I like reading reviews of bad movies. Or, more specifically, I like reading reviews in which the movie is clearly subpar, the reviewer is obviously incensed, and the reader can't help but learn from the entire experience (even if they aren't a filmmaker, at least if they're me, as I haven't tried to make a film since high school).
Matt Zoller Seitz's review of the recent Alice in Wonderland film is an ideal, educational example. Don't worry, I'm going to connect this whole thing with science shortly. His ending rant stayed with me:
I occasionally worry about science working this way. While the budget of even the smallest indie film could fund some labs for years* the same general idea applies: budget size does not correlate with quality, but with a large enough budget, the combination of loud marketing and sheer sensory overstimulation can look like something better than quality. It can appear new and exciting. It can transform half-baked ideas into seemingly revolutionary concepts.
It's how CRISPR is so transformative that there isn't a genetic issue it can't be used to address.
I'm overjoyed that such technologies exist and they need funding to thrive. I'm not questioning that. It's simply worrisome when the marketing becomes the product.
Or maybe I just have a problem with TED talks. That's probably it.
*The canonical example of a success in this context might be The Blair Witch Project, with hundreds of millions of dollars in profits borne from its comparatively paltry $600,000 production cost. Primer is also a good example.