Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reviled About Harry

I've been thinking a lot about a guy named Bill Cosford over the past few days.

If you lived in Miami during the seventies, eighties and early nineties, chances are you recognize the name -- likewise if you happen to go to the University of Miami or have gone there within the past decade or so (as the on-campus theater was officially dedicated to him in 1995).

Cosford was the film critic for the Miami Herald from 1973 until 1994 when, following a ski vacation in Colorado, he contracted pneumonia which killed him in a matter of days. During his lifetime and particularly his tenure at the Herald, Cosford was known both for his love of good movies -- as well as the better aspects of pop culture in general -- and for his scalpel-sharp wit, which he wielded unforgivingly in his reviews and occasional columns, making him seem at all times like a slightly more misanthropic version of Hawkeye Pierce.

Never was his brand of merry troublemaking better on display than when, in a column decrying the loss of criticism as an artform, he figuratively bitch-slapped ready-and-eager-for-prime-timers Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert for putting themselves above the films they were charged with reviewing. (If I remember correctly, he essentially told them where they should shove those "thumbs.") This brought a quick, angry and entirely condescending response from Ebert who, in predictable fashion, ran down his almighty resume, which includes an oft-touted 1975 Pulitzer.

The Herald printed Ebert's letter, along with Cosford's rebuttal which read simply: Are you the bald one or the fat one?

Bill Cosford was the evil antithesis of Dr. Seussian dingbats like the late Joel Siegel. He was Bill Maher with a pop culture jones. He was a punk with a pen.

Needless to say, he was also my fucking hero growing up.

My worship of Bill Cosford as a teenager was so fanatical in fact that upon enrolling at U.M., the second thing I did was attempt to sign up for a course in film criticism which he taught as an adjunct professor. (The first thing I did was get myself a show on WVUM, U.M.'s radio station and a campus institution that I would quickly attempt to destroy from the inside-out through a series of on-air pranks, profane humor and generally juvenile and despicable behavior. For the record, they let me keep the show for five years, which was two years longer than my actual collegiate career.) Unfortunately, when it came to actually getting an audience with Cosford, I apparently wasn't the only one with an apostolic respect for the man: I found myself locked out of the class.

Which simply meant that I was forced to take it without officially being enrolled.

When Cosford found out about this, I'm pretty sure he had the locks changed on his condo.

It took almost no time for me to realize that my wholly on-spec endeavor was worth the unnecessary effort; his class had a more profound and lasting effect on my Anschauung than most of my other classes combined (ie: Ethics in Journalism, given the state of the media I would eventually become a part of, was worthless; Institutional "Manipulative" Psychology, given the state of the media which I would eventually become a part of, was not.) Bill Cosford's take-no-prisoners, authoritarian view of criticism -- as well as the wise-ass nature of the way in which he hammered it home -- was absolute, and over time it became a philosophy that I learned to both adhere to and perpetuate.

Cosford's view was that he had no view, only the truth.

As far as he was concerned, the word of the analyst -- be his or her topic social, cultural or political -- was nothing short of gospel.

He taught those in his class that they were never to dilute their assessments by referring to them as simply "assessments;" you never said "I believe that..." "As far as I'm concerned..." or "In my humble opinion..." In the Cosford-Kai Dojo, your opinions weren't humble, they were fact -- and you defended them as surely as you'd resist the notion that the earth wasn't round. It would be easy to disregard such audacity as sheer arrogance, and no doubt many readers did, but to those under his tutelage, even as briefly as I was, this dogma became yours. You learned your craft -- learned about the topic at hand so that you could make an informed observation -- then you issued your edict. You never shied from healthy debate, but at the same time you never waffled.

If you ruffled a few feathers, so be it -- that's part of your job; you forfeited your position among polite society when you signed up to be an honest and critical writer in the first place.

I had assumed by now that I understood this fact and was well-acquainted with the bitter "reward" reaped from infurating a certain portion of the general public.

And then I went and pissed off the Harry Potter kids.

By now, those for whom the conclusion of the Harry Potter and the... series is nothing less than an event of life-or-death significance are probably aware of how the final chapter unfolds. As I'm not one of the former, I can in no way attest to the latter, but I do know this: My entirely made-up "spoiler," which was published merely as a kind of adolescent joke last Thursday, wasn't even close. That's fitting, seeing as how it was never intended to be.

