By Henry Shorr
We all have friends who listen to Taylor Swift, binge “The Office,” watch all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, or — God forbid — drink pumpkin spice lattes every fall. Honestly, we all do many of those things ourselves.
Some might call these preferences basic. They honestly are. But, like those cute-yet-profane puppets from “Avenue Q” almost sang, everyone’s a little bit basic sometimes.
What is basic taste? It means that someone’s preferences are primarily dictated by what is mainstream. What is considered basic varies — potentially daily — but most people know something is basic when they see it.
You’ve watched “Friends” all the way through 10 times? Basic. Your mom always read the latest Colleen Hoover book? I’m sorry, she’s basic. Your cousin listens to Taylor Swift while he scrolls TikTok and drinks out of his Stanley Cup? He’s so basic, you could clean your sink with him.
The truth is, things become basic because they are well-liked. Rarely does something start out as basic. Many popular TV shows like “Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Office” were considered weird at first.
I had to convince people that “Game of Thrones” wasn’t just some high-fantasy schlock. When people realized it actually wasn’t, it became popular (and then bad, but that’s not the point of this column) and it wasn’t nerdy or weird to watch anymore.
Marvel movies also weren’t basic at the start. It was a very risky endeavor and people questioned many choices when the MCU first began. It wasn’t until there was an oversaturation that they started to slide into basic territory.
Basic things are inherently good, but certain people — to whom I will refer as contrarians from this point on — see that popularity as dubious.
Some folks really have an attitude that implies, “if all the people I hate enjoy this thing, then I don’t like it.”
The issue is, if you don’t like stuff or people simply because they are basic, then guess what? Your preferences are still dictated by mainstream culture. I’m sorry, you tried too hard and you may actually be basic. Being contrarian is really hot these days.
Read your easy-to-digest books. Listen to Dua Lipa through your AirPods while you’re in line for your frappuccino. Do your thing and don’t let other people dictate what you can and can’t enjoy.
Also, for my contrarians out there: Maybe give some of this basic stuff a chance. You never know what you may end up liking.