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Hi fidelity

Vikram Murthi: “High Fidelity’s endurance as both a piece of IP and a flashpoint for media discourse is mildly baffling for obvious reasons. For one thing, its cultural milieu is actually dated. Even correcting for vinyl’s recent financial resurgence, the idea of snooty record store clerks passing judgment on customer preferences has more or less gone the way of the dodo. With the Internet came the democratization of access, ensuring that the cultivation of personal taste is no longer laborious or expensive, or could even be considered particularly impressive (if it ever could have been). Secondly, as one might imagine, some of Hornby’s insights into heterosexual relationships and the differences between men and women, even presented through the flawed, self-deprecating interiority of High Fidelity’s main character, are indeed reductive. Frears’ film actually strips away the vast majority of Hornby’s weaker commentary, but the novel does include such cringeworthy bits like, “What’s the deal with foreplay?” that are best left alone. Accounting for all of that, though, it’s remarkable how many misreadings of Hornby’s text have been accepted as conventional wisdom. It’s taken as a given by many that the novel and film earnestly preach the notion that what you like is more important than what you are like when, in fact, the narrative arc is constructed around reaching the opposite conclusion.”

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