I want to talk about some of the pop-culture crap I am exposed to every day as a media-friendly Westerner, and my total disinterest in a shedload of said crap. In this day and age, we are in a historically unique and privileged position to suffer from heretofore unseen levels of sensory and information overload, at least half of which is, as mentioned above, absolute crap.
Sometimes I feel like my brain has been peeled off the walls of my skull, drained out through my ears and nose, deposited in a jar of sugary Cool-Aid, shoved in a blender, and then filtered back into my head via a reverse-suction Slurpee straw. By which I mean to say, almost every freshly-gleaned insight and hardwon smattering of knowledge I managed to retain over hundreds of years of schooling is being gradually eroded and sanded to nothingness by a constant stream of gossip that I am internalizing and remembering about the cast of Gray’s Anatomy, a show that I have never seen nor wished to view.
The criteria for a Pop-Culture Cop-Out are loose. These may be things the general, idiot public seem to enjoy, or things that your peer group expect you to enjoy, be that enjoyment ironic, nostalgic, or genuine. It has to be more than a movie that was inexplicably popular (like Wanted, which was so godawful I fell asleep on the couch in a self-directed mercy-kill), but, instead, a franchise that is well-regarded and continues to resonate with the populace, to your utter confusion.
Some cases of Pop-Culture Cop-Out can be attributed to snobbery; in other cases, it’s just that the phenomenon simply never connected with you. In my call-outs, I’m not begrudging the enjoyment other people have experienced from these things (excepting Mariah Carey, maybe); I just want to list a number of pop-culture instances that never resonated with me, for one reason or another, and of which I work hard to maintain my willful ignorance. I have only so many brain cells, and I have to fight for their integrity.
These are things I feel I am meant to respect, but which fail to strike a solitary note of interest in my breast. What follows is a non-chronological history of popular cultural phenomena in which I have utterly failed to participate:
- American Idol
- The View
- Michael Jackson
- ’80s/Early ’90s Sitcoms (Silver Spoons, Growing Pains, Saved by the Bell, Full House, etc.)
- Star Wars AND Star Trek AND Indiana Jones
- Sirius Radio and Howard Stern in particular
- Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston
- Pot (the drug)
- Led Zeppelin
- Bret Easton Ellis
- The Simpsons
- Breast implants
- Guns n’ Roses
- David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and Saturday Night Live
- Morning talk shows of any kind
- Flats (the shoes)
- Prince (the musician)
- Tea (the drink)
- American Football AND European Football
- Miley Cyrus/Jonas Brothers/Disney Tween Celebrities
- LiveAid Concerts
- Depressing Music
- Fetishizing motherhood
- Friends (the show)
- iPhone/Apple products
- High School Musical
Maybe you never understood the appeal of Seinfeld, or the swing revival left you scratching your head, or you’d rather die than get a henna tattoo (circa 1996). Do you remain befuddled by skinny jeans, or the reverance of Nirvana? Have you never sought out a single LOLCat? Perhaps the interest in Texas Hold ‘Em games mystifies you, or you thoroughly hated The Sopranos.
Please list in the comments the pop-culture crap that has never caught your eye, and whose pervasiveness you resent. Almost anyone reading this will take exception with at least a few of the products/people I listed above, and that’s okay! I may hate Star Wars, but I love Battlestar Galactica and Firefly. I’d sooner take a rusty corkscrew to my eardrum than watch American Idol, but I miss every second of So You Think You Can Dance. Just detail the stuff that you don’t get. I understand that about 90% of you probably love The Simpsons, and that’s cool – it just never hooked me, and I always feel like a bit of a nerd for not loving it.
So fire away!