Friday, June 21, 2024

Discovering How Little We Know

Country music star George Strait broke the record for the most-attended ticketed concert in the United States this past weekend. He played for a crowd of 110,905 fans at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, breaking the previous record by several thousand people that was set by the Grateful Dead nearly 50 years ago. 

Up until the other day, I never heard of him.  

Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks. Yes. George who? Nope. 

Hailed as the king of country, Strait has had 44 number one hits, and amassed 86 Top 10 hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.  

Something does not add up here. The guy apparently has been a bonafide star for over 40 years, selling 120 million albums, but because he travels in circles that I don’t orbit — and because mainstream media has not given him his due — I was void of knowing anything about him.  

It is eye-opening to me how ignorant of him that I have been, and yet it is not surprising. So many people in America lack the same core knowledge about anything. We are already a nation divided by politics and the silo news outlets that cover it, but look at everything, from movies and books to plays and sports and really any industry, hobby, or movement. Our nation is fractured in its awareness, involvement, or fandom of most things, people, events, or issues. 

Just like Generation Z may not know of Ted Williams and the Silent Generation can’t name two rappers, across the board of demographics we are not exposed to the same things. Our culture has a lot of diversity — religion, gender, age, race, etc. — but it seems there is less of a mix or interaction than we would think would exist, especially with an Internet that makes boundaries meaningless.  

I suspect our boundaries are still up. People tend to associate with those who hold their views, common histories, and passions. We are divided amongst so many lines and thus, what we know of the world is still surprisingly quite limited. 

I say this as one who grew up in Brooklyn, where on every block was a different type of people, but even in that melting pot where people are exposed to other things but the level of engagement may not be as deep as we would like to think.  

As one who reads a lot of books and newspapers and interacts with a global culture in NYC, I still knew squat about Strait. I also don’t know much of anything about a lot of other people, things, cultures, and events. Perhaps there is just so much going on that the task is impossible.  

It’s funny, you think at times that when you reach a certain age that you kind of know it all. You understand children because you were one. You understand parenting because you have children. You watch your parents age and pass away, and as you get older, you see patterns to life. But by no means do I know much of everything. 

I don’t think I speak just for myself. The vast majority of our country is in the dark about so much, including people who pride themselves as being intellects or culturally aware people.  

We waste so much time repeating things that don’t serve us so well, surfing the same sites or watching subpar television or trashing someone on social media or watching mindless sports or witnessing political debates that go nowhere.  

You can see why it is so hard for an author to get discovered or for their book to break through. Everyone is preoccupied with their small worlds, leaving little room to absorb something new and different.  

Over the last few generations, the same argument about cultural literacy and a lack of common core knowledge have been taking place. There is no easy answer other than to implore each of us to change our habits. Expose yourself truly to new things — from foods, ideas, histories, books, music, art, culture — to best understand the meaning of life and to taste its best offerings. 

I am going to download a Strait song or two now. I may not likely become a fan but I should give it an honest try. Will you try something new today?

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Brian Feinblum should be followed on This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2024. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.9 million pageviews. With 4,900+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and director of publicity positions at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America several years ago, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, Morgan James Publishing, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. His first published book was The Florida Homeowner, Condo, & Co-Op Association Handbook.  It was featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald.


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