Friday, June 01, 2007

I Hate You Because You're Popular

For some reason this has been a theme coming up a lot recently in my life.

I don't know if it's the anti-social bitch in me rearing her ugly head or possibly the extreme lack of sleep from having to drive around northern New Jersey trying to find my husband at the Tocawa train station at 1:00 a.m. because he slept through his stop and woke up seven stops too late. We ended up getting horribly lost and finally I told him to just get a cab. There's $60 I'll never see again. Thank god I've got a job now. Takes the sting off of that amount a bit. On the plus side if I'm ever looking for skankalicious hookers, I know where to find them in Paterson.

But I'm finding this theme everywhere I turn right now.

For example, take the ballet Dr. MS took his mom and PC to see--he and I got to talking about other cultural things for the masses: plays, opera, broadway shows, etc.

I despise all of those things.

And you want to know why? Because it seems everyone loves "Phantom of the Opera" or "La Boehm" or "Cats." I don't want to lump myself into that group.

I loath Harry Potter and everything about him. Why? Because everyone else likes Harry Potter.

Don't get me wrong, I actually tried to love that one (just like I did actually go see the opera "Der Fledermaus" but I walked out after the second act, I wanted to gouge my brain out with a dull spoon).

I read the first Harry Potter before it became the "cool" thing to do. I read it one night when I couldn't sleep. I will give it credit for putting me to sleep.

My sister T. does book reviews on her blog of what she's been reading lately. The last book she reviewed was The Catcher In the Rye. I read that book in my "I feel I should read this because school didn't force me to" phase. I didn't care for it.

A lot of people find it profound.

I don't.

Dr. Mad Scientist reads authors that people have heard of. I make a point to try and read authors that don't get on the NY Times Bestseller list or come out in paperback editions that only cost $7.99 to buy.

I recently read a Jodi Picault book and I was so ashamed of myself for indulging in such a piece of what I consider "pulp" fiction.

And yet I knit.

It could be argued that right now knitting is the "popular" thing to do.

I wholeheartedly admit to getting sucked into the "hot" patterns. I've knit Jaywalkers (albeit a year after they first came out), I've knit a Calorimetry. I've even joined a Knitalong or two (although not for one specific pattern, I prefer "theme" KALs).

Now Ravelry is the latest hooptie-do that has hit the knitting community.

Yeah, I'll admit, I signed up for an invite.

But now, if that invite were to show up in my mailbox tomorrow, I would delete it.


Because everyone else is doing it.

I vacillate between wanting to be a cool kid, and wanting to keep my identity as a fringe dweller.

I even bought the yarn to knit Tomato. But now I'm reevaluating. Why do I really want to knit that pattern? Is it because everyone else has? Is it because I have finally discovered the joy of a top-down sweater? I think I'm going to shelf that yarn for a bit while I make up my mind.

And here I am blogging. Another outwardly "mainstream" or "cool" thing to do. I'd like to pretend that it has taken the place of my pen and paper musings, but that's not true. I censor myself quite a bit on this blog. Much more than I did with pen and paper. Blogging and pen and paper don't even begin to compare. Blogging can never replace pen and paper for me.

Even in the blogosphere, I don't like to read blogs that everyone else reads like The Yarn Harlot, Grumperina, Crazy Aunt Purl, Wendy Knits. I've tried reading them here and there, but I just can't get into them.

I think the closest mainstream blog I read is Knit n'Tonic. I enjoy her crazy ass style. She protrudes an air of sophistication with a hint of true self-deprecation that I think those other bloggers I listed off above only try to capture but don't succeed (but again, I've only read those other bloggers here and there inconsistently).

So what's a girl to do?

In my dream world, I would head for the Canadian potato fields and live off the land, read obscure authors, never attend a play, journal in my notebook, and knit my non-Monkey socks.

But I'm sure someone has done that before and it wouldn't be totally original.

For now I guess I'll just sit here contemplating my sometimes hypocritical contrariness wearing the opposing team's school colors on spirit day.



Blogger Batty said...

I think we all like or dislike things for different reasons. I love La Boheme but hate Cats or Phantom of the Opera and especially Die Fledermaus. I liked Harry Potter, but The catcher in the rye makes me curse the day I learned to read. As far as I can tell, Jodi Picault has one book that's even remotely worth reading.

