How does criticism affect popular culture?

Popularity is slippery, and shouldn't be confused with quality, says critic A.O. Scott.

  • Popularity has a funny way of correcting or reversing itself, says journalist and film critic A.O. Scott. It's a weird and fickle index—never identical to quality, though it can coincide with it.
  • Movies like Avatar that are capitalist consumer hits can fade over time. Meanwhile works that were initially passed over can be dredged out of forgotten corners to glory many years later.
  • Moby Dick is an example of how critics can turn the tide of popularity, for better and for worse. First, critics dismissed Moby Dick and it was forgotten until a resurgence of interest by critics many years later. It's now a staple of American literature.
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9 of the best Star Wars gifts not named Baby Yoda

Baby Yoda merch is on the way, but these Star Wars holiday gifts are available right now.

Image via LEGO on Amazon
  • Since the launch of Disney Plus, the internet has gone crazy for Baby Yoda.
  • Merchandise for the cute character was intentionally delayed, but there are other options.
  • The items in this gift guide are for anyone who loves Star Wars or wants to learn more.
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Learn any topic in 12 minutes. This app boils non-fiction books down to their essence.

Get the whole 12min library now for just $29.

  • 12min summarizes hundreds of best-selling books down to essential 12-minute microbooks.
  • Microbooks are downloadable in both text and audio formats.
  • You can request a 12min summary of any non-fiction book not in their vast library.
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5 essential books for spurring innovation

These books will help you ideate more creatively.

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  • Being a generalist in multiple fields can spark innovation in something outside of your expertise.
  • It is critical to understand the role of organizations in the future.
  • Applying patterns from genius innovators into your own thinking processes.
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Not sure what to do with your life? You're on a path to success.

In David Epstein's 'Range', dabblers and dillettantes are ascendant.

  • There are more paths to professional success than practicing for 10,000 hours, says David Epstein.
  • In his new book 'Range', the author illustrates the benefits of being a generalist in a specialized world.
  • While the conclusions are good news, they're not as surprising as Epstein might believe.
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