What everyone reads
Everyone used to read the morning paper because everyone did. Everyone like us, anyway. The people in our group, the informed ones. We all read the same paper.
Everyone used to read the selection of the book of the month club, because everyone did.
And everyone used to watch the same TV shows too. It was part of being not only informed, but in sync.
Today, of course, that's awfully unlikely. Only 1 or 2 percent of the population watch the typical 'hit' show on cable. Of course, it's entirely possible that everyone in your circle, the circle you wish to be respected by, is watching the same thing, but that circle keeps getting smaller, doesn't it?
And when 'everyone' isn't part of the picture any more, when the long tail is truly the only tail, plenty of people stop trying. They stop reading difficult books or watching less-than-thrilling video, and they don't push themselves to do the hard stuff, because, really, why bother?
Society without a cultural, intellectual core feels awfully different than the society that we're walking away from.