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March 31, 2009

Unpopular

Every year at this time the NCAA Tournament rolls around and every year I find myself wondering when I will start caring about college basketball. The answer, as best as I can tell: never. I will never care.

This is not to say that I don’t think college basketball has any value. I mean, I don’t, but I’m not saying it. Instead, I think my antipathy has more to do with my general resentment towards things that everybody else seems to agree are exciting and worthwhile. Popular things. Whenever a large group of people gets interested in something, my instinct is to dismiss it. You might think that makes me a snob. It does. But more than that, it makes me a phony.

Because the truth is, I would probably like all the things I put down if I just allowed myself to enjoy them, but I cannot out of general resentment and crankiness. I am to popular culture what Mr. Wilson is to Dennis the Menace.

“American Idol” is a perfect example. I do not watch that show. Why? Because it’s incredibly popular. There are those who have legitimate reasons for hating the show: Simon, the vocalizing, the schmaltz. None of that bothers me. What bothers me is that it’s popular.

The Oscars? Same thing. I never watch.

“The Office?” Don’t watch.

“30 Rock?” Ditto.

Almost every popular movie? I will not be going to see. Which explains why I went to see “Duplicity,” or as I’ve been calling it “Doo-Dooplicity.” It opened the same weekend as “I Love You, Man,” which stars a friend of mine and was directed by another friend of mine. Why didn’t I go see that? Asshole. That’s why. That said, I fully intend on seeing “I Love You, Man,” once it is no longer quite so popular. Things that were once popular but are no longer popular are fine with me. Like birch beer.

And duckpin bowling. I love duckpin bowling. For those of you do not know what that is, you are really missing out. It’s sort of like regular “popular” bowling only the ball is much smaller, as are the pins, and you get three chances per frame instead of two. It’s sort of like bowling meets Skee-Ball, a game which I also love – not only because it’s old-timey, but because you get tickets and I like sports where you are rewarded with tickets.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I rejected popular culture. I think it was somewhere between eighth grade and tenth grade. One year I was buying Michael Jackson records, the next I was buying records by The Day-Glo Abortions. Which did I enjoy more? Michael Jackson. Which did I listen to more? The Day-Glo Abortions. And made sure everybody knew it. This is the hallmark of a true poseur. Because, as I said, secretly I love pop culture. I love all of it, but don’t allow myself exposure to it because that would be admitting defeat. And I would rather suffer in victory than bask in defeat.

Clearly I’m in the wrong career. If I hate popular culture so much, why am I spending every waking hour creating it? Self-hatred. This schism may also explain why I’ve spent the last fifteen years of my life wallowing in the nether regions of basic cable. Yes, I said “nether regions of basic cable,” which doesn’t really make sense, but neither does my stupid fucking attitude.

So yes, I know the Final Four is this weekend and I think I can even name the teams playing: Connecticut, ‘Nova, one of the schools from North Carolina, and the McDonalds squad from Hamburger University. But I did not fill out any office pools, I will not be watching, and I do not care. Sort of. But I sort of do.

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kayce.

you're missing out on '30 rock', but on every other count, i agree. the intensity of something's popularity/pop-culturality is directly converse to the amount of enjoyment i will get out of it... totes never saw the passion of the christ, i assume it sucks b/c so many ppl liked it.

Kidnintendo

Have considered a love of hockey? By far Americas least favorite sport and full of anti-intellectual/comedian violence. Furthermore may I suggest the Atlanta Thrashers or Phoenix Coyotes as your completely unpopular team of choice.

christina

i'm the same way with american idol, but i think i do that stuff so people won't think i like it just because it is popular, even if it's awesome (which american idol is not.)

Libby

Those checks you collect from VH1 for commenting on pop culture must just make your stomach turn. That probably makes you pretty happy though. Man, so many layers...

Michelle

I watched 30 Rock before it was popular. I have a girl-crush on Tina Fey.
/pointless information

Loislane24q

I like to bask in low quality pop culture because it makes me feel like I am so far above it that I can slum it in style.

alan

um, what if whatever it is, is popular in another country?
even better, an english speaking country that's *not* the united states?

dietpopstar

You put into words what I've never been brave, nor foolish, enough to admit.

