}

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekend Diversion: Overrated?


The video above is the first in a new series from Vox, “Overrated”, which, as most things do these days, has its own Facebook Page. The page talks about a number of different things, and apparently the Facebook Page is the main portal for this effort, which is a change from the way this sort of thing would have been done in the past.

In this video, “Vox's Phil Edwards investigates the largely unheralded business reason behind the success of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird." In this particular case, the story isn’t about whether the novel itself is overrated so much as how it became so—what’s the opposite? Rated? It’s actually a very interesting story, I think.

Like Phil, I read To Kill A Mockingbird more than once, and for school—though in my case it was a more realistic two times. In fact, to this day it’s the only book I’ve read twice (so far, but more about that in due course). When I first read it, in the mid-1970s, I just assumed it was being assigned because it won the Pulitzer Prize, and because it had been a movie starring Gregory Peck. But now that I look back on it, ALL the novels we read in my high school English classes were paperbacks that we were expected to buy. The other literature books we studied—poetry and drama compilations, Shakespeare, and also the book-length epic poem John Brown’s Body by Stephen Vincent Benét, were loaned to us by our school. I’m guessing that their choice of novels to teach may have been based in part on how inexpensive paperbacks still were at the time.

I don’t personally think that To Kill A Mockingbird is overrated, and one day I may read it again—just because. Or, maybe I’ll watch the movie again, because I haven’t see it in decades. Maybe both.

I hope future videos in this series focus mostly on how something became so popular or talked about, and not too much on whether the adulation is justified. There are enough fights on the Internet as it is.

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