What about Overthinking Non-pop culture?

This topic contains 11 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Gonzo 5 years, 8 months ago.

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  • January 27, 2012 at 9:21 am #23266

    I understand the blog is for overthinking pop culture, but what about the things that don’t make it to the mainstream?

    I think the forums are a great place to overthink things that aren’t pop culture, but I’m not sure if it still kind of counts for OTI

    Your thoughts?

    January 29, 2012 at 12:56 am #23337

    Peter Fenzel OTI Staff

    Well, like what?

    I mean, I’ve long been open to the idea of covering other topics – we’ve even launched a couple of side projects that haven’t really worked (Like Matt Wrather’s and my Overthinking It spinoff health and fitness podcast).

    January 29, 2012 at 1:18 am #23338

    We could overthink recycling.

    Or we could overthink a movie that nobody has heard of.

    January 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm #23361

    I think there’s still room for stuff outside of the mainstream in OTI’s remit, especially things like cult media (there are some great posts on Juggalos in the archives.)

    To me the term “pop culture” is mainly in opposition to “high culture” (a specious distinction at best, but one that exists if only in peoples’ minds.) There are a lot of well-established channels for considering high culture in traditional literary/film/whatever criticism, so while it would definitely be awesome to see Fenzel or someone writing about the latest art film or Pulitzer-winning novel, it’s not as though there aren’t lots of other sites on the Internet devoted to that.

    Then again, pop culture criticism has come a long way too. I guess what I’m trying to say is that “pop culture” can be a very inclusive term.

    January 30, 2012 at 7:00 am #23381

    Charlie X Well Actually

    Putting a lampshade on the “popular” in popular culture brings us to an interesting problem. The moment something is publicly acknowledged by more than one person, does it become ‘popular’.
    My little brother used to go off any band he thought was mainstream. It hit a point that if it had been released in any way other than through Soulseek, then it was too mainstream for him.
    How exactly does one gauge ‘mainstream’?

    Personally, I know that most of the popular culture topics here are alien to my co-workers. None of them know about Battlestar Galactica, about Friday Night Lights. To be honest, many don’t know about The West Wing.

    If we look too hard at what is ‘popular’ in the popular culture, do we reach a point where Wrather, Fenzel, Lee, et al are actually going to need to check out Strictly Come Dancing, X-Factor and Two and a Half Men to be able to fill the telos of the site?

    Or are we going to pretend that the things we talk about are mainstream because the internet echo chamber we wander around all talk about The Wire, Skyrim and the like?

    I’m not suggesting one way’s better than the other, but it’s definitely an interesting discussion, especially as it involves the mission statement of the site.

    January 30, 2012 at 7:54 am #23383

    I was actually thinking more of things that people don’t usually talk about like indie films, but Charlie X does have a point.

    February 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm #23499

    Idk, like something feels off about it as a thing for the main site, it loses the short hand of pop culture that’s used to make the more obscure ideas clearer, or the obscure ideas that make some overly familiar pop culture seen in a new way. Though, having a forum for that within Overthinking it where more obscure media can be overthought makes sense, but I think would still have to be a ” level of scrutiny it probably doesn’t deserve.”

    February 5, 2012 at 11:06 am #23500

    Peter Fenzel OTI Staff

    I could potentially see something like “OTI Black Label,” where we write actual criticism of actual high-culture stuff.

    But if you’re just going to write something about an indie film, then you’re every indie film blog.

    I would say, for me, “the popular culture” is more of a marketing message, though — really what we’re talking about is stuff we like or think lots of people like that we feel a little silly talking about in the ways we do. There’s a central irony in what we do — criticizing while knowing what we do has a certain “illegitimacy” that is part of our message – not because we’re rebels, but because it speaks to our own feelings about criticism and media.

    Stokes’s Cowboy Bebop posts are a great example of this – there are lots of mutually shared moments of discovery and lots of times that are silly. Even if you haven’t seen the show, the series is interesting, fun and funny to read.

    I’m not convinced if Stokes were writing about an indie film he thought were “important,” that he would approach it with that same feel – because of his relationship with the work. Maybe he might. I’d read whatever he wrote.

    The trick I suppose is not to overly strive to be legitimate, because it dulls the emotional and interpersonal immediacy of the work. But at the same time, just don’t be lazy or inadequate or devote less than your full attention to the writing.

    I think you can see how writing about a random indie film could work in this way, but it could also flatten things out.

    Anyway, my answer for anybody who brings up something like this is generally “Write it.”

    Discussions about what you might or might not want to write only go so far, and so many ideas for writing just never get done that it gets kind of ridiculous. If you want to “overthink” an indie movie you saw – do it up! Write the piece!

    I’m not saying we’ll necessarily run it front-page, but that’s kind of what this forum is for – give you a place to share it with people who might connect with it.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:07 am #23501

    Peter Fenzel OTI Staff

    Also, hint, dwayne, we do have “a forum within the main site” now. You’re on it :-)

    February 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm #23871

    Liffer In A Way

    What about a side project performing ridiculously in-depth analysis of cocktails, wine, and craft beer:

    Overdrinking It.

    The results may, or may not, end up looking like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq7G-Q9ZwC0.

    February 28, 2012 at 3:41 am #24092

    So… OTI Black Label, Overdrinking, then the what, the post-Oscars hangover? The Hangover III: Lost in Thought?

    Seriously though, I’d love at least a trial run of Pete’s Black Label idea. Then again, if it’s actual, good high culture – wouldn’t you have to go really far to reach the zone of scrutiny it doesn’t deserve? Or would it be, in that case, a level of well-deserved scrutiny?

    February 29, 2012 at 12:36 am #24124

    I think overall the novelty of this site is that Overthinkers write like Film Studies/Musicology/etc. scholars about things that Film Studies/Musicology/etc. scholars wouldn’t. However, I’m interested in the Black Label idea, since I’m confident y’all could make that section of the site more interesting than just blindly browsing the respective sections of JSTOR. There are always more out-of-the-box ways to look at respectable works.

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