A Problem Among Us Pop Culture Fanatics

I have a lot of guilt. I am a semi-depressed, anxiety-riden, Midwestern, former Catholic woman. So yeah, it is like guilt has been imprinted on my DNA. I have guilt about a lot of things that I really shouldn’t have guilt over. This is not a therapy session, so I won’t go over all of the ways my guilt manifests itself. Instead I will focus my pervading guilt onto one issue: my need to see or at least know about every new pop culture idea, especially movies. I need to know who are the most popular singers, what made the most money at the weekend box office, why men are all suddenly rocking the greaser look and how the most inane celebrities are doing mentally. Ok so I could give a shit about the last one, but I do care about all the other ones I just mentioned. If I don’t know who a famous artist is or what the premise of a new movie is, I feel like I have failed in some way. But these things do not define me. I do not get some gigantic prize for knowing who Macklemore (by the way I think he is the reason men are now cutting their hair the way they do… but I could be wrong. I am not a guy) is or seeing the most annoyingly trashy movie to hit 100 million in a weekend. (Is that possible? I guess it is) In fact I have just wasted precious brain space and time to devoting myself to this useless knowledge. Knowing this does not make me smarter in any way, but I can’t help but feel guilty when one of my friends, classmates, or even a stranger (this has happened by the way) comes up to me and asks me about this new pop culture thing and I have no idea about it. I at least have to be aware of what is going on. Why is that?

I feel like a lot of cineastes or pop culture nerds (or academics who study pop culture which is what I choose to identify as) have this constant superiority complex. I want to see every movie ever made so that I can find that undiscovered gem that nobody knows about and I can say in detail why this movie is better than that popular trash you just paid fifteen dollars to go see in the theaters. I want to know more about movies than you. This is what drives me to read about movies, write about movies, criticize movies, but it also makes me waste undue amounts of time on websites like Box Office Mojo, IMDb, the AV Club and The Dissolve reading about movies that I should probably not give a crap about. Right now I am looking at the front page of IMDb’s website and I have noticed that I only recognize one image for a trailer at the top. This freaking me out a little that I don’t know what these new movies are and I must go over there and watch the trailers or at least look at their IMDb page instead of finishing this article. I want to be control as to what media I consume, but I am not. Instead I waste hours on Netflix or Amazon watching a show that I don’t even particularly like (like House of Cards) because it is popular.

With every passing year, I care less and less about the new movies that are coming out. I pay more attention to year-end lists where critics just sum up the past year for me in ten easily digestible selections. Of course there is some part of me that finds this absolutely wretched and know that I could never find that undiscovered gem if I only watch the ten most critically acclaimed movies of the year. But then I realize that the alternative is that I have to constantly be paying attention to film reviews, film festival wrap ups, film news, box office news, and various other things. By the time I am done with these myriad of sites, I don’t actually want to watch anything. So I put on another episode of Bob’s Burgers, a show I have watched a bagazillion (actual amount. not making this up) times.

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One thought on “A Problem Among Us Pop Culture Fanatics

  1. In many ways, I can relate. For me, especially as someone who went to film school, I’m so tired of people asking me “Oh did you see ____?” and having to say no. I also hate when someone tries to talk to me about an actor or director I am not familiar with. It is somewhat of an inferiority issue because I aspire to know nearly everything there is to know about film/tv (even though that’s impossible). I’m also this way with news/societal topics. I try to be as up-to-date as possible with what’s going on in the world, but sometimes I just don’t have the time.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing this – there are certainly people out there who can relate. But try not to waste your time watching things you don’t like!

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