Thursday, May 25, 2006

Entertainment can be stupid, huh?

There was a review of the dvd, Cracking the Da Vinci Code, in the last week's Friday's Turun Sanomat by Kari Salminen who's well known as the connoisseur of all things popular. He starts whining about people who attack everything that's popular. He says that to these people the most dangerous opponent would now seem to be Dan Brown's book. Criticizing it is cool, Salminen says. He says that it's no good as a piece of prose, but on the other hand, a vacuum cleaner makes a bad umbrella. Salminen goes on to say that The Da Vinci Code doesn't try to be art, it's just fiction and entertainment, and shouldn't be considered in the context of quality.

Say what? Who says that entertainment shouldn't be criticized for being bad? What's the point in that?

This is something I've detected in the last few years. The thought that entertainment doesn't have to be intelligent and well-done has been creeping in for at least a decade now. This is true especially in the case of Brown's novel, but it's also evident in the film critique nowadays. You can get away with almost everything saying: "Hey, it's only entertainment! Just leave your brain to the hat check girl and enjoy the bangs and tits!"

Entertainment is never just entertainment, that much should be clear to anyone. If this is too tough for you, you should at least want some sort of intelligence, charm, wit - all that stuff that is missing from the Brown doorstopper (and most of the bestseller thrillers and Hollywood films nowadays). There's not much depth in, say, Howard Hawks's film comedies, but they are at least intelligent and certainly don't insult the viewer or imply he's just a moron.

PS. It's weird that Salminen defends popular culture in the time that celebrates popular culture. He's always mocking the people who are all for high culture and high-brow stuff and seems to be saying that these people cannot be sincere and true, whereas everyone who likes, say, the reality television is always sincere and true. Just as Salminen says that the high-brow folks need their Da Vinci Codes they can mock, he himself seems to need the high-brow folks he can mock. To me, this seems to be a waste of energy, the lover of all things pulp though that I am.

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