Why do people like stuff?

Books, movies, shows, art, games, blogs… whatever it is, we all THINK we know what makes one “good.”

Any philosophy dorks are already getting suspicious but maybe even those of us humble enough not to claim to have authority on what’s objectively good… maybe we still at LEAST think that we know why WE like something.

I like Firefly for the world building and thematic depth, for instance. Or maybe I like New Girl for the heart touching comedy combined with entertaining characters and story structures. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but I THINK I know why I like things, generally.

But do I? Do we? How do we explain things that get really popular despite not being “good”? Or how do we explain why a show like Westworld or Black Mirror becomes such a cultural phenomenon where a show like Firefly stays more or less in a niche market?

And maybe more to the point, I guess I wonder… are we all our own tiny version of a TV show? With all the personal branding of modern life, how do we know what makes us like other people? What makes other people like us? And are those good reasons?

Why not play your cards close to the chest? Why take risks? Why go the extra mile? Why not just play it safe, as a personal marketing tool? You know?

I know that I’m kind of playing devil’s advocate with what’s obviously not my natural tendency but… why? How is a person supposed to decide whether they’re going to be an earnest but short-lived show, or a long-running but ultimately shallow one?

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