The term “universal acclaim” is, on its face, silly—no cultural product is universal, and even The Godfather Part II had its pans. But it becomes a little bit more useful once you factor in the idea that in pop culture, as in some interpretations of quantum mechanics, there exist multiple universes, each self-contained yet seemingly infinite to those inside.
That’s how it can be that the second sentence of the Wikipedia entry describing the musician Panda Bear’s 2007 release Person Pitch says that "the album was released to universal acclaim," even though the vast majority of people in the known physical universe haven't heard of Panda Bear. The people who had, in 2007, existed within the microcosm of indie-rock-oriented, Pitchfork-reading music lovers who just might actually deserve the label “hipster.” But even among those folks, “universal acclaim” in this case is an exaggeration. At least one relevant person hated Person Pitch—me.
That sounds self-important, and it is, but only because I was very self-important about my musical opinions at the time. And Person Pitch was, if not the first, then the most profound encounter I had with the experience of finding myself utterly alienated by a work of art that I should by all rights love. The phenomenon is—dare I say?—universal, leading publications to make lists of "guilty displeasures" and SNL to spoof the notion that someone would admit to not totally loving Beyoncé. But what isn't universal is how you respond. Person Pitch was to me what The English Patient was to Elaine Benes, and I indeed reacted with about as much social grace and self awareness as a Seinfeld character would.