Saturday, July 6, 2013

But Why Pop Culture, Why Now, Why Me?

In the interest of time, I am going to fast forward and start my story in media res.

All this time, I had believed that my interests in pop culture had always been all-inclusive and had come from an inherent need to know about everything that exists. The fact that I can chat about Thelonious Monk and America's Next Top Model and 1960s politics at around the same high conversational level made me believe that I was an unchanging vacuum of knowledge. I never didn't want to know.

But intense self-reflection and hours of poring over journals and remembrances had just shown me the opposite.

My inhalation of movie quotes from films I'd never seen had been born of my first boyfriend; our dates were filled with him spouting lines of dialogue that left me wondering if he was going crazy. I never wanted to feel lost in conversations again, so I began to voraciously seek out lines and plots from popular movies. I can now have an intelligent conversation and drop in a reference to that one time at band camp, even though I have never seen an American Pie movie. What I thought was just a knack for memorization actually stemmed from my infatuation with a guy.

The eclectic taste I have in music was not inbred nor was it even wholly from my parents. If anything, it was from my best friend's parents. From a young age and still to this day, my constant stream of music came from her mix CDs that held a mystery compilation of fantastic songs; sometimes there would be a theme, such as "R&B Slow Jams," and other times I'd simply receive a CD entitled "Holly's 23rd Birthday Mix." My BFF's tastes came from her father's rock preferences and her mother's soundtrack love, plus a finely-tuned ear for music you can dance to. I may know which corners of the galaxy to peruse for the latest hits now, but I got the road map from her.

And my addiction to TV was something I thought I came by honestly enough. It's my entertainment of choice and the more the better. But, you know what I really love? Talking with other people about TV. I have discovered that I watch TV mainly so that I can converse about TV; the water cooler moments and the filler episodes are equally as fascinating to me, and my first instinct when the credits roll is to go to Television Without Pity or Facebook to see what my comrades were watching. My self-perceived devotion to the small screen was actually a lifeline for continual conversation with others; my deserted island would not include a TV, because who would debate season finales with me there?

So, although I spout more than the average bear about books and celebrities and general pop culture knowledge, what I am really doing is holding up a sign that says, "I am the product of the people around me."

And my mom has always said that I have great taste in friends.

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