Is Stephen King a Big Dummy?
Let me explain! I get a magazine called Entertainment Weekly. I’m not altogether sure why–I believe it had something to do with also getting pizza coupons, and there’s not a lot I won’t do if it means pizza coupons. So, Entertainment Weekly started showing up at my house, and it’s hard for me to be around text without reading it.
This is why I read Entertainment Weekly.
In Entertainment Weekly, there is a column by a man named Stephen King, whom you may remember as the guy who wrote the novelization for Firestarter. Hah, I’m joking, he’s the best-selling novelist in all of history! That’s why I am extremely interested in his opinions on Pop Culture, and why I read his column!
His most recent column was one in which he bemoaned the death of pop cultuure. According to Stephen King, expert sociologist, the doom of American culture is going to come in the following apocalyptic visitations:
1. There are no good American movies anymore.
This is how King’s argument goes: The Hurt Locker was brilliant, and The Dark Knight was good, too. But those movies came out last year, and next year is a different year, in which those movies CAN’T COME OUT AGAIN. ZOMG! No one is even trying to make good movies anymore!
The terror of bad movies is widespread and, I think, unfounded. Hollywood has always made mostly shitty movies, speckled occasionally with a few good ones. Remember 1942, the year Casablanca came out? Here are some other movies that came out that year:
A Ship is Born
A Study in Socks
A Tale of Two Kitties
A Torrid Toreador
A Zoot Suit With A Reet Pleat
That’s just the A’s! Stephen King, why are you not crying over who will make the next Aqua Antics? America has made far more terrible movies than it’s ever made good movies–why are you getting your knickers in a twist because maybe a year goes by without a new The Hurt Locker? Is it because you’re a big dummy?
2. No one is going to publish books.
There’s a valid concern lurking in this, I guess–the fear is, if people don’t buy enough books, publishers won’t be able to afford editors or to give authors advances, and then…I guess there just won’t be any books around? Authors will have to have second jobs?
What King doesn’t realize, of course, is that a lot of authors DO have second jobs. They also do not have a small army of personal editors who will pay a fifty thousand dollar advance for a rough outline of a book about “Maybe a girl is in the woods, and there’s something chasing her? A bear? A ghost bear? I don’t know, you guys think of something.” Many publishing companies are going to be hurt, but Steve, have you noticed the number of small presses that have been cropping up? Actually getting books onto shelves in bookstores, even?
This is because large publishing companies have to devote most of their resources to maintaining their own infrastructure–when profits sink, the companies implode. You probably don’t remember, Steve, when you were getting shitty advances and an editor maybe looked at your book for twenty minutes before throwing a typo-riddled copy into a cardstock cover and dumping it on unsuspecting supermarkets everywhere. But they did. It turns out, in the era before 30-dollar hardcovers, there actually WAS some kind of business model that kept people in business and books on the shelves.
3. Network Television is Shitty
This one was hilarious, because he actually says something like, “Why don’t the major networks do shows like Mad Men or Breaking Bad?” As though no good television on NBC somehow equates to no good television anywhere, EVEN THOUGH HE’S ALREADY WRITTEN TWO GOD-DAMN COLUMNS ABOUT HOW GREAT BREAKING BAD IS. Fucking dummy.
4. Classic Rock Stations Are Unsuccessful
He apparently owns a classic rock station in Maine–that national hotbed of rock-music culture. And Steve is terrified–TERRIFIED!–that there will be no fancy rock DJs to discover the next “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” For those of you keeping score, that’s a song that came out forty-six years ago. An entire generation as grown up, had children, and then had grandchildren in the time it’s taken since that song came out. We’ve changed the way the public finds new hit singles three times since then.
Sure, maybe the overlap of “Good Music” and “Panty-Moisteningly Popular Bands” is small, but did you ever think that that was kind of a coincidence in the first place? It’s not like there aren’t any good bands anymore. And in the 60s, how would we have ever gotten someone like MC Lars?
Stephen King: you are not allowed to be in Entertainment Weekly as an expert on pop culture if all of your opinions on the nature and function of pop culture were formed a half a century ago.
Sorry. You fucking dummy.