Friday, October 29, 2010

Why Being Aware of Pop Culture is a Good Thing

I remember watching The Caine Mutiny with Humphrey Bogart. Part of the film has Bogart walking around rolling steel bearings in his hand while accusing people of taking his strawberries. Five years later Robin Williams did a spoof of Bogart and his strawberries, and I think I was the only one of my friends who 'got it'. I felt a little superior for the next thirty minutes or so. And that's a wonderful feeling, indeed!

Truly, the best thing about knowing your pop culture is the in-jokes that you hear all the time that only people who've seen that movie/heard that song/read that book will get. It's like a secret club; for a second those in the "know" are bonded together as a group so we can lord it over the people who are clueless.

Pop culture changes very quickly these days, so you have to pay attention. One minute Billy Ray and his Achy-Breaky Heart are on top, the next it's his daughter who is drawing the crowds. It's important to pay attention to what is popular and what is not. Why? Because the flavor of the day, whatever it may be, is the perfect icebreaker for conversations.

Think about it a minute, once you stop giggling. If you are like me and are nervous around strangers, then you know perfectly the horror of a mind gone blank. One second you're about to drop the wittiest bon mot ever uttered, the next you're mentally sitting on a sand dune in the Sahara. Nothing but static...unless you know current pop events. If you've heard Katy Perry's newest song, or have watched the Vampire Diaries, or have read the Hunger Games, then you are set. You can talk about those safe topics until you think of something meaningful and profound...which is generally never. But that's okay, because you've got the conversation rolling. As long as you don't bring up religion or politics, everyone will have a great time!

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