I’ve noticed a recurring theme popping up in different comment threads here on the site recently, and I thought it was worth a larger conversation: Let’s call it “cultural elitism”.
I may or may not have pulled that term out of my southernmost orifice, so I’ll elaborate.
As film fans, movies we’re supposed to have seen (but haven’t) or movies we’re supposed to have liked (but didn’t) are never far from our minds. It comes up in conversations on this site and sites like it all the time.
“You’ve never seen Casablanca? OMG! WTF?”
“What do you mean you don’t like 2001: A Space Odyssey? Maybe you just didn’t get it.”
Whether we’re meant to feel inferior (That’s not something that happens very often here, fortunately. Pat yourselves on the backs, Exiles.) or not, we often do. And the same cultural orthodoxy works in reverse for movies we do like but shouldn’t.
“You like the Transformers franchise? Those movies are trash!”
As someone who doesn’t like many people, I don’t feel terribly pressured to feel shame because I haven’t seen The Godfather (I haven’t) or because I didn’t particularly care for Citizen Kane (I didn’t), but that wasn’t always the case.
And it’s not like this is anything new. If we could travel back in time 40,000 years or so we would probably find some heavy-browed Neanderthal pontificating in a cave about how “Actually, um, elk is way better than mammoth, maaaan.” At any rate, the internet has probably done very little to discourage people from this sort of behavior. In fact, the web has made it harder to sniff out those of us who would avoid the scorn of our peers by feigning knowledge of every important movie, TV show, or obscure band. And even the pretenders will delightedly join in on shitting on your lack of taste or experience, if they know they can get away with it.
With such easy access to information, it’s gotten a lot harder to be hip and stay hip. The ground seems to always be shifting under our feet. One day Christopher Nolan is cool. The next, he’s overrated. Lame. Blade Runner, once the undisputed champ of cerebral sci-fi. Today, boring. The stuff of faux intellectualism. Things change so often that something can go from cool to not cool and back to cool again in a matter of years.
This can all add up to a pretty jaded community. We’re either trying to find things nobody likes to say we like or we’re working overtime to shit on things everyone likes before our fellow edgelords can find them and shit on them first. As fellow commenter and sometimes writer for Film Exodus Cap N’ Jack pointed out (and I’m paraphrasing), it makes us a lot less likely to bare our hearts and openly declare our love for the bits of culture we do hold dear. Put more succinctly, it discourages authenticity.
So, I thought, what the hell? What better way to break down the oppressive cultural dogmatism of the bourgeois internet elite than to openly declare our sins? Here’s your chance to throw open the closet doors and shine the cold light of day on your cultural skeletons.
What do you like? What don’t you like? What films or bands or books have you never seen, heard, or read? Hate jazz but love 80s metal? Think Jackson Pollock‘s art sucks but Bob Ross was a genius? Love Ready Player One but think Crime and Punishment is a giant bore?
Shout it from the rooftops. Tell us what you love. Tell us what you hate. Tell us what you’ve never bothered with. Come clean. It’s OK. We won’t judge you. Much.
I’ll get us started.
Films I Haven’t Seen but Probably Should
Films I Should Love but Don’t
Films I Shouldn’t Love but Do
Well, that’s a few skeletons out of my closet, at least. I look forward to hearing about yours.