Taking a Pass on Pop Culture

Is Pop Culture really still Popular?

By which I mean does a majority of our population actually follow Pop culture?

For my own part, not really. What TV I watch are shows I’ve recorded on a DVR for viewing when my schedule allows. Movies? Four over the last two years and perhaps another four in the two years before that. TV News? Nope. Sports? Not in the last 20+ years.

Part of this was a deliberate boycott of Hollyweird after the unearned Oscar for algore, but I find I have not missed any of the above, and have found no reason to plug back in.

And it seems I’m not alone in this:

Confessions of a Cultural Drop-out
By Victor Davis Hanson
Works and Days Pajamas Media

I have some confessions to make, not because any of you readers are particularly interested in my views; but rather because I think some of you are in the same boat: Have you stopped reading, listening, watching, and paying attention to most of what now passes for establishment public or popular culture? I am not particularly proud of this quietism (many Athenians did it in the early 4th century BC and Romans by the late 3rd AD), but not really ashamed of it either.

Indeed. There’s been precious little from any of those sources which has spoken to me or for me in years, and in some cases decades.

The Thin Veneer

A final, odd observation. As I have dropped out of contemporary American culture and retreated inside some sort of 1950s time-warp, in a strange fashion of compensation for non-participation , I have tried to remain more engaged than ever in the country’s political and military crises, which are acute and growing. One’s distancing from the popular culture of movies, TV, newspapers, and establishment culture makes one perhaps wish to overcompensate in other directions, from the trivial to the important.

Indeed. The pop culture and MSM are doing execrable jobs when it comes to reporting and contextualizing the the important while hyping the trivial.

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  • I read an interesting article in Time that was talking about the fracturing of the television media market. Basically, cable programming was splitting the audience to such a degree that there are no more Seinfelds. There are no shows that everyone watches.

    Similarly, the Internet has expanded and segmented the written content that we consume.

    In some ways pop culture isn’t even pop culture anymore. It’s becoming more fragmented.

  • I thank the good Lord nearly every day for a new addition to my cable lineup: Retro Network! I watch The Cisco Kid on Saturdays (for giggles) and a lot of really excellent old shows the rest of the time.

    We’re experiencing a coarsening of the public conversation that is most unfortunate.

  • JustRuss

    I too have unplugged for about two years now. It began mainly as a monetary issue, dropping cable/satellite out of necessity.

    Then I got cable back and guess what? Not worth it.

    I miss my shows but I cannot stand to be tied down to the television so I watch everything online. And I have no need of network or cable channel news when over half the stories are pop-culture stories. “Britney pregnant with… Michael Jackson Dead… So-and-so busted for DUI or Drugs… I don’t give a crap about the paparazzi! Give me some real news darnit! Tell me about the war without injecting vitriol against it or the leaders in charge of it. Tell me what is actually happening in DC without spouting exactly what the Whitehouse wants you to say.

    In the end I get my news online from multiple sources, and I get my commentary from the likes of Glenn Beck or Randy Rhodes (though I despise her). Fox News is the best news channel because in their actual news segments they give you the facts and let you decide. If you want to stick around for the opinion and commentary shows later thats up to you. But they don’t feed you opinion and say its news like the other stations do.

  • JAT

    With sports baseball was the first to go – after their second strike so the cry babies could get more money – I stopped watching, reading, hearing anything to do with baseball. Next this die hard Raider fan stopped with football – same basic reasons. The days of Ken Stabler, George Blanda, Upshaw, Hendricks, Shell, and such where gone. Greed was the new name.

    Follow Pop Culture – I don’t even know what that means. I’ve never followed any pop star.

    Hollywood makes no money off me either – last movie I went to was Star Trek 1. I’ve never been back in any movie house. And when I find Shrek a better movie than most coming from Hollywood I guess I haven’t missed much.

    TV I admit to watching reruns of That 70’s Show and Reba. Nothing else – most stuff on TV is trash.

    Nielsen does not come asking me questions – They don’t like NO for all their poll questions.

  • GarandFan

    I watch news, sometimes the History or Discovery Channels (when they’re not covering sharks, big foot, conspiracy theories, aliens from Area 51, etc). Occasionally watch the comedy channel. Most of the time the set is off.

  • Tammy

    Rodney, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t watch TV, go to movies, or read weekly rags such as People, Us, etc. I can feel my brain cells dying just by standing next to them in the check-out lines at the grocery. My hometown has a beautiful, well-stocked library which supplies me with hours of reading pleasure. I’m very proud of them. They’ve been conscientious about stocking all the latest conservative bestsellers. If they don’t already have it and you request it, they’ll get it.

  • As a part time contrarian, I have for years observed which way the masses were migrating and headed in the opposite direction (or at least sat down and waited for them to pass). I may have missed out on the occasional trend that had some merit, but for the most part, I believe that marching to my own drummer has been its own reward.

  • epador

    I drink soda, not pop.