Prefab populism

Paul pointed me towards an excellent Esquire article on the problems of populism: The Snakes On A Plane Problem. It’s an interesting piece on the dangers of pandering to blog opinion, and the problem of working out what exactly audiences/readers/whatever want. And it contains this superb anecdote:

True story: My friend Jenny is in law school, and one of her classmates went to a movie in April. When the coming attractions started, the first image was of dozens of unsuspecting plane passengers sitting in the cabin of an airborne 757. The moment he saw this, the mischievous law student yelled, “Snakes on a plane!” presumably to amuse and unify the other patrons. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a trailer for United 93, which significantly reduced the hilarity of his outburst.