It's OK to like some things that are popular as long as you do it because they're actually to your taste, not because they're popular. That way, it isn't fake.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I once took the time to define 'cool'. For me, it's someone who likes what they like regardless of anyone else's opinion. Also, truly cool people are not in any way apologetic about it. So if everyone else is knitting jaywalkers and the pattern speaks to you, no apology necessary. I was knitting for probably 20 years when anything remotely domestic was considered seriously uncool and very unliberated. I knit anyway because it's my thing. And this influx of new pseudo-cool knit kids? It just means there are more places to get better yarns.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I'm completely with you on the never wanting to join in on the next "in" thing. If I happen to do something that everybody is doing, and I actually like it, I'm embarrassed to admit it. I, too, have never gotten into Grumperina, Yarn Harlot, or Wendy Knits.

I'd be quite happy on the Canadian potato farm (as long as we can have sheep and alpacas) and we can read all the obscure authors and be tightwads. Chunky and The Little Emperor can form a support group for kids of non-conformist mothers and scientist dads.

Another thing I don't get into: trendy foods and beverages. Coffee will be medium roasted black coffee, no latte, part-soy, half-skim BS. Our cuisine will be low-brow tightwad with nothing Retro, Fusion, or (can't think of the other current buzz-word for In Food).

3:30 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

You'd hate my bookshelf: Stephen King, Harry Potter, Anne Rice, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult....I've got all the popular authors on there.

I can't help but be in the "in crowd". Hubby is quite into having the latest and else to explain the abundance of video game systems in our house? Or the discarded cell phones/game systems/toys because something newer has come out?

Sometimes I'd like to live on your potato farm, but then other days? I'm happy reading the latest and greatest, and being in the "in crowd".

I hope you don't stop liking me now.... :)

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok! I'm sorry that I raised you to not like the in crowd! I have never tried to be in the in crowd. I think that it was my second year French teacher that siad when she went to France all the French people thought that Americans were exactly the same. Since then I have tried my darndest to not be like anyone else. (ie: stay at home Mom with six kids, sewing and quilting, never using bc pill, walking instead of taking the car) This does not mean that I don't like some of the things that are popular. But I like them cause I like them. Love, Mom

4:31 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

I call it the "New Kids on the Block" syndrome. I liked them when I heard their very first song, right up until about the 3rd time I'd heard it and all my friends had their pictures plastered on their walls and ceiling. Then I decided to not like them, and be very vocal about it.

Do Tomato. Not because it's a "hot" pattern right now, but because it's a well fitting, comfortable as hell, potential staple for your wardrobe. It is for me. I'm wearing it right now. Love it.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

You are too funny. If you think about it though, nothing is truly original. My thoughts aren't even original. Someone probably already had them in the dark ages. Just the other day I was trying to understand the concept of the Yarn Harlot. I don't get it. She's monopolizing the "knitting celebrity" status. Share it with someone. I thought, maybe I should get her book and read it to see what all the hype is about but, I can't bring myself to read a book where someone just talks about their life and knitting. That's what I have your blog for! ;D I think if you want to do something for genuine reasons and not because everyone else is then you should. Don't not do it. You could be missing out on something you might really enjoy! :D

5:26 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

I've made the jaywalkers. I'm currently working on dragon-scale socks, and I've got the KP fair isle in time-out right now.

I didn't want to like the Options needles -- until I ordered them and fell in love (circs only, smallie sizes). Bendy cables, pointy tips, it's like they were made to knit socks.

I generally feel embarrassed when I like something 'mainstream', but that doesn't stop me from liking it.

Everyone has their own opinions of what's cool, and sometimes things are popular for reasons like they're a good buy, the item/song doesn't get on your nerves after 20 seconds, etc.

I think it's interesting that you're noticing your not wanting to fit in, your deliberate dislike of anything popular. Once you notice something, you can change it (if you want to). :)

5:43 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Well! I like you cause you don't want to be popular! ;) And you aren't afraid to say it! I've never been in the "in" crowd and not sure I'll ever be allowed! Which is fine!