It was, as I said, a joke, and one that in no way put anyone's enjoyment of his or her beloved weekend diversion -- no matter how rabid that particular Potter-head might consider him or herself to be -- in any sort of jeopardy.

Yet given the level of unbridled bloodlust that flooded my comment section, e-mail and MySpace account, you would've thought that I'd not only divulged the real ending of the latest and final Potter tome, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but actually tied J.K. Rowling to a chair and forced the Potter Nation to watch me squirt her down with lighter fluid and burn her alive -- along with, apparently, its collective childhood.

I might've feared for my life had the threats of physical violence I received not come from, well, Harry Potter fans -- but it was disconcerting nonetheless for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that an averagely-written children's book had the ability to inspire such maniacal devotion among those who had, in every other facet of their lives, stopped being children a decade or so ago.

It's this fact that comprises my main argument against the Harry Potter phenomenon. It's a little like Christianity: The book that it's based on isn't awful per se, but the extremist adoration that it inspires is utterly creepy. (I wouldn't be surprised, in fact, if a couple of millennia from now, the world is overrun by warring factions of Potter "believers" who've adopted this fantastical crap as a religion.)

I suppose it should be mentioned that I did actually read the first couple of Potter books -- at the behest of a friend of mine who was in her mid-20s at the time and had assured me that they were an exceptional read; I didn't much care for them, although I'm certainly willing to acknowledge that the later chapters may be more up my alley, so to speak. As I said though, my issue isn't so much with the books themselves as with the otherwise intelligent adults who behave as if the fate of this fictional character is inextricably linked to their own. While there's quite a bit of sense to the ubiquitous argument that Pottermania is inherently a good thing simply because it happens to have encouraged an entire generation of kids to read, the argument that invariably begins with, "Well, I grew up on these things," is ridiculous at face value; I grew up enjoying a lot of things that I abandoned as the years and -- believe it or not -- levels of maturity piled on.

I liked Duran Duran as a kid. They've released plenty of material since the heady days of Rio, and yet I haven't waited in line at midnight for any of it, nor have I midlessly shouted down those who want to know why I never grew the hell out of such a questionable phase.

If that analogy doesn't work, let me try another one -- one sure to generate even more unnecessary controversy and hostility among the fanboy crowd: Star Wars was the be-all-end-all when I was seven years old; looking back on it now it isn't half as brilliant as I remember, and with the exception of the inarguably excellent Empire, every movie in the series since has been average at best -- despite an overall claim to have grown with its audience.

No, I didn't dress up as Darth Vader and hit the Ziegfeld early for any of them -- and it's not just because I didn't feel like being rightfully and mercilessly mocked on national television by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

It's because I grew out of it.

To those who never could say the same of Harry Potter, that's certainly your choice -- although from what I've read, I'm not entirely sure that the epic tale of the boy wizard is any more worthy of such glorification from adults than, say, M. Night Shyamalan's last idiotic "fairy-tale," which was filled with just as much mythical nonsense as the Potter saga (although admittedly a hell of a lot less ill-advised hubris).

But to hitch your very happiness to such a mindless diversion, and to live in fear that someone might take that away from you -- might "spoil" your shot at joy itself -- simply by saying something you don't want to hear?

That's more than a little crazy.

Last week, I was out to dinner with a group of friends when the subject at the table turned to music, in particular, albums that changed our lives. I mentioned that the first record I ever bought had been Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (an album that was, up until the release of Michael Jackson's Thriller, the best-selling in history). For some reason, this elicited laughs from one person at the table, a guy from Jersey -- go figure -- who insisted that I had no idea what I was talking about.

He asked me why I held the album in such high regard, and I answered him.

Why was Fleetwood Mac's Rumours one of the best rock albums ever recorded?

For the same reason that it's inexcusably ludicrous for otherwise sane adults to attack somebody for making a joke that purports to give away the ending of a fucking kids' book: Because I say so -- and because it happens to be right.

Who knows, maybe Bill Cosford would've disagreed with me on both counts.


J.L.Jones said...

Well said, my friend.

Now go listen to some Siouxise. Heh!

yoursisthesuperior said...

I can say the exact same thing about Star Trek. I grew up on it. Loved it as a child. But I haven't been to see one of the movies in the theater since Wrath of Khan back in 82.

Anonymous said...

