I have a curious tendency to avoid popular things until they’ve stopped being popular. It’s not a hipster thing; I’m too square to be hip. It’s like my extreme introversion bleeds over into other things that you wouldn’t think of. Popular things have lots of people talking about them, analyzing them, critiquing them, judging them, espousing their qualities, and being a part of it is like being a part of a crowd. And being part of a crowd means I feel all the feelings and bleed energy out in fountains.
Even when I’ve been in a popular fandom (I’m an old HP geek), I’ve stayed on the darker fringes rather than wade into the biggest shipping wars. The closest thing I got to popular was enjoying Snape/Hermione (my reasons are my own, and my personal ship was far more unsuitable, and all the more interesting because of it).
I don’t know—I guess I feel like the people into popular things are a bit rabid. The criticism and judgment tends to leach all the fun out of anything, because then I have other people’s more unpleasant words echoing in my head while trying to enjoy something on my own.
It’s part of the reason I love superhero movies but rarely see them in the theaters (OMG Marvel fandom is like an evangelistic religion). It’s part of the reason why I finally bought Lady Gaga’s earlier albums to enjoy them in their entirety (I’m still not completely over the religious criticism over every fucking album, especially all the commentary about Born This Way). I’m just starting to listen to Hamilton (my earphones are crap, so I have to wait until I’m in the car, and it’s a lot of words to take in). I still haven’t watched Game of Thrones or The Vampire Diaries or most of The Walking Dead. I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly well after they’d been canceled. I think the only reason I’ve seen the new Star Wars movies is because I joined my parents when they went to see them.
People are just so intense when they ask you whether you’ve shared pop art experiences—it wears on my introverted soul. Slightly less intense when you say you haven’t seen it, because at that point, all they can do without spoiling you is insist you have to see it.
I think I just prefer to enjoy pop phenomena after the fervor has died down, so everyone else’s energy can’t assault me in the same way, and so I can formulate my own opinions rather than get my echo chamber of other people’s opinions going too strongly in my head. It’s really not that I don’t want to participate; it’s just that I don’t want to experience everyone else’s participation at the same time.