Yesterday, Cameron introduced the Kings of Leon Effect, which is essentially the opposite of the John Mayer Effect. The Kings of Leon Effect is the effect whereby something is considered underrated for a long period of time, eventually gains momentum for its underrated status, and thus subsequently becomes overrated. After weeks of thought and exhausting research (okay, I used my lunch break yesterday to read Wikipedia for an hour), I have my top five.
- Missouri Valley Conference basketball. For at least the past five or six years, college hoops pundits have raved about the Missouri Valley Conference. Creighton is so good this year! Southern Illinois is great! Wichita State is legit! I’ve even heard it suggested that the Missouri Valley Conference is so deep that it can’t really even be considered a “mid-major” anymore. Granted, the MVC usually has a team or two in the top 25 during the regular season. But when it comes to the NCAA tournament, it’s a different story.
Since 2000, 35 teams from mid-major conferences have made the Sweet 16, and MVC teams have accounted for a mere six of those appearances. More importantly, in that same span, mid-major teams have made it to the Elite 8 or further fourteen times (when you take out Memphis and Xavier, which are relative powerhouses, there are still eight mid-major appearances in the Elite 8 or further). No MVC team has made it to the Elite 8 in that span — not Creighton, not Southern Illinois, not Wichita State, not Northern Iowa, not Bradley. That’s less Elite 8 appearances than the MAC (Kent State ‘02), Conference USA (Memphis multiple times, Tulsa ‘00), the Horizon League (Butler ‘10 and ‘11), the Colonial Athletic Association (VCU ‘11, George Mason ‘06), the Atlantic 10 (Xavier multiple times, Temple ‘01, St. Joe’s ‘04), and the Southern Conference (Davidson ‘08).
In today’s diluted college hoops landscape, that doesn’t cut it. Butler, VCU, and others have proven that true top-tier mid-majors can make serious postseason runs, and the MVC simply hasn’t reached that level. The MVC is the Houston Texans of college basketball — perennially impressive in the regular season, and a dud when it counts.
- Acoustic/unplugged performances. Live acoustic music certainly has its virtues, and “unplugged” performances have continued to grow in popularity for good reason. In an age where a decent-sounding finished musical product does not necessarily imply a talented musician, acoustic performances strip away the artifice and reveal the talent (or lack thereof) of the artist at a song’s core. But with the increasing popularity of these performances, an attitude — both spoken and unspoken — has emerged among some that a live acoustic performance is automatically superior to a fine studio recording.
Take the Beatles’ “Yesterday” for example. After all, it is the most covered song in rock and roll history. I’m not a huge fan of the song, but I think it’d be hard to argue that a live acoustic performance by Paul McCartney would be automatically superior to the complex, richly textured recording on Help!. Acoustic music has its place, and there are countless instances where an acoustic performance surpasses a recording, but an appreciation for acoustic performances should not automatically override an appreciation for great studio work.
- Craft beer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan. Living in Madison and Chicago for the past two years, I’ve had easy access to some of the best microbrews in the country (shoutout to New Glarus, Ale Asylum, and Half Acre). The rise of craft breweries has supported local economies and driven mass producers to diversify their offerings, both unqualified good things (except in the case of Blue Moon).
However, the popularity of craft beer has given rise to — or at least brought completely out of the woodwork — a new class of annoying pseudo-beer-snobs, many of whom have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s now pretty much impossible to order a Miller Lite without justifying yourself, which is just kind of strange. Sometimes, you’d rather pay $3 than $6, and that’s not the end of the world. But it’s now pretty difficult to do that without an eye-roll from the bartender or the hipster on the barstool next to you. So, I guess this isn’t a knock on craft beer at all — in fact, I universally prefer it to mass-produced alternatives. Rather, this is a rant about the assholes whom the craft beer scene has unfortunately but inevitably provided with an air of superiority. Sorry, craft beer, but I hope you can understand. You hate these people too, right?
Soccer. I get it. For decades, America ignored the most globally popular sport, one with its own unique aesthetic and distinct culture. In the states, soccer is finally getting the attention and respect it deserves. In my opinion, it’s also become really annoying. Of all the people I know who now “follow” soccer, I’d say about half actually give a shit. The rest are in love with the idea of soccer. You get to wear a scarf, drink Guinness, and avoid the type of drunks you’d find at an SEC tailgate. Call me old-fashioned, narrow-minded, and the archetypal Ugly American, but I’ll continue to pretty much ignore soccer and hang out with the raving idiots at the tailgates.
- Horse meat. For years, it was an edgy food popular in remote villages. But, sadly, Ikea and Burger King have taken horse meat into the mainstream. I’ll reminisce about the golden days, but you can now count me out of the horse meat scene. Enjoy it on your Whoppers, posers!