I agree totslly, " go your own way" has genius guitar licks. what other record brings together so much talent? as a lifelong indie record snob, this is one where the public got it right. it deserved to sell a zillion copies. I had a similiar blog arguement/discussion with a local writer over "album of the millenium" or something like that. he picked" London Calling" which I thought was a pretty good pick, even though I didnt think it holds up on some recent listens.
Incidentally, my first LP purchase at 6 years old, the Partridge Family. shit, I wanted to be a Partridge, still do.

Mrs.EdwardNorton said...

Thank you for this recent blog, Chez. The anger has subsided, and I believe I better understand your views. But, more importantly, I appreciate the way you expressed your views in this blog. And whoever has the opinion The Rumours album should NOT be considered one of the best albums of all time should "get a life". :)
Fleetwood Mac Rumours on vinyl, which was my father's, is right alongside my various other albums I grew up listening to on his turntable. Stevie Nicks is a goddess. Kudos!

VOTAR said...

KRAPCO Records presents:

"The Best of Stevie Nicks: What The Hell Is She Saying?"

Ms. Nicks, at her most nebulous.




and the incomparable "Bmneebleh."

$14.95 at finer music stores everywhere.

Nate said...

I still stand by my enjoyment of the Potter series for the same reason I check this blog everyday: it's just fun to read. My first album was No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom. I am still mourning the collapse of Gwen Stefani.

Anonymous said...

dude, in this case, you ARE right.

the potter books are such over-hyped garbage.

J.L.Jones said...

My first album was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness... While not the best rock record in the world by any means. It's my personal number 1 with a bullet, just for opening my eyes to the vast world of music that I hadn't explored yet.

jon29 said...

Not wanting to be told the ending to a book you haven't read yet is hardly the same thing as "hitching your very happiness to such a mindless diversion, and to live in fear that someone might take that away from you -- might 'spoil' your shot at joy itself", but you can burn all the strawmen you want. It's your blog, right?

I for one think it's riotously funny that a Kelly Clarkson-loving soccer fan has the nerve to look down his nose at fans of any other "mindless diversion." Pot, meet kettle.

LaRoach said...

It's a little like Christianity: The book that it's based on isn't awful per se, but the extremist adoration that it inspires is utterly creepy.

This perfectly sums up my feelings on Oprah, NASCAR and Harley Davidson owners. In and of themselves they are pretty insignificant, but the fans turn them into something that I despise.

Neil said...

What's even more horrifying is that people actually believe that Rowling is the best writer of our century. That's scary.

Vermillion said...

What did you said about Star Wars? I'll kill you. I'LL KILL YOU!!!!!!

Were you expecting something like that?

I have to say, Harry Potter really is this generation's Star Wars. Rowling did the same thing Lucas did: she created a fictional universe that tapped into tropes that people enjoyed, even though her actual writing wasn't all that fantastic. Honestly, if you asked these fans what they REALLY liked most about either franchise, chances are the actual writing will not be the number one answer.

Simply put, zealotry in any form is stupid. I mean, why aren't there people running around in red hoods or pig noses calling for the banning of wolves? Or people in papier-mache shells that chase after rabbits?

Although, I do have to thank Rowling for bringing Emma Watson into my life. Rrroowwrr!

Al said...

Quiet Riot, if memory serves. Learned to play drums by imitating Roger Taylor (Duran's first album) and STILL have fond memories of Steve Steven's behind-the-back guitar solo at my first concert, Billy Idol 1983.

Quiet Riot? Kinda sucked.
Duran Duran? Didn't endure.
Idol? A VH1 trivia question.

I LOVED Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but not so much that I stuck a fish in my ear. Perspective, people.

sparksinner said...

Don't get me wrong, I love seeing new stuff here, but what happened to taking a week off?

If you do a Top 10 Douchebag list for 2007 the collective Potternuts should rate high up.

Thizzle said...

As someone who is currently embroiled in a comment war for my post book 7 critique of the whole series, I feel your pain man. I guess critiquing HP is like admitting you killed Jesus. My god these people are scary. Maybe we should remind them not to drink the koolade.

Chez said...

jon29 -- I'm pretty sure I've made my point crystal clear by now, so I'm not going to go back and forth with those commenting this time around.

However, the "moment of joy" line was a direct reference to about a half-dozen e-mails that I received which used those exact words.

As for Kelly Clarkson and soccer, I've never stood in line at midnight for either, nor have I ever chastised someone for mentioning the score of a soccer game before I could see it (to say nothing of the fact that, although both have young fans, neither was once sold specifically to them -- not even Clarkson).

