I tend to struggle with things that are super popular. I resisted reading Harry Potter for a long time, I can’t stand any of the TV shows that involve contestants singing or dancing, and there are even trends in home decoration that I think are idiotic (which I will not mention specifically, in the hope of preserving friendships). I suppose the bottom line is that I hate feeling like I’m part of a herd.

I think it’s important for us to carefully evaluate what we come into contact with, in order to choose what's worth our time. But am I going too far by deliberately avoiding things that a lot of other people like? I mean, obviously a lot of people find something redeeming in American Idol. (As a side note, my wife was recently at a baby shower where people looked at her like she was insane for not watching it.) There’s a demotivator at that sums it up nicely: “Tradition—just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly stupid.” Along those same lines, just because a lot of other people like something doesn’t mean it’s worth liking.

So I guess it boils down to this question: Which is worse, liking something because other people do, or not liking something because other people do?

[Okay, I suppose the real answer is that either way I’m allowing others to dictate what I’m doing. But I want to hear your thoughts on this.]


Jen said...

I know where you're coming from, Joel. I often feel the same way. But I try not to NOT do things just because others are doing them. Because yeah, I think that's silly.

Let's take the vampire books. Everyone reads them and loves them. I have not. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe I don't want to conform. But also, how much am I in the mood to read about vampires? Not so much right now. I'm not saying i never will be but I live by my own opinions & timetable. (<--lame)

Gladiator sandals: Super hot and trendy right now. My thoughts? I kind of dig it. There, I said it.
Personally I think it takes a kind of courage to participate in a huge trend, unless you don't have a brain. Then there's no courage at all. Because right now, the only thing holding me back from getting some sandals is that they are really trendy. And, i probably don't need new sandals.

Often, I take a trend, say, a book for example, and if I'm feeling resistant to join the crowd, I might wait a while until the hubbub has died down so I can give it a true evaluation. Maybe this is to appear nonconformist. Maybe it helps me feel like my opinions are my own. Now as I think about it, it sounds kind of weak. But there it is.

the end.