NYT last week by Karl Greenfeld about how numerous online sites as well as facebook and twitter and hashtags allow us to comment on many things we could not really explain in any depth. We may have not read THE GOLDFINCH but we all know it concerns a famous painting. We may not have seen 12 YEARS A SLAVE but almost anyone can give you a plot summery.
This sort of thing predates online info on a smaller scale. It took me years to realize a friend who commented on movies all the time had not actually seen any of them, just read reviews. Novels, as well.
I guess we are all guilty of this. Reading headlines and not the stories beneath them is one of my biggest sins. I have never actuallyclaimed to have seen a movie that I didn't, but in some cases it may be that over time I come to believe I have read books that I haven't because the chatter about them is so intense. Did I ever read HUCK FINN, I am not sure any longer.
And not having read or seen such things does not stop us from having an opinion. We form opinions on prejudices and intuition as much as concrete information.
Are you guity of faking cultural literacy?