You know how chefs narrate stories of customers who polish off an entire meal and then call the chef to complain about it? Or even worse, ask for a replacement meal? That’s what we, as the community of youth on the internet, essentially do. The hypocrisy though lies in the fact that while we call it “cringe-pop”, we are also the ones making it popular with millions of views and shares.
When you sit and discuss how talentless or really bad artists have become so successful, you forget that you too are an audience to them, and probably still are. It is like an inescapable vortex: you know it is bad. It is even appalling, but you cannot stop watching. And that’s the sad part, we humans are amused by the absurd and bizarrely amusing antics of these wannabe stars. Their lack of talent is compensated by the amount of substance they give for us to make fun of because in the end, we humans love finding mistakes. And when there are so many to pick on, won’t you just love digging into it?
Here’s the thing: if you want to point fingers at someone for making Omprakash Mishra or Dhinchak Pooja famous, it is you. They have no backing from big names. They are not being sponsored for their content. They are not extremely pretty, or talented. They did not endorse or advertise themselves. Heck, they did not even become famous for the right reasons. They became popular not because their work was commendable, but it was so bad that it became a joke. Then a curiosity, then a trend, and now they are public figures with fan following and careers while the person who “discovered” their video and shared it as something funny, still sits at home, as unknown as they were before it. While you spend your little money on getting cheap laughs at their stunts, it is your boredom and amusement that pays their bills. How ironic, right?
Just take a moment and think of what the whole Kardashian family does: they live. That’s it. They were not particularly talented, smart or even strikingly good-looking when they had started off. With money, came the beauty and riches. That’s how much the world buys into popularity. So much so that once you become popular, nobody even questions why. And we, as consumers, buy into it. We mindlessly spend our time and money on what is popular and “in”, not once wondering the how and why of it. Yes, sometimes we do remark at how pointless and trashy it is. But we still don’t stop consuming it. Because cringe-pop and such cultures are like junk food: you know it is useless but that doesn’t mean you can keep away from it.
You find it degrading our expectations and experiences? You think it is ruining the quality we expect from the entertainment industry? You think it is dumbing us down, making us stupider by the day? Then stop watching it. Don’t be tempted to click on that link for a few mindless laughs and dead brain cells. Basic economics: supply comes according to demand. If you stop consuming it, there will be no supply of it. Don’t even try it for a moment, when you know it is going to be just a few minutes of your life wasted. Your one click might be the stroke of luck for it.
The next time you crib about how true talent is going unrecognised; how art is dying and how cringe-pop is taking over, just remember one thing: before, it was just cringe; you put the “pop” in it