In which the media creates a wave and rides it. Hard.Posted: February 5, 2012
Once upon a time there was a struggling artist living in New York City. She had badly dyed blonde hair and a thin, warbly voice. In 2008, she released an EP that no one listened to.
Three years later, this woman is everywhere. She has big lips and doe-shaped eyes and stiff light brown hair. She gave a widely panned performance on Saturday Night Live and is the cover subject of British Vogue. Many media outlets have tracked this woman’s rapid ascent to fame. They explain to millions of Americans why ‘everyone’ is talking about her. And by ‘everyone’ they mean themselves, of course.
Because, contrary to popular belief, this woman with the big doe eyes and the pouty upper lip is not a dominant topic of conversation in Okemos, Michigan or Lithonia, Georgia or all of Montana for that matter. But indie sites like Hipster Runoff and alternative publications like the Village Voice write a little something and then New York hears about it and then suddenly she’s in the New Yorker and the New York Times and the strength of the white indie blogosphere, which has a disproportionately powerful influence on pop culture media coverage, manifests itself once again.
In a bizarre series of events, a media-manufactured frenzy has become a real controversy.
This is not good.
Writing about polarizing figures in an esoteric genre of music is something you do in a college publication that no one reads or cares about. Writing about polarizing figures in an esoteric genre in a mainstream publication is something else entirely.
And for what it’s worth, I actually like ‘Video Games.’