Oh, and people who say "pot, meet kettle" are really annoying.

Prophet of ra said...

i have told you before: If christians didn't actually believe what they said, I would totally be a evangelical gay-hater for lack of anything else to do. I love mindless devotion (WE ARE... PENN STATE!!!).

Cults rule. and make no mistake about it.. we are a cult. well at least I am.

I think sparksinner should be on the top 2007 list for saying such a dumb thing.

Lastly, I suppose your saved from me saying 'petrificus totalus!' and taking you down old school with the Body-Bind Curse. I was tempted to get my Harry Potter Club buddies to make a house call for you're other blog post...

You lucked out, sir, but you may want to be a bit more careful of what you post next time.

PS I think it is fantastic that people got violent in emails.

Wendi said...

I agree with most of what you said. Two things:

1) People who deliberately spoil the ending of movies, books, etc. or lie to deliberately make people think they've spoiled the ending - especially to children - are assholes and should be shunned by society. (I realize you didn't do this)

2) You knew the response you'd get by posting that entry.

katefolsom said...

The first few Harry Potter books really are for children, but as the series progresses and gets darker, it's a lot less shameful for grownups to be seen with them. If all you've read are the first and second, i suggest you pick up the sixth and seventh. They're very different.

Tom said...

Are you the lame one or the unfunny one?
Sorry. Just going straight for the truth.
like fucking Cosford had no idea. What bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Because no adults ever read Charlie an the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, or The Secret Garden. That would be IMMATURE.

If you had to make a joke mocking a fan base that numbers in the millions, could you at least have been original, instead of making the same sort of comment that hundreds of radio hosts, "comedians", and dicks-with-blogs made? Ha ha, fake spoiler, very clever. You were the ONLY one to think of such a thing.

Jayne said...

Pot, meet kettle.

love you, baby!

Lorenzo said...

I just repeated,

"It's this fact that comprises my main argument against the Harry Potter phenomenon. It's a little like Christianity: The book that it's based on isn't awful per se, but the extremist adoration that it inspires is utterly creepy. (I wouldn't be surprised, in fact, if a couple of millennia from now, the world is overrun by warring factions of Potter "believers" who've adopted this fantastical crap as a religion.)"

to a coworker. The response I got was, are you ready for it?

"shut your crap hole non believer!"

Lorenzo said...

Harry Potter is most certainly nothing at all like Star Wars. That's all I have to say, about that.

VOTAR said...

Hey Chez I just rolled my two d20 dice and the chart in the Fifth Edition Dungeon Master's Guide says that I have to use my +6 Ork Claw of Zoltar to cast a IOCUS EXEMPLAR spell to charm you into being more original.

Now, hold still while I mix the bat vomit and the pixie dust. This will only hurt if you fail your Saving Throw versus spells from the School of Prepubescent Fanboy Infatuation.

TeenieBopper said...

I couldn't care less about what you think of J.K. Rowling or Harry Potter. As I commented in the fake spoiler comments, I've spent far too much time trying to convince people of the merits of things like BSG, the collective works of Joss Whedon, the potential value of some tabletop games (I'm a massive dork) etc., and getting rebuffed with innumerable comments like "Pfft, that's for kids/idiots/geeks and couldn't possibly have any value whatsoever" that I don't even bother anymore. I like them, I enjoy myself, and that's good enough for me.

I hardly consider myself a hardcore fanboy. I didn't line up at the bookstore, in costume, hours before midnight in an attempt to be one of the first to get the book. I did order from Amazon for guaranteed first day delivery, and I had finished reading the book by Sunday night. I'm going to try and explain what I disagree with, and if all that is enough to label me a Potter-head in your mind, so be it.

I tried very heard to avoid spoilers for the book. Like I said previously, reading a book is like a journey, and the destination is part of that. In any story where the ending isn't given away at the beginning of the story itself, then the destination plays a significant part. If those spoilers had been real, would have I been angry or upset? Yeah. Enough to threaten actual violence? No. Enough to stop coming to your blog for a week or two, maybe. I still would've read the book, and I still would've enjoyed most of it, albeit missing the joy of finding out exactly what happened the first time. The point is, some people wanted to not know the ending. Is that really that unreasonable? It is really necessary to make a mockery of that? Hell, is there really anything to make a mockery of?

