23 March 2011
Marketing the Bizarre
I just watched Julie & Julia--a delightful, pleasant, heart-warming little film. It was extremely enjoyable, especially for me, since I love marriage, cooking, blogging, and books. But it did, really, on the whole, annoy me a lot when Julie’s blog became wildly popular, with hundreds of comments, followers, etc., and then when dozens of agents, publishers, and journalists called her after at NY Times article. I mean, why is the quirky so much more popular than the serious? Sure, what Julie Powell did—cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook in a year, AND writing about it—is amazing, but I don’t think it was popular because it was an achievement so much as because it was weird. We like the strange, the bizarre, the out-of-the-ordinary. Serious, thoughtful cultural critique doesn’t generate that kind of following. And that’s a shame. What do you think? Do you agree that the popular is more often the weird than the brilliant?