Name That Subgenre

*NOTE:  This article was written for Monkey Reads a Book by Jason, a writer for said blog

Recently, when I was on a road trip with a coworker, Weezer happened to be playing in the car, and he referred to it as “Sarcastic Pop”, a musical genre or subgenre that he seems to have recognized and named all on his own. I’m not sure what other artists he puts into that category (I think Harvey Danger might fit), but it certainly is apt for Weezer.

I had a similar recognition several years ago when I coined- for myself anyway, I’m sure I’m not the only one to think of it- the phrase “Martial Art Flick” after seeing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the first time. I define the Martial Art Flick as a kung-fu movie that is more about visuals and choreography than action and story. The fight sequences often resemble dance numbers from the golden age of musicals more than anything you ever saw from Bruce Lee, and much attention is paid to color and costume. Probably my favorite example is The House of Flying Daggers. (Many Martial Art Flicks also get bonus points for starring Ziyi Zhang!)

I’ve also recently discovered that I love documentaries about artists, especially borderline crazy outsider artists, like The Devil and Daniel Johnston, or In the Realms of the Unreal. Maybe there’s a term that fits here?

In the book realm, Norman Mailer coined the term “Nonfiction Novel” to describe his masterpiece The Executioner’s Song. Later works on Marilyn Monroe and Lee Harvey Oswald could be similarly tagged. To be fair though, the first example of the category is Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Capote just didn’t have the ego/audacity to call it a whole new genre of literature and take credit for inventing it. Author and essayist Tom Wolfe placed In Cold Blood in an altogether different sub-genre, "Pornoviolence", a bit unfairly I would say.

So what is my point in all this? I'm not sure really. I think my reading of Aristotle has put me in the mood for classification and categorization, something that, as a biologist first and political philosopher second, he loved to do. Anyway, there must be some other hidden genres out there just waiting to be named...thoughts?