I know your post was a joke. But that doesn't change the fact that spoilers were out there, and that there are big enough assholes who take some sort of perverse glee in ruining someone else's pleasure regardless of how big or small, mindless or insignificant. For some of us, those could have very well been real spoilers.

Imagine for a moment that it's 2004. You've just finished watching Kobol's Last Gleaming Part 2. General Adama's been shot, and it looks like he might not survive. Flash forward a few months. You're sitting down with Jayne to watch Scattered and find out what Adama's fate is. I call you minutes before the episode is about to begin and tell you what's going to happen. Perhaps a better analogy would be me spoiling Starbuck's death. If you can honestly tell me you've never felt a rush of happiness after reading the conclusion of a book or watch a tv show/movie, if you can honestly tell me you didn't try to avoid BSG fan sites or whatever in order to avoid having thing spoiled, or that you wouldn't have been at least a little upset that significant events had been spoiled, then I guess I'm just wasting my time. You simply wouldn't understand.

But really, if our being a fan of Harry Potter is so mindless or idiotic, why are you spending so much time on it?

namron said...

If this is your vacation, good God, what is your job like?

You remember when the Herald was a real newspaper. What a turd-tray it has become.

Vermillion said...

Anon 3:51, the only reason they use such a joke constantly is because Potter fans make it so easy to do so. They act as if finding out about the end of a book before they read the rest is going to destroy their lives. And I don't mean the kid fans, who deserve to have a little wonder in their life. I mean the grown up, tax-paying, car-driving, supposedly mature adults.

And those who would maliciously seek to ruin the series for everyone are just as much assholes as those who threaten violence over a fantasy book. The dickheads who went through the trouble of breaking into storerooms to get ahold of the book, for no other gain except to piss people off, totally deserve to be beaten to an inch of their lives. But that is because they are such dumbaass losers that they get their jollies from crushing childrens' spirits.

So point your invective at them, instead of at a guy who only makes fun of you because you make yourself so easily mockable.

Besides, what would Harry Potter do?

Kell said...

Anon, The fact that the blogger made the same joke as many others did and still got a huge reaction to it...well who's the bigger fool?
And while there is no harm in reading/re-visiting your childhood books or music (and Im sure the blogger would agree), acting like a fricken child when someone makes fun or has a dig at you about it, is ridiculous. Sending threats via email is unhinged and letting it ruin your day/week/life is just plain sad.

Love Kell.
Currently reading: The Never Ending Story. (yes, Im serious)

sparksinner said...

Yaaayyy. A Potternut nominated me for the D.E.M. 2007 Douchebag list.

I'm truly honored. Wonder if I'll make it this year.

mrmook said...

You're absolutely dead on, Al....


You know what I grew up reading as a kid? Comic Books. LOVED 'EM! All kinds. Still do.
(and no...unfortunately I don't have a collection of hermetically sealed "mint" condition editions in my home-although I believe it's OK if I envy anyone who does- because my collection fell by the wayside around the time that I discovered that certain young ladies might possibly allow me to remove their clothing if I asked really nicely).

After a long hiatus I discovered "The Dark Knight Returns" and read with born-again teenage fascination. Almost drooling it was so good.

But if anyone told me- Grow the F###K up dumbass, it's a childish adolescent male power fantasy about grown men in tights fighting fictional evil.....

I would thank them, go back home, lock my doors and enjoy.

always thanking you Chez

Choenbones said...

I'd have to say White Zombie's Astrocreep 2000 would be my album of choice.

As for the whole Potter nonsense, I'm finally going to plead ignorance and apathy. I just hope it hasn't created a cult that will somedayt try to get me to drink the kool-aid.

Oh, and Chez, you are right...Potterology is going to be on the same playing field as Scientology (or Christianity for that matter)...It'll be a fad for most and a way of life for the true batshit loonys.

lakelady said...

the real joke is anyone actually believing that you knew the ending or better yet even cared. Good one Chez :)

Rob in Calgary said...

Very well written. These legions of Potter fanatics are a bit frightening, and more than a little humourless. I made a joke in another blog that "Encyclopedia Brown could kick Harry Potter's ass" and I got emails (from friends, family) of "No he couldn't!" These are fictional characters.

I've just decided to look the other way until the hysteria dies down, lest I sigh myself into insanity.

Monique said...

Haha I love this entry. Although the attempt to stir up more arguing by some of the commenters is pretty hilarious also. This just isn't getting old!

