Without wishing to sound like Donald Rumsfeld, pop culture can be divided into three broad categories: the popularly popular, the unpopularly unpopular and the unpopularly popular.
The populary popular are books, TV shows, films and music that are both objectively successful in terms of sales/ratings and have a highly vocal fanbase.
Examples include Harry Potter, Christopher Nolan’s Batman films and the recent fake moustache drama Howzat.
The public are willing to spend money on these creations as well as voice their support in every way up to and including extremely disturbing fan art. (NSFW. Especially No. 8)
The unpopulary unpopular are the TV shows cancelled after two episodes and the books which go straight from the printers to the remainders bin.
No-one mourns their passing and they can not even hoped to eventually be enjoyed ironically by hipsters.
Examples include Channel 10’s Everybody Dance Now and Tom Arnold’s worst-seller How I Lost 5 Pounds in 6 Years.
But the most interesting is the final category, the unpopularly popular. Consuming these works is like listening to Kyle Sandilands. Vast swathes of people logically must do it but no-one is willing to say so in public.
Does anyone know an out and proud Big Bang Theory fan? Are John Grisham’s sales figures an elaborate joke played by the publishing industry? Have you ever heard someone utter the phrase “I bought the new James Blunt album”?
Society’s dirty little secret is not only do we know these people but we are them.
All of us have a guilty pleasure, a love that dare not speak its name.
Yet when we hide it, it creates the farcical situation where Charlie Sheen can be the highest paid actor in the history of television despite no-one admitting to watch Two and A Half Men. Apparently the show’s entire rating success was built on people leaving the TV on while they were out listening to some hip new band we’ve probably never heard off.
For the sake of intellectual honesty, we must all overcome this guilt and be proud of our pop culture pecadilloes.
I will start by saying that I did buy the new James Blunt Album (or at least download a few songs of iTunes) and I enjoy his music.
So join me in throwing of the shackles of pretense and admit you own all the Twilight books and went to the midnight screening of the latest film. Don’t worry if your friends and co-workers will think less of you, statistically speaking at least ten per cent of them watched the X-Factor and are in no position to judge.
People of the world unite, we have nothing to lose but our shame.