Bill Simmons, who’s nicknamed The Sports Guy and writes a comical column for ESPN, shares a very insightful response to a reader’s email about why soccer will never become popular in the U.S.:
“Sometimes when people become die-hard fans of something that isn’t mainstream — a writer, a band, a player, a TV show, a sport or whatever — they want to keep that thing the way it is over seeing that thing take off. Why? Because it’s cooler to like something that isn’t mainstream popular. Because mainstream popularity begets bandwagon fans and people who aren’t as sophisticated about that product. Because it’s more fun to love something before it takes off than after it takes off.”
This phenomena can be seen in nearly ever artistic community, and it’s especially rampant in the indie music scene, which is why this t-shirt is so funny. At the same time though, it reflects one of our most basic instincts. When we get to something first, it’s ours. If you find a twenty in the parking lot, it’s yours. You’d cry “theft” if someone took it from you. If you find a girlfriend, she’s yours. You’d cry “whore” if she was kissing someone else. These are the same feelings we apply to arts, or sports, or restaurants, or bands that we “discover” first. We feel more sophisticated about that product often only because we’ve been around it longer than newcomers. That attitude is silly at best, and self-defeating at worst.
If You Love Something, Set It Free
The Cult of the Status Quo has reared its ugly head many times since the dawn of affordable DSLRs. I remember many old school film guys deriding Photoshop and its users as something evil, something to be feared. Well, the guys that didn’t get with the program likely don’t have any work today. Similarly, in the landscape photography world, forum members have been bashing HDR photography since it’s inception. “It’s disgusting looking!” “It looks like fried hell!” There are millions of threads like these. Now, HDR did look pretty crappy initially, but that no longer has to be true. You can create some amazing images with the newer software. But, that doesn’t stop The Cult. Just yesterday I was browsing a Fred Miranda posting where somebody posted two versions of a photo, one hand-blended and one done with HDR software. Now, the HDR software was hands down better. It had a few minor flaws, but it murdered the hand-blended shot. The first twenty responses claimed they preferred the hand-blended shot, and that the HDR shot looked like crap.
So what? How is this harmful? Well, while you were writing yet another post bashing HDR or the poseurs using plug-ins, Scott Kelby embraced HDR and made millions off his how-to books. HDR PHOTGRAPHER made stunning images and sold tons of prints.
What could you accomplish if your default response was “Interesting…” instead of “No”?