Though having said that, I also cannot admit to liking you, so.

Let's just keep that between us.

brett glasser

Im so glad you are capable of pinpointing the exact reason why I hate shows like Lost.

Joel hawkins

kudos.

For the same reason I have yet to see titanic or pearl harbor.

I want to horribly bad.

Knowing cameron's oscar receptions....

Once after the "projection screen" home theater explosion took place, a friend showed me a scene from pearl harbor....

The rage behind both at the specific time kept me from partaking in viewing of either one.

Yet I'm on the opposite end when it's all said and done.

I watch 30 rock an the office amongst a dozen other shows highly raved.

I want to ignore pop culture but won't.

You're a wolf wishing u were a mindless sheep.

I'm a sheep wishing I had the tenacity of a wolf.

In the end we're douche bags at heart.

It's a beautiful world.

Rake

I'm wondering, if you weren't Michael Ian Black would you be interested in Michael Ian Black?

s.gothman

Yogurt is a pretty popular culture, but only with girls.

YellowHat

Why did you have to mention birch beer? It's impossible to find anymore and now I crave it like a junkie craves crank!

Felicia

Since the missing team, Michigan State, would be the Hamburger U team, I concur. Mostly because I went to U of M, and I'm bitter that they went out in the second round. And I hate MSU.

I didn't know my undergrad alma mater won the division III championship until AFTER the game was over. Go Bears?!

Cassy

You ARE Dominque Francon from the Fountainhead. Not very popular book right now, but was at one point, I think this description puts the book up your alley.

juju

rape is unpopular

sylviasproblem

Oddly, I've had the impression that "I Love You, Man" -- which I loved -- is not all that "popular". I know it's doing all right at the box office, but almost everyone I actually know has been giving it a miss because its (rather misleading) ad campaign makes it look so, you know, mainstream.

sylviasproblem

Also:


"Because, as I said, secretly I love pop culture."

It was never a secret, dude. We like you anyway.

Reen

Fantastic. I think we all have that rebellious streak in one form or another. I know I didn't watch The Simpsons until about a month ago.

But what IS going on with you anyway? You're popular. You have popular classic good-looking guy looks. You carry a popular guy man purse and live in a hilly, yuppy, popular guy state. You do popular things in life like get married and have kids and drive a (probably) popular guy car. Whether you like it or not, you have no reason on earth to be rebellious. Popular works for you. And even though you know that,you can't help but cop an attitude and bite the hand that feeds you:

"Yes, I said “nether regions of basic cable,” which doesn’t really make sense, but neither does my stupid fucking attitude"

You funny quirky man you.

Kay

in regards to s. gothman's comment: that was possibly the only yogurt-based pun I've ever seen, and it was masterfully crafted.

It was possibly the only time I've ever lol'd at a pun, too.

Well done, sir.

flaco

MICHIGAN STATE GODDAMN IT!!! THE LAST SCHOOL IS MICHIGAN STATE!


Goddamn Hamburger University is ALWAYS stealing our thunder.


GO MSU!

sean

fuck "the office"

Danny

Hatred against popularity is the mindset of the entire 'indie' population. That being said, I do not (seriously) claim to be indie.

However there's always that extra bit of awesomeness you gain by keeping something to yourself; like going for a bike ride just before dusk, or masturbation.

With television, I think I'm the same way as you as well. I used to talk about Stella all the time at school because no one heard of it, but in reality I found more enjoyment while not actually watching television.

p.s I've had a free 5-pin bowling game voucher in my wallet for the past 10, going on 11 years. I got a strike when there was a red pin at the front. Wikipedia tells me that 5-pin bowling is only played in Canada, but it looks like duckpin bowling is pretty much a 10-pin variant of 5-pin bowling. Makes you think, maybe. It definitely makes me think. A p.s probably isn't supposed to be this long. I think.

AmbroseKalifornia

Right with you MIB. If a band is too popular, I won't get the CD until five years later. No matter how much I like it. Five years from now

Also: "The Office"? Not funny.

Reen

The BBC version of the Office is very funny. Its time to get into it Ambrose. It's been off the air for years.

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