Tuesday

I'm a Pop Culture Junkie

Some seriously bad stuff is happening in the world right now. Children are starving and women are oppressed and gay people can't get married in America. The ice caps are melting and there are two wars going on and millions of people are watching Glenn Beck on a regular basis.

Then why, when I am at home or have a few spare minutes at work, do I spend all my time writing and reading about Pop Culture. Shouldn't I be doing something about war and poverty and right wing nut jobs? Yes, I probably should, but instead I gravitate toward NPR music. I read the reviews of television episodes on avclub.com (television reviews?! Who reads television reviews? I do, guess). I go to the New York Times page, and unfailingly end up on the Movies page. What did the president say in his speech today? I don't' know, but Pitchfork gave the new Animal Collective album an 8.9!

Is this a problem? Am I a shallow human being?

Well, yes, probably. And I'm lazy. Keeping up with health care reform and climate change and whether Joe Lieberman is really as awful as he seems to be takes all this work. You have to worry about facts (unless you work for Fox News). When it comes to music and television and art it's almost all opinion. All of us are little pop-culture Glenn Becks, each with our own agendas and fake tears. Just like Glenn Beck's conspiracy theories, it's all in our head.

Now that the year is ending there are all these Best Of Lists everywhere. I have to admit, I love these lists. I've spent much more time than I'd like to admit pouring over these lists, agreeing, disagreeing, discovering new music and books. And with the 00's ending too, Best of the Decade Lists clogging the internet arteries with empty, pop-culture calories.

When it's pointed out to me that this might be a waste of time, or I begin to realize that these list makers might know a whole lot more about music or books or whatever than I do, I just remember that, well, it's just pop culture. It's really not important.