I think most of the things we enjoy would be counted as guilty pleasures by someone else. You might say we’ve become guilty pleasure experts.
The other night, Garry and I watched “Paris When It Sizzles” on Netflix. Universally panned, it is generally regarded as awful. Except among movie buffs — like us — for whom it is an officially designated guilty pleasure.
We laughed all the way through it, although it isn’t supposed to be funny. It got us talking about other movies we’ve seen that were panned, but which we liked.
The one that came immediately to my mind was “Flypaper,” starring Ashley Judd and Patrick (“McDreamy”) Dempsey. It opened and closed without a single good review and made less money in its American release than I made on my last freelance job. But it cost $4,000,000 to produce.
On February 27, 2013, I reviewed it on Serendipity — FLYPAPER (2011): A PLEASANT SURPRISE. It’s been getting a slow but steady stream of hits ever since. When I looked in my stats, I saw I’d gotten a hit on that review, the source for which was Wikipedia.
Wikipedia? How could that be? I clicked. There was my review, referenced by Wikipedia. Flypaper (2011 film) has two numbered references in the reference section. Number 1 is my review. What are they referencing? The grosses.
That Flypaper made a pathetic $1100 and opened on just two screens in one theater during a single weekend. Serendipity is their source for this data.
Where did I get my information? I looked it up on IMDB (International Movie Database). Not the professional version. Just the free area anyone can access.
IMDB is, to the best of my knowledge, an accurate source. But it’s not a primary source. Clearly the financial data had to have come from somewhere else. Maybe the distributor? IMDB got the info from elsewhere, I got it from them, then Wikipedia got it from me. The beat goes on.
How in the world did I become a source? If you have ever wondered how bad information gets disseminated, this is the answer. I don’t think this information is wrong. If it is, it’s harmless.
But a lot of other stuff proffered as “fact” is gathered the same way. Supposed news outlets get information from the Internet. They access secondary, tertiary and even more unreliable sources. They assume it’s true. By proliferation, misinformation takes on a life of its own and becomes “established” fact.
Scholars, journalists, historians and others for whom truth is important should feel obliged to dig out information from primary — original — sources. A blogger, like me, who gets information from who-knows-where shouldn’t be anyone’s source for “facts” unless you’ve confirmed the information and know it’s correct.
For me to be a source for Wikipedia is hilarious, but a bit troubling. How much of what we know to be true … isn’t?