John Green and Frozen: Overexposed Does Not Equal Overrated

Last year, when John Green was announced as the 2016 Commencement speaker, I heard mixed reviews. There were a few groans, and statements along the lines of: “This guy is literally so overrated. He’s everywhere, and I’m so sick of seeing him around Kenyon.”

I would be lying if I said that John Green’s status as a Kenyon alumnus did not in any way influence my decision to come here. In high school, I watched John and his brother Hank on YouTube weekly. I followed their presence on various social media platforms. I pre-ordered The Fault in Our Stars, screamed when it finally arrived (adorned with John’s signature in red Sharpie), and read it in one tireless night, even though I had a midterm the next day (sorry, Dad). I saw The Fault in Our Stars movie the day it was released, equipped with multiple packs of tissues in my purse. John Green and his books have played such a significant role in my life.

At Kenyon, it’s hard to go a day without thinking about John Green. His books have their own shelf in our bookstore. His face pops up every time you log in to the Kenyon Wi-Fi. He is featured on our admissions materials. I completely understand the jaded sentiments of my fellow classmates. Why does he have to be everywhere? He wrote some books for teenagers and makes YouTube videos, so what?

This overexposure of John Green is not just limited to Kenyon. Even my friends at other schools have joked about the many “artsy” John Green quotes littering their Tumblr feeds, and that many readers ignore other YA authors completely.

Yes, I do agree that John Green is overexposed, especially on Kenyon’s campus, but I do not agree that he is overrated. Can something be overrated if, in my opinion, it deserves all of the hype that it receives?

Let’s turn to another pop culture phenomenon that many of my peers are absolutely tired of talking about: Disney’s Frozen. The movie and its characters, like John Green in Gambier, Ohio, are everywhere. You can’t walk through a single Wal-Mart in America without seeing Frozen school supplies, stuffed animals, clothes, etc… When the movie first came out, I was totally invested in the hype. I definitely bought myself some Frozen merch.

Now a few years after Frozen’s release, it is completely understandable to be tired of seeing Anna and Elsa and Olaf in every supermarket. I’m a bit tired of it too, just like I am a bit tired of seeing John Green every time I use the Internet. But just because I am tired of seeing Frozen everywhere I go does not mean that I am no longer a fan of the movie. I still think that it is one of the greatest Disney princess movies ever to be released. I can still appreciate the attention to detail put in the art design, animation, and soundtrack.

Being a fan of something also does not mean that I am blind to their flaws. All of John Green’s books do follow a very similar plotline, and the scene in Frozen with Anna, Kristoff, and the trolls was completely unnecessary. However, I cannot deny that Frozen is a beautiful movie, and I cannot deny that John Green is a beautiful writer. Though both may be completely overexposed, I cannot justify a hatred of them simply because of this overexposure. Overexposed does not equal overrated.


Image Credit: YouTube