November 21st, 2006

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11:29 pm - on not watching tv...

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on not watching tv... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: November 22nd, 2006 - 05:39 am (Link)
I'm definitely one of those people who isn't in touch with pop culture and it's not because I'm a snob or too busy being an "intellectual". It's more that it's just not something that actually interests me very much and I always seem to find some other way to "entertain" myself. I asked this the other night and I really do mean it: *HOW* do you have so much time for TV/pop culture? And as I said the other night, it might be that when you are watching TV, I'm busy playing video games, cleaning, surfing the net, reading, writing, who knows. Of course, if Hollywood and/or pop culture interested me more, then I'd probably make it a priority. beststephi also brought up the other night that she tends to multitask during TV watching time; I sometimes do that with the little bit of TV/movies that I watch... but in the sense of filing my nails while watching it, something mindless, not like I read while watching, just cannot. I find that to actually enjoy what I'm watching I have to be fully present. Otherwise, it just feels like I'm cheating myself. But I can understand that: that's exactly what I do with the Internet/while on the computer, my primary medium of entertainment. I can type this AND listen to a new CD AND answer IMs AND toggle back to my game basically seamlessly. (Obviously I can't type in more than one place at once, but the multitasking comes pretty easily.) (Right now I'm effortlessly reading/writing/editing this, listening to a CD, answering emails, and playing poker, for what it's worth, though I'm losing at poker, probably the result of the multitasking.)

Back in grade school and even part of high school, I spent a lot more time watching TV and being into the latest music (well, in grade school anyway; in high school I became a social pariah who was interested in nothing but classic rock--music of 20 years earlier--and I literally didn't know who Pearl Jam was until about 5 years after their debut); I think that was perhaps because that was what we talked about in my social circle as an adolescent. Today I find I can usually strike up a conversation on other topics, and, when necessary, I "read" enough about pop culture (mostly just headlines) to be able to participate or at least understand.

Even so, I'm often the person in the group who is like, Snoop Who? Paris Hilton--is that a new landmark in France? I don't really feel dumb about it nor left out, though I will admit I sometimes wish there were times when I cared more about what everyone around me seems to, if for no other reason than to feel like I fit in.

I guess to sum this up: *shrug*

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 22nd, 2006 - 02:15 pm (Link)
Today I find I can usually strike up a conversation on other topics, and, when necessary, I "read" enough about pop culture (mostly just headlines) to be able to participate or at least understand.

Well, that was my point really. I'm not saying you have to be a fan of whoever the latest flavor is, but when we were talking about OJ the other day, you knew who he was. You knew about the book deal. You weren't wondering why we were talking about orange juice or something like that. You know enough to keep up. Some people seem proud of not knowing enough to keep up. To me, that just seems silly.

I ask you the same questions I asked lonelocust above: Are you aware that Britney Spears is getting divorced? Are you aware that Madonna is attempting to adopt a little african boy? Are you aware that OJ tried to publish a book about the the Brown/Goldman murder and it is now being pulled?
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: November 22nd, 2006 - 02:45 pm (Link)
I wasn't aware that Britney was getting divorced until you told me and then posted about it a while ago. I was aware of the Madonna thing. And I am aware of the OJ thing--I learned about his book deal through your LJ and I read on some major news site like CNN that it was broken. I'm aware of these things not because I really care but because I feel like I need to be to talk to some groups of people. Keep in mind how I find out about these things: from LJ or CNN, not from, say, Entertainment Weekly (is that even a publication?). If I didn't have to spend any time around people who cared about this stuff I probably wouldn't stay updated. I seriously only know the bare minimum.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 22nd, 2006 - 03:18 pm (Link)
Entertainment Weekly is in fact a magazine. I don't read it anymore. But I used to. I'm not arguing that anyone should. More that, it is important to maintain that bare minimum knowledge that you are referring to. I mean, sure, you wouldn't keep abreast of it if not for the need to converse with people, but when a conversation breaks out like the one at Bryon's the other day, its nice to be able to be involved, right? It makes far better sense than just having a random understanding of the finer points of bass fishing. Unless of course you enjoy bass fishing. But since its unlikely to come up, if you don't enjoy it, why waste your time. But the essence of pop culture is that celebrities and media are a reflection of our society, and as such a base understanding is more likely to serve your daily social development and intercourse.

At least that's my feeling.
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: November 22nd, 2006 - 03:37 pm (Link)
I'm not sure I'd call celebrities a reflection of our society... I am more of the stance that life imitates art. But maybe they do reflect back and forth forever?
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 22nd, 2006 - 03:46 pm (Link)
yes, they are a constant feedback loop. The media influences culture, but the culture creates the media. Marilyn Monroe could never had been a star in 2006, and Paris Hilton couldn't have been one in 1956. They are two completely diffferent worlds. It's kinda like you were talking about the Bond movies before and slapping women. The answer is simple. It was 60s. It was ok to slap a woman. Especially if she were hysterical. It was also ok to have a brandy to warm you up before you went for a drive on a snowy night. And if you went to the hospital and found out you had consumption, they'd give you a cigarette to calm you down.
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: November 22nd, 2006 - 04:53 pm (Link)
The last point was just bad science, not the media, but I don't disagree with what you are saying. Even throughout my James Bond post I got it. And right, what was ok in the 60s isn't today... but I don't choose to support it today.

Anyway, back to your original questions: you had asked how important pop culture was to me and it's pretty low on my list of priorities. You've mentioned it's pretty important to you. So I'll ask you a few questions: how important? Where does it fall in the spectrum of everything you do (i.e., you'd rather watch TV than spend time with your family)? Give me a breakdown of how you spend your time, x hours doing this, x this, etc. I'm honestly curious just how you fit in all this pop culture :)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 22nd, 2006 - 06:09 pm (Link)
Sure it's bad science. My point was that the fact that people did those things all the time is what made people put them in the movies. It was a sign of the times. Paris Hilton is famous today because she is an archetypal representative of of a cultural ideal that is popular right now. A carefree, bisexual, promiscuous party girl with more money than God. Like Pam and Marylin before her, she is basically a fairy tale princess come to life. In a different time, she'd just be a no talent slutty spoiled brat, but given where our world is today, instead she's nigh royalty. Understanding Paris helps us understand the world, and vice versa.

As for how I view pop culture. Yeah, its quite important to me, because I really do believe there's no better way to understand the world than understanding its artifacts. Cultural theory is basically archeology. in my pipe dreams, some day I get to leave all of this IT work behind and return to school and do pop culture research professionally. So yeah, its pretty important. Will I put watching TV over spedning time with Steph? No, but I wouldn't put much of anything above that. But its not like I am constantly in the space of having to choose. I just make sure I have time to do all the other things I do as well. For one thing, as you said, I can multitask. There are plenty of TV shows that Steph and I watch together, and the others I watch while she's not around. On top of that, I can do other things at the same time. I frequently read, or work on my computer while watching TV. Most TV doesn't take my full attention to absorb. If its something I really want to see, then I'll devote my full attention to it, but I can easily do other things and kind of passively absorb what's on the tube. Similarly, I listen to satellite radio the entire time I'm at work. It doesn't slow me down, and in fact, I find it hard to concentrate when its too quiet.

Also, I don't really sleep. Not very much anyway. It's extremely rare that I go to bed before midnight, and frequently I'm up til about 3am or later. That gives me plenty of free time and seeing as how there's no one else up to socialize with at those hours, the TV can be your best friend.

I have no idea what the hourly breakdown would be. It varies from day to day.

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