Ravelry..hmm not sure I have the time for it, and heck, not that many peeps wanna see what I knit anyways.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

lI'm with you on some of those things. I got into Harry Potter WAY after everyone else. I read books 1-6 about a year ago I guess.
I also feel your pain on some of the "popular" blogs. I like a few posts now and then, but don't see the huge attraction to most.
Now, ravelry. Accept the invite, and then invite me. :) I don't necessarily want to do it for meeting people, but for inspiration for patterns for unused yarn.

7:58 PM  
Blogger T. Budnik said...

Aha! Are you dissing my like of "The Catcher in the Rye?" Haha! I hear you. This actually came up at work a couple of weeks ago: we were talking about liking mainstream books. (I think I actually mentioned you because I know you do your darndest to stay away from the stream that the majority is flowing on.) Anyway, someone made the point that if a book can please that many people, it's gotta have something wrong with it--like it isn't written well because it's just making too many compromises. This I think is true. It's like a pizza with everything put on it just because someone likes pepperoni, another likes sausage, and some ass-clown likes sardines. That's a gross pizza.

But, there comes a time when you just gotta say fuck it, and do what you like. So what if you like to blog? So what if you don't like the opera? If you choose and do all the things you like regardless of what stream they're in, THEN you're being you.


8:31 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

In my opinion (and yes, opinions are like,erm,bellybuttons..everyone's got one) the problem is that I don't like things I get TOLD to like. Harry Potter is a perfect example. I will like or dislike something on its own merits. Its own merits IN MY OPINION. Not the opinion of some wanker that can write a book review in the paper. Or even a million wankers. In fact, a million wankers shouting "Do this!" turns me completely off. Nobody yells " Go blog. NOW!" at me. Or "you MUST knit!" So, while those things are popular, they are popular on hteir own merits. Not some media frenzy.

8:31 PM  
Blogger cpurl17 said...

I think you're cool just the way you are. Hell I think I'm cool just the way I am.

And my Word verification word is "qwzbust". Quiz Bust--boobs that ask questions.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Magatha said...

Yes, but the contrarian in you is what I love about you! Go ahead, be an individual in a cookie cutter mass consumerist culture! I dare you! :-)
Careful though, all the 'cool kids' think that is exactly what they are doing too. They are all rebels, in lock step together.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Sherry W said...

NOT liking something JUST because it's popular is conforming too.

Your a thinker. You tried Potter, you tried opera. It wasn't your thing. You didn't poo poo it because the cool kids where all doing it.

You also don't discard something that appeals to you because others like it as well. Sometimes things are actually popular because they are good!

Knit Tomato, and tomorrow make a trash bag cat sweater. Whatever floats your boat, let the others worry about what everyone else is doing.

2:05 AM  
Blogger peri said...

It is good not to be a sheep! Baaaah, baaaah, baaaah - but ok now and then to wallow in the lifes sheep dip just for kicks, before shaking the crap out off your fleece and moving away from the flock.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Cheesy Knit Wit said...

You hate because of popularity....but Bezzie, YOU ARE POPULAR in the blogosphere :) How ironic is that?

You are a nut.

I am pretty unconventional in many ways due mainly to my kiss my butt attitude.

Tomato is wonderful. Seriously, consider knitting it. Mine should already be finished. I could finish it in one day easy if I would get myself in gear!

7:13 AM  
Anonymous NikBudnik said...

I knew I should have stayed away from commenting T's blog! I need to stay away from all blog commenting when it comes to members of my family because it comes back to bite me in the butt all the time!
I like some things that are popular, because I like them. Simply, purely, enjoyment reasons. I also like things that you or your neighbor have not heard of. For the same reason.
As far as authors, if it gets people reading, who cares what it isor who it is written by? It can only be good that someone is taking the time to pick up a book. Kind of like music, I think alot of music sucks, but if it makes you happy, it makes me happy.
All right then- I do believe this is my last comment for awhile. To keep myself in good graces. :)

8:46 AM  
Blogger weezalana said...

You know, I ignore what's in and what's out, and just knit or read or do whatever appeals to me. Granted, stuff may come to my attention because it's popular, but I'm certainly not going to jump on a bandwagon simply because it's full.

