Unpopular Opinions: 10 Wildly Popular Things in 2013 That Everyone Liked But I Didn’t Understand


Joan gets what it's like to have unpopular opinions.

Tis the season for year end lists, wherein members of the media perform one giant circle jerk and praise all the same things at the same time and compose “best of” lists that are remarkably similar because (for a variety of reasons, all with the same old troubling implications) the media is kind of a self-selecting group and so it makes sense that everyone in it pretty much likes what everybody else does, right? Right. But just like last year, when I didn’t really understand what the big deal was with the Olympics or Downton Abbey, there are some really popular things in the world of culture and also just the world that it seems like everyone I know was excited about, but I just didn’t get it. Get ready, because things are about to get controversial.

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  1. Okay. So, Bryan Cranston. He didn’t say “The Art of Fielding” is a baseball book (which it is, although it’s obviously a great many other things; a coming-of-age story, a homoerotic awakening story, a male-ness study, an extended tip-of-the-cap to Melville, and much more). He said “But I love baseball and I’m eager to read ‘The Art of Fielding.’ It’s on my bed stand right now, taunting me.” Among many other things, ‘The Art of Fielding’ examines, meditates on, and redefines many of the baseball/life tropes examined over and over in contemporary American literature. I’d be happy to discuss these with you. Love of baseball, while not a prerequisite for reading or understanding Chad Harbach’s novel, can almost certainly provide an additional layer of enrichment.

    As to ‘Breaking Bad’, you’re welcome to love or not love whatever television programs you like; with so much drivel out there, the baseline bar for quality is a matter of opinion. You’re entitled to your own. Mine is irrelevant.