Monday, March 26, 2012

Haters gonna . . .

So, did you guys realize the Hunger Games movie came out this weekend? I know, right? Who knew???

*pauses while your sarcasm detection meter explodes*

Seriously now, I think we can all agree that The Hunger Games is probably the "biggest deal" in teen books right now, thanks to the premiere of the movie. I'm amazed to see the range of my friends and acquaintances who are all pumped up about the books and or movie. Can we agree HG is approaching Twilight/Harry Potter status?

And here's the interesting part. With this huge surge in the awareness on the fabric of pop culture, out have trotted the haters. Haters! Where would we be without them? (Sorry, I'm really doing a number on your sarcasm meter today.)

I've formulated a theory over the years. Here's the scenario.

1-Neat Book comes out.
2-Neat Book is neat, so it gathers fans.
3-Neat Book grows rapidly in popularity. As with any books, there are a few people who aren't fans, but by and in large, people like or love it.
4-Neat Book gets so huge they decide to make a movie of it.
5-Neat Book is delivered to the proletarian masses.
7-Rabid fans of Neat Book defend to the death. Haters sneer at their pathetic attempts, become even more convinced they're right.
8-Eventually, when each side is sick enough of each other, the war dies down.
9-Like the final step in the grief cycle, we end with acceptance.

I propose to you that Harry Potter has gone through such a progression. He's enjoying step 9 now. Twilight as well, though I'd say she's between step 7 and step 8. And now The Hunger Games. I'm thinking we're arriving at step 6. I've seen a marked up tick in people bashing The Hunger Games in recent months.

All of this makes me think. So here's the question I pose to you, gentle reader. Does a book's intense fame create the haters? Or does that fame simply introduce it to a larger swathe of the population, some of which would have hated it regardless? It's an interesting question to consider.

Sometimes I wonder if people consider fame in the Teen Book market a "zero sum game." Sociologist Max Weber defines this as a fixation some social groups have that "there is only a limited amount of prestige for its members to share in and only a fixed quantity of attention, authority and material resources that its members can give to each other. Status is a relative value, so for someone to rise in status, another person must fall."

Let me be clear. I'm not saying that the only reason someone might dislike a popular book is jealousy. Au contraire, mon ami. I'm simply pondering the phenomenon of a huge book gaining a sudden, swift increase in rather vocal haters. To quote the Double Rainbow Guy: What does it mean???

What do you think? A cookie to all who share their wise insights in the comments section.