A friend of mine is currently experience an increased demand for entertainment. After noting a couple of Facebook updates related to television shows that are constantly in syndication, I recommended Hulu. I noted that it offers a lot of crap, but that it allows you to choose the crap you want to watch on your own schedule.
I got some pushback on that as being a negative statement, “passive-aggressive” to be exact. It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. I think most people don’t have the same relationship to the word “crap” that I do.
A lot of that has to do with the general version of Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap. Theodore Sturgeon actually said, “Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That’s because 90% of everything is crud,” but nobody else says it that way. It’s always “crap.”
The fun part is that nobody really agrees on which 90% we’re going to label “crap.” Lost is and has been a major television phenomenon. It’s near and dear to the hearts of millions, but I can’t watch it, and I’m not alone. On the other hand, I’m a big fan of Stargate SG-1, at one time the number one television show on the planet. However, it makes large portions of science fiction fandom yawn.
I don’t watch movies to get embroiled in other people’s emotional drama, and (physical and emotional) slapstick makes me cringe, so I’ve seen almost no Oscar-winning movies and have no idea what most of the taglines being used around me mean. I can guess that they’ve got something to do with Will Ferrell, but that’s about it.
On the other hand, it would never occur to me to suggest that my views on movies were anything like objective. The statement that so-and-so “is crap” confuses the hell out of me, even when it’s applied to something like Twilight. After all, if that many kids are driven to read, the books are offering them something. It may not be the same thing I want, but it doesn’t become less compelling to them just because I don’t value it.
I know too many people who sneer at cozy mysteries or find “literature” impenetrable to think there’s anything that can be comfortably categorized as “crap.” Yet we still all do it. Officially, I think that makes 100% of everything crap. So if I refer to your favorite movie, book or show as “crap,” don’t take it personally.
After all, my opinion on the subject is probably crap too.