Monday, December 21, 2009

thought food

The Economist examines the phenomenon of, er, pop culture phenomena:
In “Formal Theories of Mass Behaviour”, William McPhee noted that a disproportionate share of the audience for a hit was made up of people who consumed few products of that type. (Many other studies have since reached the same conclusion.) A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read “The Lost Symbol”, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.
So we can take solace in the fact that the six people who came to see Wrestling the Alligator this summer were aficionados. (But since The Third Seat sold out, those people were all idiots.)

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