The Valley is not the culture club
Bridesmaids is a terrible movie.
Despite my being an SNL fan, I thoroughly disliked Kristin Wiig’s screenplay — I thought it was one of the most obnoxious movies I’ve ever seen. Although I didn’t like it, it was nominated for three People’s Choice Awards, two Academy Awards, two Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and two Golden Globes.
Although it’s only won one award thus far (Favorite Comedy Movie at People’s Choice), I was surprised it was even nominated at all. But then I looked at the amount of nominations it received for the People’s Choice Awards — three, more than the number of nominations received for any of the other awards shows — and I realized that, indeed, the people have spoken.
The general public has actively demonstrated that we, as a society, are not interested in what really makes a good movie. What we are interested in, however, is pop culture, dumbed-down style. We are not interested in anything that might actually constitute culture in its own right, especially around here.
Locally, we’ve demonstrated that by the amount of our own regional culture that we’ve just let go. The Fresno Metropolitan Museum, which closed two years ago, went the way of regional interest in William Saroyan, locally owned restaurants and The Carnegie Library — we just lost it.
Now, instead of a Valley full of people who appreciate culture, regional or any other kind, we’ve got an empty building on Van Ness, molding papers in a warehouse (the rest of William Saroyan’s things are at libraries and museums in other parts of the state), and a parking lot in what is now a ghetto part of the city. What did we do to ourselves that made us give up not only our cultural standards, but also culture itself?
To propose bringing back Saroyan’s stuff and reopening the museum would be missing the point. It’s the people in this Valley who have made Fresno what it is. Although we still have the Fresno Art Museum, Fresno Filmworks and ArtHop, it’s only a matter of time before what little regional culture we have left to enjoy is gone as well, if the people who live here keep the attitude we have toward what we have.
The same idea persists outside the Valley, as well (hence Bridesmaids being as popular as it is). Until there’s a fundamental change in the way we think as a city, and as a nation, not only will Fresno lose what little we have left, but it’s only a matter of time until movies like Bridesmaids are all that’s left to nominate come awards-show season.
Maddie Shannon is a former arts & entertainment editor for The Collegian who now writes a fortnightly column for The Collegian.
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