Thursday, 1 November 2007

I've never...

(Continuing this week's emergent theme of me against popular culture.)

There are lots of "great" movies I've never seen: Lawrence of Arabia, Metropolis (the 1927 movie) or Goodfellas, for example. Similarly, there are lots of "great" books I've never read: War and Peace, Slaughter House 5 or The Catcher in the Rye, for more examples.

Does this make me culturally ignorant? Possibly. But there are a few arguments I'd like to make:

Argument from popularity: just because a lot of people believe something, doesn't make that something true. So lots of people liked The Great Gatsby (another one I haven't read), does that make this book good or just show that people have defective tastes?

Only the known can be good: Now, I read a lot of Doctor Who novels (*shock*, no, really?). Fine, I doubt they'll ever make the top 100 classic novels of all time, but... I can't judge that. And the people who are the ones who would judge that (and why should we listen to them? - argument from authority) probably will never read a Doctor Who novel, so these books so unjudged. Maybe Camera Obscura is the highest example of literature ever, but so many people will never know because it's just a Doctor Who novel.

I may not read what literature classes are based on, nor watch films that are taught as the best examples of all time, but I enjoy what I do read and watch. Maybe I would like that other stuff, and maybe that will raise my "cultural recognition", but I've got enough to be going on with in the areas I am interested in.

(Okay, not entirely sure of what point I'm making, but whatever it is, consider it made, unless I wasn't making any point at all.)



Foo said...

I'm reading the EDAs at the moment and am on Grimm Reality at the moment...can't wait for Camera Obscura after your comments.

Read Warmonger last that is a shining example of something...!

Jamas Enright said...

Yes, Warmonger is amazing, so terrible, and yet... so readable!