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A little while back we produced a t-shirt design inspired by something David Simon (creator of ‘The Wire’) once said in an interview.
Mark Kermode asked him what he thought about critics of ‘The Wire’ (there are critics of The Wire?) who said the show alienated the average viewer by not explaining everything in painfully dumbed down terms; Simon replied quite succinctly (and visibly irritated): “Fuck the Average Viewer”.
What a great response. Not just because it was so visceral and punk rock but because it surmised the whole argument over dumbing down of our culture. I mean, what did pandering to the average idiot ever achieve?
Anything vaguely fun or exciting or dangerous is now illegalized by health and safety. Just because one dumb American doesn’t get the intelligent plot twist, the whole film has to be re-shot so the lowest common denominator gets it. Just because some clergyman somewhere is upset by David Cronenbourg’s ‘Crash’ or Oliver Stone’ s ‘Natural Born Killers’, the rest of us aren’t allowed to see it. Just because some conservative slob at Wal-Mart doesn’t like grown men using bad language to express themselves on THEIR records, they are forced to release ‘clean’ versions with all the anger, offense or indeed, the point edited out of them (it’s OK to stock guns and promote murder though).
How are we supposed to learn, teach, discover, improve ourselves if every challenge is forbidden, censored, removed from circulation? If our culture is aimed at the average viewer, how are we, as a civilization, to evolve? Surely we will ultimately become an average culture.
I’m a smart guy because I’m aware of guys smarter than me and I want to do what they do. If I’m not challenged or surprised or allowed to discover and learn new stuff, how can I improve myself? I don’t read much modern fiction because it doesn’t teach me anything. Where are the thinkers, poets, great men of yesteryear? The Bukoswki’s, Miller’s, Hemingway’s, Nietzsche’s, Mishima’s? Apart from Stephen Hawking, can you name me one great figure of recent times?
Fuck the average viewer indeed…