There’s a really, really interesting thread going on. It’s quite long – and far from over, I suspect – but worth the read, comments included.
First, Lou Anders (see SF Signal interview) wrote another awesome and honest post, Getting Medieval on Reality’s Ass, in which he talks about why movies are worthy of critical analysis, the prime component of fiction (entertainment) and how Star Trek and science fiction changed the world.
Ian McDonald (author of the fantabulous River of Gods) responds to Lou’s post with his own, These fictions that sustain us, in which he agrees with Lou to a point, but also thinks it’s about more than entertainment. (He also has issues with a related Asimov’s article Barbarian Confessions by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.)
Finally (for now) Lou responds again with Getting Even More Medieval in which he reiterates: “Quality and popularity need not be mutually exclusive”.
UPDATE: And now John Scalzi weighs in against the assumption that Star Wars is entertainment, which he claims is false. Says Scalzi:
“Star Wars is not entertainment. Star Wars is George Lucas masturbating to a picture of Joseph Campbell and conning billions of people into watching the money shot.”