Popular = Good

March 10, 2011

I had this idea a few weeks ago, but I didn’t get to it. Please forgive the untimeliness of this post in our 24 second news cycle world…

Recently, the world ended when The Arcade Fire (or is the band called The Suburbs?) won a Grammy over several more popular, but less good artists. The world ended because the Grammys have long been a hackneyed awards show that caters to people who listen to top 40 radio and think popular and good are the same thing. The results are generally comical if you pay any attention to music, but I’m not going to go into that right now. Instead, I thought it might be more fun to look at what would happen if other types of media were subjected to the same “rigorous” selection process the Grammys normally utilize.

The Award: Best Picture

The Criteria: Nominees are the five highest grossing movies of the previous year. The voters will be looking for broad appeal (men and women have to be interested). Also, we want teenagers tuning in, so nothing too old and stodgy and nothing too childish.

2010

1. Toy Story 3

2. Alice in Wonderland

3. Iron Man 2

4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Analysis: Toy Story was nominated as it was, but I don’t think it’s the winner here. It is, at least ostensibly, a children’s movie and thus isn’t cool enough to win best picture. Alice in Wonderland is for those weird emo kids or something, so it can’t win. Iron Man 2 has no appeal to the ladies and Twilight has nothing for the boys, so congratulations Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you are the best picture of 2010.

2009

1. Avatar

2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

3. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon

5. Up

Analysis: This is pretty similar to 2010. A kid’s movie (nope). Something for the boys and the ladies (nope and nope again) and a Harry Potter movie, but this time, Harry has some competition. He is trumped by the SUPER AWESOME (pay no attention to the terrible writing/story) Avatar which, because its special effects are out of this world, is clearly the best picture of 2009.

Other Years in Brief: 2008: 1. The Dark Knight, 2. Iron Man, 3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 4. Hancock, 5. Wall-E. The Winner: It’s all about the nocturnal flying rodent. Some people misguidedly though this should have won the real award.

2007: 1. Spider-Man 3, 2. Shrek the Third, 3. Transformers, 4. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, 5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The Winner: Have to go with Harry again. His broad appeal is enough to overcome the mess that was Spider-Man 3.

2006: 1. Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, 2. Night at the Museum, 3. Cars, 4. X-Men: The Last Stand, 5. The Da Vinci Code. The Winner: This is a very tight, very respectable field. Lots of broad appeal here and the vote is going to be pretty split. When all else fails, go with what’s most popular. Congratulations buccaneers.

The Award: The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

The Criteria: The five best selling books of the year are up for the award. Voters care less about broad appeal (all real men know it’s uncool to read) than about making sure the book isn’t too hoity-toity.Also, no pictures or little kid’s stuff. This is a serious literary award, after all.

2010 (I had trouble finding a definitive best seller list, this is the best I could come up with)

1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

3. Dead in the Family by Charlene Harris

4. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer

5. The Help by Cathryn Stockett

Analysis: This one is easy. It’s all about Larsson. He’s all dark and creepy or something. And people get to think they’re reading high literature without actually be challenged.

2009

Okay, okay. Stop, I can’t go on. Comprehensive best seller lists are hard to find and I just saw one claiming Stephanie Meyer had the top 4 spots in 2009 and 2008. Before that, it’s all Harry Potter. I am so glad everything isn’t run like the Grammys.

Before reading this post, you should at least be passingly familiar with this children’s book.

It was all fun all the time when the Hippopotamus ran off with the other animals. The Armadillo tried to warn her. He wasn’t like her. She was a tropical animal, but his range overlapped with these temperate beasts. He knew the tyranny of seasons. But she would not listen, and so off she went on her run. She imagined that this would be the start of many glorious friendships. Look at how close they all were, the Moose and the Goose, the Bear and the Hare, the Cat and the Rats, and, of course, the Hog and the Frog.

The Cat and the Rats were the first. Only ever running pals, and not especially close ones, it happened very quickly. It was before the weather even turned. That Cat hadn’t been fed and worked up such an appetite on the jog. Suddenly, the Rats looked delectable. True, they weren’t tuna, which was her favorite, but they were plump and juicy. They never saw it coming. The Hippopotamus was shocked and disgusted. But not the Armadillo.

The Hog and the Frog were next. There was a chill in the air and the foraging wasn’t as good. The Hog was depending more on slop. You can’t blame a frog for mistaking slop for a bog. It was an accident, but by the time the Hog realized what she was eating, it was too late. The Hippotamus offered consolation. But not the Armadillo.

Winter came in hard and the Bear had spent too much time running. He was too thin and not at all ready for hibernation. Under pressure, bears will eat anything. The Hare was a friend, but what was friendship with winter coming? A few millimeters of fat meant more. The Hippopotamus was becoming distraught. But not the Armadillo.

The Moose and the Goose took the longest. The Armadillo had known they would be last as neither could easily eat the other one, but it was only a matter of time. The Moose was a homebody, but come winter, the Goose wanted to travel. It wasn’t long until a smooth-talking, fast-moving Gander came along talking about migration and the unnatural inter-species love affair ended. The Hippopotamus was positively beside herself. But not the Armadillo.

The Bear wasn’t finished. Winter passed and the Hippopotamus sobbed. A thaw came and the Bear pulled himself out of his den. He was famished and there were the Cat and the Hog and the Moose. It was quite the buffet. The Armadillo reminded her that she should have known. He had told her that seasons wreak havoc on these temperate animals. That she didn’t understand. It wasn’t the same as the dry and wet seasons she knew. The Hippopotamus didn’t want to hear it any more. She snapped her giant jaws at him and lumbered back home.

The Armadillo didn’t have to wonder about staying or going. He curled into a ball and rolled on down the road. But yes, the Armadillo.