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.


Leigh said...

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but when someone hates something BECAUSE it's popular, it drives me insane. I mean, things become popular for a reason and it's not because someone read it and said, "This sucks, you shouldn't read it." Sure, most things that are uber popular aren't necessarily literary masterpieces but that doesn't mean that they are not good/great/vastly entertaining.
Bottom line is, haters gonna hate. Whatevs. Their loss.

Bombshell Char said...

I will ONLY listen the haters who have a better reason for the intensity of their convictions than, "It just sucks." Back it up boy, or back you out.

Which is, incidentally, why I have a three page tirade of why I hate the Twilight series. Or at least a five paragraph essay.

Fubtabulous said...

I agree.. I love the Hunger Games!

Jessie Oliveros said...

Some people just LOVE to HATE things. It fuels them, becomes their driving purpose, whatever the object of hate may be. Where is my cookie?

Renee Collins said...

Leigh-Totally agree! In those cases it definitely smacks of jealously. Or just a general need to be contrary. Either one makes me roll my eyes.

Charlotte-True, you do need to back it up. Mocking something you hate may feel good, and it may get a few laughs, but it's a cop out.

Fubtabulous-I liked them too! I may not be a devoted fan, but I can still recognize that bashing something simply because it's successful is lame, lame, lame.

Jessie-TRUE. *gives cookie* I happen to have a surplus. This adorable little girl scout came to my door and suckered me into buying several boxes.

Myrna Foster said...

I haven't heard nearly as much negativity for The Hunger Games as I did for Twilight, but maybe I'm not on the internet as much now as I was then.

Some people think it makes them cool to sneer at whatever happens to be popular. Whatever. Most of them haven't even read whatever it is they're sneering at.

Candice said...

I agree with Jessie (don't tell her though). But the people I am most likely to agree with all loved the Hunger Games movies, so I'm expecting to love it too. And yes, that means I haven't seen it yet. *sob, sob*

Sara Raasch said...

Don't worry, Candi -- I havent seen it yet either :(

I think having Haters is a rite of passage. Being "famous" enough to have Haters is a mark of true fame -- there are certainly better marks, but that's probably the best way to see it.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is going to have their own opinion. I really don't think the authors of neat popular book really care.

Britney Gulbrandsen said...

I think some people truly do hate popular books because they are popular and they don't want to "go with the crowd." Those people are annoying.

But some people truthfully just don't like the books. I'll be honest, I'm not a Harry Potter fan. I got through book 4 and couldn't go any further. Trust me, I tried really hard to like it. I started book 5 about 10 times. But I just didn't. I'm thinking of trying again though because I'm sure my kids will want to read them :)

Miriam Forster said...

I think there are a lot of reasons. Some people just don't want to "run with the crowd." (Which is why we have hipsters. *grin*)

Some people won't think the adaptation was good enough, some people won't like the concept, some people might be be arseholes who don't believe in reading children's books... *cough*

I think once time has gone by and the movies have established their own take, things calm down.

J.R. Johansson said...

Is it totally lame and P.C. to say it's a mixture of both? I think some people like to hate things that are popular because that is what they do. And I think the popularity will bring in readers who are not the target audience and just won't like/get it.

/end two cents

Kasie West said...

I think once something becomes more popular it is exposed to people that aren't necessarily its 'target audience'. People who never would read a book like this period but pick it up because of the hype and then are "surprised" when they don't like it. Or surprised why everyone else does. But I also agree with the other comments (except Jessie's. I never agree with Jessie because I love to hate her.) :)

Renee Collins said...

Myrna-True. Though I have a feeling the HG bashing will escalate as the next movies come out (especially Mockingjay )

Candice-Ooo, go see it! You'll love it. I didn't think I would, but I was definitely a fan.

Sara-Very good point. It a sign that you really are huge. I guess these authors should wear it as a badge of pride. :)

Ladonna-Probably not, hah. They're laughing all the way to the bank in most cases.

Renee Collins said...

Britbney-Very true. There's a certain book that came out last year that was HUGE, and got fabulous ratings. I read it and was rather "meh" about it all.

Miriam-Yes, I think when the raging popularity dies down, a lot of the people who didn't like it will fade away, mainly because they don't care enough to cling to it.

Jenn-Not lame at all. :) You're right on both counts.

Kasie-Excellent point! I also think some people read it knowing it's not up their alley, but they want to check out out anyway to confirm this, heh.

Elana Johnson said...

I think no matter what, when you're talking about something subjective (entertainment) there's always going to be people who love and people who don't. It's the nature of the beast.

I loved the THG books. I did not *love* the movie. I liked it. It was good. My imagination is better. (Ha!)

Anonymous said...

When haters hate...