In Defense of the Lowest Common Denominator
I just happened to be watching the MTV movie awards a few months ago (Read: Amber was watching it and I was too lazy to leave). And a realization hit me as yet another talentless celebrity received award after award. The fact that there were way more talented celebrities nominated for the same award made it more frustrating.
My realization started off as disgust/anger at how lame it was that these awards were getting doled out to such mediocre talent. All the while they were making it seem as though they were praising the best of the best. Now I understand that these are the MTV movie awards (which are decided by fans, that probably watch MTV) so already they don’t have a lot of authority or credibility in my mind. But as these feelings subsided I started to realize that they WERE the best of the best for what they were trying to accomplish.
When making a movie you can try to further the art of film making; or you can appeal to the most people in an effort to make money. In this case they were clearly chasing the latter. So, although I personally don’t enjoy the movies/celebrities that were being celebrated at this event, they had clearly achieved their goals of becoming popular. They have appealed to a low enough common denominator that they have become the best at making money.
A lot of times I get hung up on hating things because they aren’t inline with my personal tastes. I have a hard time stepping back and realizing that their goal isn’t to be the next best indie film, it’s to appeal to the most people and therefore make the most money. And that’s something I can appreciate.
This applies to any business venture. Too often I find myself becoming more of a hobbyist by being a purist about certain things without keeping my end goal in mind. If I’m building web app that I’m hoping to impress my geek buddies with that’s one thing. But if my end goal is to build a business through the web app I need to look at it as such. I need to be less concerned with the nerdy details if they aren’t going to directly help me make money.
In short, the end goals needs to remain in focus. Keeping the end in mind will help you in deciding what direction to take and what to focus on.
I have had similar observations since graduating and entering the work-force full time. Sometimes you have to do what will make you popular (read “money”) even if, while trying to avoid it, you have to rush things, go against your tastes, or lower your standards, coding or design wise. Never lower your moral standards, though, unless you are on MTV.