the existence of the pool, I don't appreciate the judgement.
I try to follow my own tastes. It doesn't always work, of course: I am more likely to see a film if it receives approbation from critical observers. But I'm trying to develop my own critical palate. It's depressing, every time I hear a WHAT!?!?!?!!!, to remember that the majority of consumers in America (and possibly worldwide, but I'll only stretch my uninformed opinion so far) willingly drink from the popular pool of experience, and don't think about what they're drinking.
Long live semi-independent thought!