The Forager defines and defends backlash:
When tastemakers grab onto something, it’s not enough for them merely to champion it or talk about why they like it or explain why it’s worth seeing-reading-listening to-exploring-etc. In order to justify their own existence, tastemakers have to convince an audience that said work is of vital importance to anyone who considers themselves culturally literate.
The Sopranos becomes a legitimate target for backlash not so much because it’s overvalued as a TV show (it’s not–it remains one of the best TV shows ever), but because tastemakers started talking about the show in terms that made it seem far more important than a TV show could ever be. (Exemplified by the slogan “It’s not TV. It’s HBO.” Actually, it is TV, i.e. just as important and significant as Friends and The Apprentice)…
And Household Opera sketches a rough map of an ideal intellectual community (IIC):
1. The IIC would consist of people who aren’t competing with each other for funds, status, recognition, or employment. Intellectual work would not be a zero-sum game to determine who can publish the most, or the fastest, or with the most prestigious publisher.
2. In fact, now that I think about it, publication wouldn’t be all-important. Exchange of intellectual work, yes; but that wouldn’t be limited to the traditional options of journal article and monograph. Blogging would count. So would conversation over dinner. In point of fact, I’ve always preferred the less formal ways academics have of sharing their work. At conferences, it’s not the panels I really go for, though there’s usually a paper or two I’m glad to have heard (sometimes more, depending on the conference); it’s the opportunity to meet someone who happens to know a lot about something really interesting, and to end up talking in the hotel bar until after midnight.
3. My IIC, like Susan’s, would not be limited to academics. This is probably the corollary to point 1. More specifically: I want to see creative types there as well as the trained literary critics and historians and anthropologists and whatnot. I want to be able to talk to poets and musicians and artists. I want to be able to pick the brains of both musicologists and opera singers. I also want to be able to talk to people who’ve taken their academic training and put it to interesting uses…
You know what they say: read the whole things.