Monday, January 05, 2009

Power to the People?

I look forward to Tom's remark in a Google Reader share, along with a remark about how other people have written very similar things before! If I'm lucky, those two remarks will not be mutually exclusive. Without further adieu, here's some skepticism for you:

A lot of people agree in theory that given a large enough sample size, "crowdsourcing" is a pretty good way of doing something like creating a market on the probability that a certain team will win a certain football game, or a certain old white man will beat a certain other old white man in the U.S. Presidential Election (before you scream at me, Obama is half-white and I don't trust anyone over 30). Similarly, we have gotten to the point where the "crowd" has given us the best encyclopedia in the world. The more people, the better answers we get to life's questions. Some guy wrote a book about the subject.

However, for something like the Oscars or the MVP race in any given sport, we entrust the selection of the "best" movies/ballplayers to a panel of "experts," each of whom insists that he/she knows better than the masses. Talk to an Academy member and he will scoff at the mention of the People's Choice Awards. Talk to Bill Plaschke and he will have never heard of Tango Tiger. Talk to a know-it-all Ivy-league educated Jew and he will say, "People's Choice Awards are a joke. Indiana Jones is nominated for Favorite Movie. But that Tango Tiger has some good shit, you see his Base Runs analysis?" Many people would agree with the Jew (and not just because he runs Hollywood and Wall Street) and say, "Now we're getting somewhere." But hold on, is this where we should be going? Isn't the Jew just another "expert," albeit one who reads the internet a little more often? Why should he and his brethren be telling the people, the MILLIONS OF PEOPLE who watch movies and sports, what they should think is "best"?

Maybe "best" needs to be redefined. As currently understood for something like the Oscars it's a fairly arbitrary decision that pretty much only rewards dramatic movies that are judged to be well-acted and have some serious themes. Fairly limited, eh? How about making the Best Picture the one that brings the highest combination of profit to filmmakers and enjoyment to viewers. Have exit polls at every screening of every movie and tally the enjoyment ratings in some manner (details TBD). Could you imagine democratizing the process like that?! Perhaps it's true that "X million Americans can't be wrong and Marley and Me WAS the most popular movie in the country on Christmas weekend!"

In conclusion, for better or worse, Ivy-league educated Jews are not the norm in this country. Some people even watch Flavor of Love non-ironically. It's called "popular culture" for a reason, so it should get the credit it deserves. There's still plenty of room for highbrow criticism, but the most presitigious awards should be the ones given by the masses and for the masses. We've lived under the tyranny of the liberal media elite for too long!

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