Very nice to meet you tonight, btw.

Anonymous said...

I have seen a grown woman reading one of Ann Brashare's Travelling Pants series and wondered what happened to adults having some sense of humility when it comes to reading childrens books. Quite simply, we've slowly all been juvenilized in some form or another. Video games, driving inappropriately-sized vehicles, eating fast food instead of cooking a decent meal for yourself, and reading books geared for those without a high school diploma are all symptoms of what's ailing society.

No one is growing out of anything anytime soon. Rowling will garner more press at the time of her death than did Vonnegut. While there are those who can enjoy both the kid stuff and adult literature and art, there are many who just plain can't fathom how enlightening an adult-geared work can be. Those are the ones who fully deserve all the scorn and derision that can be mustered. It's how I feel AND I'm right on this.

Also, for the record... Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads) and Stay Hungry (Twisted Sister) were the first two tapes I owned. The latter was stolen from me and the former got me from prepubescence to present day.

The key is to get the lowest common denominator to eat the rich for you so you don't suffer indigestion.

Anonymous said...

I'll admit, I'm a pretty big Potter fan and I didn't want to be spoiled. I considered reading the 'carpet-copy' to get in the know before some asshat could shout the ending at me, but I wanted the actual book. So what to do? I avoided most of the internet the minute the books shipped out.

I don't understand these crazed fen who threaten lives over being spoiled. Take some responsibility for yourself. You don't want to be spoiled? AVOID ANYTHING THAT IS POTTER RELATED. This is the 7th damn book, it's not like these people don't know how this works by now.

That said, I thought your 'ending' was hilarious. Not for one minute did I think you were actually spoiling me. Anyone who did needs to be sterilized. Seriously, they must not be permitted to breed.

- Kara

Seamus said...

I can't say I'm that surprised. I like the books myself, but not so much to say, fly to England and wait in line for a couple weeks just to get a book that much sooner.

There simply seems to be a certain percent of the population of the population that will always become entirely too invested in any sort of fictional entertainment. The phenomenon of fan fiction alone demonstrates this.

To cut it down to a simple tenet of life: fuck them if they can't take a joke.

Madeline said...

I would have been rather angry if anybody had purposefully divulged the ending of the series to me before I had read it. There is a certain feeling of nostalgia and affection that came attached to each new installment of Harry Potter's life... because you didn't read them as a child, you might not understand the very unique sense of devotion they elicit amongst those who grew up with Harry. And that's fine. I don't mind if you think they are poorly written books, although I must disagree with you on that count. However, I do mind being insulted as a person for what I like to read.

Anonymous said...

everything you write is, like, so funny and edgy!

love you, baby!

max said...

I might be a little late in the game, but here goes.

I'm not a Harry Potter fan, haven't seen the movies or read the books, but I am a music fan (snob) and happen to work at a commercial radio station.

On a daily basis I get request for mindless drivel like Nickelback and Hinder, and I have to bit my tongue nearly clean off to keep from berating the listener for their music choice.

Over the years I have had to give this serious thought as bands of this ilk continue to have legions of fans (much like Harry Potter). Eventually I came up with a "common ground for the "snob" and the "zealot".

If you like Nickelback (et al..) because it's "fun", contains a "pleasing sound", or reminds you of a certain memory....fine. ROck out with your cock out (just do it far from me).

However, if you love Nickelback based on artistic merit and think that their musicianship and lyrical content are unrivaled...then you, my friend, are an idiot.

I'm sure any of us could rattle off hundreds of bands that are artistically more talented than your Nickelbacks.
If you rate those homgenized bands above the Clash's, Green Day's, U2's, Stevie Ray Vaughn's, blah, blah, blah then you seriously have to get out of the house.

I can imagine it's the same for books. If you want to argue that HP sends you back to your youth, encourages kids to read, is fun...fine.

However, if you think the writing is up there with Hemingway...go away.

Chez said...

Anonymous -- Could you have at least tried to sound sincere?

Max -- So I assume you work at Clearchannel.

It's been my experience that fans of shit like Nickelback and Hinder (and Daughtry... ooooh, dear God, Daughtry) are pretty much the lowest common denominator of mindless white trash. They don't have much in the way of high standards; they're basically just listening to something with guitars that they can bump through the speakers of their pick-ups or 1983 Monte Carlos -- something that might get them laid by the chick who works at the Dairy Queen or the dude who pumps their gas -- something that can't ever be mistaken for that "nigger" music.

