I think there's a difference between people who buy "Homer's bowling ball" gifts because they simply want to use it themselves, and people who buy them because they really want the recipient to share their interests.
For example, a friend of mine had a girlfriend who loved books by [Children's Author]. She'd grown up with those books, was a huge fan, and wanted my friend to share that interest. So for their first Christmas together, she bought him a book by [Children's Author] in the hope that it would spark his interest, and result in those books becoming meaningful to him too.
My friend read the book and thought it was ok, but he wasn't interested in reading any more and becoming a fan, like his girlfriend. (Luckily, she wasn't too disappointed). In this case, I'd give the girlfriend a pass, because she had geniunely good intentions, and her "Homer gift" was simply because she was excited about the prospect of her and my friend enjoying the books together.