Created By: RobinGoodfellow on August 8, 2007
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Now that the Vindicated by History trope has gone up, should there be something that explores the idea that the fact that something becomes popular tends to be interpreted as meaning it's good. Are these belated classics always worthy of the attention, or do they just get a reputation because suddenly everyone's talking about them. "It's a Wonderful Life is on TV every year, so it must be a special part of the season, and isn't just being shown a lot because it's free." I mean, maybe the critics got it right the first time around.

Popular Equals Good? Quality By Majority Vote? Or is there already a trope on this?
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • August 13, 2007
    Solandra
    <bump> I'll launch 1 as Quality By Popular Vote, lump 2 and 3 in with True Art Is Angsty for comparison, and 4 as Hype Backlash, if there are no objections.
  • August 8, 2007
    jonnyd
    Could also have a related trope for all those critics who automatically assume that is something is popular, it must be cheap rubbish marketed at the lowest common denominator. They're highly paid, highly trained critics, and as such, they must be the only people who can appreciate true quality. If the regular man in the street is able to enjoy it, it's obviously not high-brow enough.

    Oh, and of course, the backlash from this is the perception from a lot of people that if a film is Critically Acclaimed, then it's obviously a bunch of artsy wank they have no interest in seeing.

    Perhaps an umbrella title to cover all these possibilities, either lumped together or as an index of them, something like I Hate It Because You Like It. Maybe someone can rework that into something more shiny.
  • August 8, 2007
    Solandra
    Stephen King's works are criticized for this, because ordinary readers are actually reading horror books, a genre that was supposed to be dead.

    There's also another one related to Hype Aversion: when people become so irritated at the countless praise being lavished upon a work that they blow up its minor faults into work-killing ones. If that work hadn't been so hyped in the first place, they would have likely accepted it as a good, decent work and not nitpicked it so much.
  • August 8, 2007
    Kayube
    An extreme form of that last one is where it seems like once something becomes popular enough, someone's going to start declaring that it's offensive, Satanic, or both.
  • August 8, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    Popularity Prejudice bot both forms would fit.
  • August 8, 2007
    Kayube
  • August 8, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    This also has to do with our perceptions of 'mainstream' appeal and the originality of 'underground' work.
  • August 9, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    ''Could also have a related trope for all those critics who automatically assume that is something is popular, it must be cheap rubbish marketed at the lowest common denominator. They're highly paid, highly trained critics, and as such, they must be the only people who can appreciate true quality. If the regular man in the street is able to enjoy it, it's obviously not high-brow enough.

    Oh, and of course, the backlash from this is the perception from a lot of people that if a film is Critically Acclaimed, then it's obviously a bunch of artsy wank they have no interest in seeing.''

    Morgan Wick: Related to True Art Is Angsty.

    This critics-people dichotomy is the reason why I'm planning three lists instead of one for my project to create a "greatest movies list" by cobbling together other "greatest movies lists". (Plug plug plug... http://morganwick.blogspot.com/search/label/100%20greatest%20movies%20project)
  • August 9, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    There's also another one related to Hype Aversion: when people become so irritated at the countless praise being lavished upon a work that they blow up its minor faults into work-killing ones. If that work hadn't been so hyped in the first place, they would have likely accepted it as a good, decent work and not nitpicked it so much.

    Morgan Wick: I think I may have this problem with 2001: A Space Odyssey and I think you know what "minor fault" I'm talking about. But Huxley's Brave New World really is ruined by starting with at least three whole chapters of nothing but Expospeak.

    For some reason my computer wouldn't even try to send this in as one post.
  • August 9, 2007
    Solandra
    So the tropes mentioned here are: 1. Popular works are automatically labeled as good, even before the labelers have actually seen it. (Quality By Majority Vote?) 2. Critics dismiss a popular work because they automatically assume that non-critics are the Lowest Common Denominator. (The Public Only Likes Light Reading?) 3. Inverse of the above: People dismiss a critically-acclaimed work because they automatically assume that it has to be boring, 300 pages long, and full of ennui for the highbrow critics to like it. (Critics Only Like Ennui?) 4. A work becomes so popular and hyped that the people who would have labeled it as "pretty good, but not great" if it hadn't been so praised that they become sick of it and make their criticism just as vocal as the praise. (Popularity Induced Backlash?)

    Did I miss any? (Oh, and my "nitpick" with Brave New World wasn't the exospeak: it was the satire that seemed to be delivered with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer at times: "People used to birth their children and actually take care of them in houses! Oh the horror! The shock! Thank Ford we're not like that now!" That might have been the point, but still...)
  • August 9, 2007
    Scientivore
    1. I can't decide between Popular Equals Good and Quality By Majority Vote. 2. I think that's Hype Aversion. 3. I think that's True Art Is Angsty. 4. I think that's Hype Aversion.
  • August 9, 2007
    jonnyd
    I think that's a pretty good summation Solandra. I'm sure we all agree that this kind of thing is worth a trope. The question is if each variety deserves it's own trope, or if some or all should be lumped together.

    Edit: Looks like we have 3 and 4 already. Good work Scientivore. I would argue that 2 is different though, but that's maybe just a matter of opinion.
  • August 9, 2007
    Solandra
    I think that 4 is different from Hype Aversion. Hype Aversion's text identifies it as "the specific avoidance of a work mainly because of how much you're told you'll like it" while this one is "becoming even more disappointed and critical than usual because of how much you were told you would like it, even if it is a good work by itself" It's usually what happens when you watch a classic and think it's overrated; Hype Aversion happens before you actually get around to watching the classic (if you ever do).
  • August 9, 2007
    Scientivore
    I see what you mean now. If we go for Popular Equals Good, then Popular Equals Bad could cover (2) and maybe (4), otherwise (4) could be Over Exposure (like It's a Wonderful Life).
  • August 9, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    Morgan Wick: I think 3 is ever so slightly different from True Art Is Angsty. It's the tendency for the people to assume that the critics think True Art Is Angsty. It's like True Art Is Angsty plus Hype Aversion.
  • August 10, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    The guy that wrote Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Pop Culture Is Making Us Smarter is an entire nonfic book built upon the idea of disproving both True Art Is Angsty AND Hype Aversion by giving a damn good argument that overall, people like stuff that makes them think, and that critics often don't give popular media a real chance before decrying it as "dumbing down" the culture. Mostly against Hype Aversion, but also addresses True Art Is Angsty in a weird sort of way, when it proves that sitcoms like Seinfeld and The Simpsons require a great deal of intellectual work to fully enjoy them.

    True Art Is Angsty I have seen played out in real life, as well as subverted in REALLY annoying ways, actually. For instance, Time Magazine, which I normally respect and appreciate and like reading, actually said that Transformers was, in a nutshell, a dull, boring, horribly stupid and completely worthless, unentertaining movie, to which my response was to think: "...so just because it's got huge action sequences, loads of special effects, and a mostly light-natured plot, it can't possibly be good at all? Well sor-ry for not requiring every movie I watch to be a huge wangstfest or the cinematic successor to Shakespeare!". Meanwhile some obscure wangstfest I hadn't liked got a OMG YOU MUST SEE THIS note in the same reviews section. Argh. I also saw a different critic give the third Mission Impossible flick four stars, and it was ATROCIOUS, I'm sorry, but it was.
  • August 10, 2007
    WillyFourEyes
    I would have gone with Popularity Prejudice, if not simply for the Added Alliterative Appeal. Since that's out, Quality By Popular Vote works.
  • August 13, 2007
    SciVo
    Sounds good to me.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=wgjztd2y&trope=HypeBacklash