Voicing your hatred for it isn't really snobbery, it's just common sense. If you were one of those people who, say, back during the mid-90s used to say things like, "Oh, I can't stand Soundgarden -- I listen to TAD!" but were willing to instantly move Tad back to the "disliked" position and move The Melvins into the beatified spot the minute the former began getting even two seconds of radio airplay -- THEN you'd be a music snob.

max said...

I work for #2 actually, Sort of CC light. I commend them for employing actual living, breathing life forms for most of the broadcast day.

You have to understand, I work in a market that was devoid of Alternative radio during the 90's and sells out Def Leppard shows on a regular basis. To them I'm a "snob" for listening to Jeff Buckley and Social Distortion while shunning Buckcherry and Plain White T's (Hey there Delilah, can you end my suffering?).

I also get labeled as being "too smart" for having educated opinions and using "big" words like "copious".

They're good enough people, just about a decade behind. And no, I don't work in the south either. Almost as north as you can get.

I think if I were back in civilization, I'd actually be seen as less than a snob.

...and by the way, we have some hot chicks that work at the Dairy Queen here..

Chez said...

Why the hell IS that Delilah song popular?

Buckley's God incidentally.

Vermillion said...

teeniebopper, I totally understand where you are coming from. Trust me, I am as big of a geeky fanboy as you can get. My blog is proof of that (blatant plug!). And not wnating to hear spoilers isn't unreasonable. I am sure if someone told me that Wash dies the day before Serenity was released, I would be pissed. Nobody wants a good surprise spoiled.

But it is when supposedly mature adults let that initial feeling of disappointment and irritation dig in and become a festering growth of anger and resentment that things get out of hand. Yes, some dipshits with nothing better to do were trying to ruin your day. It doesn't mean that you have the right to snap at anyone who doesn't share your devotion.

Chez mocks people; it is what he does. It is in the subtitle of the site. To knock him for doing this is really childish, and shows that there are people who can't laugh at themselves. And it is pretty sad that both gun lobbyists and Pottermaniacs share the same case of thin skin and thick heads.

Anonymous said...

I do not know ANYTHING about Harry Potter. Never read the book(s) nor saw the movies. Why? I don't know

A Bowl Of Stupid said...

Dude, you said "anschauung." Heh, heh.

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

I actually like the Melvins, never have listened to Tad, and loved Nickelback when I was thirteen and they were first popular because I thought they were SO hardcore...but then when their second album came out and sounded exactly like the first I got a clue, got a life, got Nirvana. And a bunch of other bands who have been defunct for years. However, I can get Max's point about liking something because it's fun or contains a pleasant memory--I don't think that J.K. Rowling is THE best writer EVER, and I do spend most of my time reading books actually written for adults, but in my mind she does have some talent and I was eleven years old when Harry Potter first became popular in America. I like the books, plain and simple, and I was slightly pissed when you put up your fake spoiler, but after discovering that it was just a joke, I was okay. Suffice to say it annoyed me more when my supposedly serious hometown newspaper did the same thing, except they actually knew what they were talking about.
Oh, and as for halfway-crappy music and memories? When I went to Scotland at age 14, I liked Michelle Branch's first album. Now whenever I'm in some store and here that 'Everywhere' song, I think of Scotland. Not a bad thing, but the music still ain't great.

Kashmoney said...

While I can only say that I got one book at midnight (#6), I didn't wait in line and dress up for it. In fact, my brother and sister and I happened to be on a late night grocery run for our mom. But anyway, I know what you're saying about growing out of it. I had no intent on buying this one for another few days until I could get it and was totally okay with it. Granted, I read it in about 12 consecutive hours, but that's because I find them sort of addicting, and well, it's a kids books and can be read in one sitting.

I found the ending of the seven very satisfactory and fulfilling. JK Rowling might have been a whore about releasing them, but I enjoyed every page, and I'm not ashamed.

I can see myself seeing the rest of the movies, in hopes that they'll live up to my ever rising expectations, but no midnight shows for me. As I take a step back I realize that I've grown out of my obsession, now I'm just a spectator.

Devon said...

God, you're a hypocrite. The way you spin shit is amazing. Sorry for the late response, new to this site. I'm astounded though.

Chez said...

Well gee Dev, a belated welcome to you.

Thanks for the laugh.