Do what you like, like what you do, whether it's knitting something or not knitting something because it's in or out. Okay, that made a lot more sense in my head. Must get coffee...

12:10 PM  
Blogger Calling Kahlo said...

I think that I will reject somethings on their popularity and then eventually once the smoke has cleared I will explore whether I genuinely like something or not. I think part of my issue with sudden popularity of things is that it feels as though some people do it because it is popular and don't "get it".

You have to do what you like and enoys things you like.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Brother Gene said...

Haha, I feel ya. Do you know what popular phrase I HATE???

"Oh, I used to (insert whatever applies here) before it was 'cool.'"

Hehe just some friendly brotherly ribbing.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Rebel said...

I think it's important to just recognize what you like and what you don't like, without regard to how popular or not it is. I went a long time without reading the Harry Potter books because I was turned off by the popularity, but then when I read them, I really enjoyed them. So you never know. Just read / knit / watch / listen to what you like and don't worry about what 'everyone else' is doing.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I loved Cats It was amazing, and when Grizzabella went up to the Heavy Side Layer, I cried. Seriously.

I never really realized that knitting was "cool", I just thought it would be a cool thing to learn to make my own socks and sweaters and hats and gloves.

There's no shame in liking trendy things, but I'm with you - to do it simply because it's the "thing" to do smacks a little fake to me.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

This is exactly how I feel about the new environmental 'lessen your impact' trend.

Trendy? Cool? Popular? Heck, it's just what I do.

(And as for 'popular' blogs like the Yarn Harlot? feh. Never understood the attraction.)

10:04 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

Interesting thoughts.

I do agree there are times when it seems like everyone is going in the same direction.

I like you, like the blogs that are smaller....not a million comments. I like too that blogs I visit come around and see me. A person with a million comments ain't coming to see me anytime soon.

I started reading the Harry Potter books to my daughters last year. We are on book two. They have read them all a few times. This is the first time for me. I am enjoying them not because everyone has read them but because the author is a darn great writer. I have a list of books as long as my arm...I pick up titles here and there and eventually, hopefully I will read them all.

Same with knitting. I see patterns here and there and if I like it I will copy it out and add it to my pile of to dos. What keeps me from being in the in crowd is that I take so long to get around to do stuff LOL

I think I am too redneckish to end up in the in crowd LOL

10:30 PM  
Blogger Linnea said...

And here I was thinking that Die Fledermaus was awful just because it was put on by our southern redneck opera club...

Anyway, do what you want to do. I still don't think that knitting is especially trendy or mainstream - but then again, I'm generally out of the loop. It was only after finding the online knitting community that I knew the difference between $2 and $20 dollar yarns. And I guess it means different things or holds different significance to different people...

Ravelry sounds cool to me - the organization appeals to me. But I don't understand the urgency behind "getting in" - which makes it sound like some kind of posh, selective club. It kind of reminds me of the bouncers at what was once pretty much the only dance club where I lived in Georgia, picking people to enter - always made me giggle, I mean, we're talking Smalltown, USA here! Who were they kidding?

Okay, I've managed to ramble a lot without actually saying anything coherent. The end.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Poops said...

Do what works for you, baby. I'll keep reading. Like what you like, don't like what you don't. It's all the same to the clam.

As for Tomato, if I may put in my two cents worth: I say make it, but chart a different design for the boobal area. Perhaps something subversive that speaks to you. That way you can make it and still be cool. Heck, you'd be uber cool.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Cindy in Happy Valley said...

This kinda reminds me of the kids who don't want to be "in", so they dress be out--when really they're more followers than the group they so disdain. They work too hard to be out. I've always found that amusing.

Wanna be the fringe? Just do whatever...and don't fret about it.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Sherry W said...

You want to hear something crazy? There where knitters in the line at MDSW for Socks that Rock who didn't know what it was. Knitters who had no idea what the big deal was about, where not even avid sock knitters but figured they better stand in line 10 minutes too.

Baaaa, indeed.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Amby said...

Awww, please make Tomato! I think you'll really like it, and I'M making it...pleeeeeaaase!!!! ;-)

There are quite a few knitting trends that I've gotten over lately, and in all honesty one of them is the Yarn Harlot. I'm not going to post why here, since I don't want to sound mean in public (I genuinely do try), but it's an example of how things go wrong when people seem to get bigger than the community that follows and supports them. If that made any sense at all.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Macoco said...

