In the comments on my post, commenter Wemedge (speaking, I suspect, for many conservatives) put forward this rationale for being less energized by cultural discussions than political ones: “Here’s the problem: While without a doubt all that artsy-fartsy stuff enriches and deepens one’s experience as a human being, one can spend an entire lifetime, not see The Grey, and still have a pretty good life. Politics, however, touches each of us, and sometimes does so in a rather unpleasant way.”
Pinky — whom we remember from our second paragraph — enlarged upon this: ”A person can have a fully-developed artistic life and never see The Grey. A person can’t have a fully-developed political life in the current era and not have an opinion on, say, terrorism or the budget. Talking about specific movies is like talking about specific House races or pieces of legislation. It’s impossible to keep up with all of them. I appreciate Klavan’s reviews, and it’s always interesting to see how a writer approaches various works, but I don’t have any meaningful comments unless it happens to be a work I’ve read/seen.”
I think this is a legitimate point. In general, I purposely keep things light here and comment on only the most popular and accessible works I take in and usually just to say whether I thought they were good or bad and why. If you haven’t seen the film or read the book, I can understand you might not feel inspired to leave a response. But what I’m really interested in with these works are broader aesthetics of popular culture. With The Grey, for instance, I was interested that some people couldn’t enjoy an adventure film that was unrealistic and violated everything we know about survival technique. Others didn’t like it because its underlying themes conflicted with their world views. Those are reasonable responses — but possibly not as useful as others — and, in any case, well worth discussing.
Anyway, from here on, I’m going to try to get closer to those questions at the outset and see what readers contribute. I’m interested to know.