The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 2nd

Don’t knock it until you try it

I’m a fan of new things and I’m a fan of porn, but I can’t claim to be a fan of The New Pornographers.

That doesn’t mean I think the indie rock band is a bad choice for tomorrow night’s Homecoming concert. Having never taken the time to listen to them, I’m indifferent.

Some students, however, seem outraged at the selection precisely because they’ve never heard the band’s name or music.

Yeah, it sucks we couldn’t get The Beatles to play Homecoming, just like it sucks that last year’s commencement speaker was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning biologist instead of Winston Churchill or Martin Luther King, Jr.

But when did popularity and name recognition become so important to UNC students? Criticism of The New Pornographers has centered on the arguments that people don’t know who they are, or people don’t think they’re popular enough.

In other words, the same things a high schooler would stress about while trying to find a date for the prom.

Consistently recruiting some of the most talked-about high school basketball players in the country must be going to our heads. Name recognition seems to be a big concern across campus this semester.

Student reaction to the selection of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as commencement speaker, for example, ranged mostly from satisfaction to excitement. But many responses were from recent UNC graduates, complaining about how much better (read: well-known) Bloomberg is compared to last year’s speaker, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson.

And after a student group’s over-publicized failure at getting funding to bring Ann Coulter to campus, Anthony Dent wrote in a letter to the editor, arguing that “inviting speakers who aren’t famous don’t draw crowds.”

That isn’t always true. I wouldn’t consider former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R.-Colo, famous, but his first visit to UNC in 2009 ended up looking like the Occupy Wall Street protests.

But Dent does voice a frustration shared by CUAB — and me. What band, especially in this day and age, could appeal to even the smallest majority of the 30,000 students here? If Coulter is the type of famous expected to sell tickets, I shudder what her musical equivalent would be.

I know that somewhere else on this opinion page, Cierra Hinton is trying to justify the concert she and others have worked hard to organize, which will probably be a fun show. I’m not interested in convincing you one way or the other about The New Pornographers.

Personally, I won’t be attending the concert, but that’s because I already have plans Saturday night to try new things and watch porn (possibly at the same time). I’m interested in convincing you to give things a chance before you shoot them down.

It’s not wrong to like or want something because it’s popular. It is wrong to dismiss something only because it’s not.

Disagreeing with something through an informed opinion is much more in line with the Carolina spirit than complaining that the students at Duke have it better than us.

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