Sometimes I get sucked into the frantic craze of THIS IS THE BEST PATTERN IN THE ENTIRE WORLD YOU MUST KNIT IT NOW but then I have to take a step back to figure out if I really like it or what.

Nothing wrong with being on the outer fringes though!

1:58 PM  
Blogger Magatha said...

Well my little chick-a-dee, you've certainly stirred up the emotions with this post, 30+ responses and more over on a certain knitting board all about popularity. Good for you! Maybe you should just let it all hang out as much as possible. It gives everyone else a chance to as well. I just read through all the comments and I can't believe how many of them I agree with.
Rivalry, oops I meant, Ravelry is shaping up like a sorority if you ask me. H.P. bores me to tears. Tomato is not the best thing since sliced bread, the boob decor is appalling and must be changed or eliminated. I love the art of the ballet, the music of the ballet but can't sit still through an entire ballet because it's boring in large doses.
Musicals are 'embarrassing' to me in their ridiculousness. Alone you are not is my point.
Whatever you do, when you get to be as popular as those overrated bloggers, (and you're verging on it.) don't start writing for the readers, as some of these popular bloggers are doing, keep writing for yourself. That'll keep it interesting for you and us both.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Me too

3:53 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

maybe the crankiness and other here is better for you

lots of people don't like her. also, lots of people don't like Wendy at K&T because she's just always whining about this or that, or how all her designs have the boobs hanging out and only look good on waifs. i digress.

I read all the ones you listed. i like the charm of Mason Dixon, the hilarity of the Harlot, the crazy cat antics of Crazy Aunt Purl (although she did use to whine in my opinion.)

to each his own! but don't you dare stop blogging. we'd miss you!

4:28 PM  
Blogger ZantiMissKnit said...

I'll never be as popular as you, Bezzie! :-P

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

I thought Catcher in the Rye was atrocious. I hate Alan Ginsberg. The first two Harry Potter books were entertaining, but then it just got old. The last four have been unbearably long, rambly, and incoherent. But I love Phantom of the Opera with a burning passion and sang Jim to the brink of insanity when we stayed at The Venetian in Vegas and they played it non-stop because of their production. Nice sentence.
Anyway. I didn't know knitting was "hot" when I started knitting. And then I see it's all over the place and heavens the bigness of it all is enough to make one feel inferior. If one cared enough to feel inferior. I don't. I'm not sure anymore what my point is. I do read some of the more widely-read blogs. To me it's like watching TV. But I'd never knit something just because so-and-so did. Maybe Cheerleader or The Ugly one, but never So-and-So!

11:56 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

For me, trying to do everything that's popular or do nothing that's popular is just too much work, so I just do whatever I like. Hate Clapotis, love HP, ambivalent about Harlot (I like all her links to new blogs, and I can always scroll past the boring stuff!), Ravelry sounds like way too much effort for me. I'm late to the knitblog game anyway, so I'm just finding cool patterns that everybody else went crazy over several years ago - who cares? Don't worry, nobody's ever going to mistake you for a "joiner"!

12:38 PM  
Blogger buttercup said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:31 PM  
Blogger buttercup said...

Sorry for the delete above - I was too long and rambling and decided maybe it should be a post on my own blog.

Anyway - in short... Knit what you want. Read what you want. More often than not what you like will intersect with what the cool kids are doing. So what.

Those of us who read your blog know you do what you like, not because you want to be cool. I respect you for it. It's what keeps me coming back to your blog.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Rain said...

My German exchange partner took me to the opera by mistake, we did a runner at the first interval and went to the pub instead.

I just go through life liking what I like whether the mob like it too or not. Don't let the popularity of something put you off. If you want a Tomato have one. You can always Bezzify it to make your mark.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Ceallach said...

Down the road to conformity lies madness.

conformity will force us all to consume way more than we need, buy things we don'e need, do things we don't like.

It's really best to sit down until the feeling goes away.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Bufanditas said...

Anything Andrew L. Weber I cannot stand!!!! Very overrated IMO.

11:06 AM  

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