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On Controversy

It was interesting to see the traffic on my blog post from yesterday.

My discussion of the Oscar-winning score to All Quiet on the Western Front (which I liked) led to Hans Zimmer dropping in on the Facebook comments about it.

Then when I wrote about Hans’ post, the combination of his name, the Oscar-winning score, and the argument seemed to pique people’s curiosity.

As a blogger (and former publisher), it’s gratifying to see the clicks...but it comes at a cost.

I learned a long time ago that you can get a lot of traffic just by being provocative and controversial. In fact, it’s one of the things dragging our politics into the mud—partisan media—though I don’t want to go into that today (or, in public, probably ever).

In the 1990s, when we had the hardcopy FSM, if somebody had a controversial opinion—saying this or that score or composer sucked—it would always attract a bunch of letters.

And it’s funny to think in that pre-Internet time, it was literal, hardcopy, often handwritten letters that I would read and retype (and edit, sometimes a challenge).

In fact, I still remember some of the names whose letters would get the biggest reactions.

I’m probably sitting on a half-dozen unpopular opinions of my own that, if I expressed them, would get a lot of traffic.

But it would also upset people—and I don’t want the blowback.

One of the things that strikes me about being a film music fan is that we’re, opinion-wise, a minority. Everybody else likes the popular song album, and we want the “boring underscore.”

It’s easy for it to lead to a tribal mindset. And I’ve always been suspicious of tribalism...even as I’ve been one of the “spokespersons” for our movie-music loving tribe.

If you want a trip down memory lane, here’s a sample of our letters from FSM #45 (May 1994):

Remember, the complete print run of FSM is available for free download at our site.

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