Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Pop Culture and... Writing???

A while ago, around May, I wrote this:

Uploaded onAugust 25, 2005
by Strouss Gallery
    It seems that more often than not I miss what's going on in the pop culture world.

    As one whose two best friends are pop culture junkies, I sometimes feel left out of the conversation. Paris Hilton was the topic of their conversation yesterday. It only hit me then. Paris Hilton is a name of a person and not the name of the Hilton hotel in Paris as I've been thinking all along. Shame. Shame on me.

    How important is it to be pop-culturally updated?
    Do I need to know who married who, divorced who, had an affair, is pregnant etc? No.
    Do I care about these things? Ahhh... that's where the big difference lies.

    No, I don't care. And hence these kind of news items brush me tangentially, never leaving an impression.

    Most people, I guess, do care. To different degrees. To some it's a form of gossip, to others it's a form of idolizing stars, and to other yet it's a way of staying informed. They view pop culture news as any other news. I disagree, but hey, it seems that I'm in the minority.

    For the sake of not being left out anymore I'm going to make a changes in my life. A conscious effort. I promise to watch one of these pop culture shows once a week. You know, like Extra. I will know who is who in no time, and then I will feel worthwhile. Knowledgeable. Able to hold my own in a conversation about Paris Hilton.

I found the above little blurb today and laughed. I didn't watch even one Extra since. I still have no idea who dates who. Sometimes, when I open technorati, I see in their Top Searches This Hour something like "Britney Spears baby" - so I figure she finally gave birth (yes, yes, the news of her pregnancy reached even me), or "Demi Moore" which I have no idea why she would be a top search, but I figure there must be something going on.

I still haven't decided how important it is to my life in general and my life as a writer to know more about pop-culture, but judging from my not keeping my promise, I'm leaning towards -- not important.

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Eric Mutta said...

To my life? Totally irrelevant. To my writing? Well, it provides no end of material for parody or comedy. For example, Britney Spears recently made it to a post ("New Instant Bible") on my blog where some guy called Sheikh Spear was her supposed grand daddy!

Pop-culture is also a good source of fodder when analysing the human condition, media manipulation techniques and the latest trends in madness. But having said that, I never actively go looking for it - that would be as lucrative as sitting under a tree and being inspired to remember Isaac Newton, when a pigeon decides to relieve itself of the McDonald's Happy Meal it just ate ;-)

Jean said...

Yes, and who, besides The Donald's family really gives a hoot if he's fathering his fifth child at the age of sixty. All that tells me is he'd gotta spend his Golden Years dealing with a snotty, petulant teenager. Oh, wait, The Nanny et al can do that. He's done his part. He can beam with pride. (And, yes, I know that's entirely unfair. Perhaps he really does want to spend his Golden Years doting on another, er, darling.)

rdl said...

I am so glad for you that you didn't keep your promise. I keep up because I work in a doctor's office and read people magazine sometimes at lunch or grabbing a coffee. so next time you are at the dentist or doctors or in the checkout line just glance at a peoples magazine; that's all you need to do, if that. just getting it thru osmosis is enough really.

Trée said...

With a rich facade
But a hollow shell inside
The Paris Hilton

LOL--my friend Jack wrote the haiku above--still my fav.

Cavan said...

I don't think the specifics of pop culture are very important to writing (unless you're Bret Easton Ellis), especially SF.

Of course, knowing the general trends of what people are interested in can definitely help.

Basically, pop culture is necessarily only to understand jokes in The Simpsons and Family Guy.

Patry Francis said...

I'm with you, Melly. Most of the time I'm happily oblivious to what Britney et al are doing with their lives.

Melly said...

Eric - and what a lovely post that was with "Sheikh Spear":)
Pop-culture as a fodder? Ummm... perhaps in the right hands. Definitely not in mine.

Jean, you got me there. Who really???

rdl, I so know what you mean. When I was waitressing (a long time ago) I worked in a place where I hated the music. But guess what, I ended up humming along. And yes, I do that when I'm in a waiting room. That's fun, I must admit.

Melly said...

Trée, that's a great haiku. LOL.

(I just checked in on you and Mario)

Melly said...

Cavan, you probably have a point - "Of course, knowing the general trends of what people are interested in can definitely help."
Yeah, definitely a good point. But that doesn't necessarily mean pop-culture - does it?

Patry, you have no idea how glad I am to meet someone who doesn't care either. Makes me feel a bit better about it.

Jennifer said...

If it makes you feel better I never keep names or actors straight and I don't seem to know about something that's happened to WAY after it's happened. I've got so much going on in my own life I'm just trying to keep track of that.

Yzabel said...

Hear, hear. I pretty much don't care about celebs myself, so I'm just as lost when someone mentions them. The most I learn about them is when someone else mentions them, like my sister, or on a blog/website I stumble upon. Apart of this, well... nada. Like other commenters wrote, though, I suppose it can be a good exercise in human relationships--or in finding fun and somewhat twisted ideas for a plot!

Pat Kirby said...

My husband usually switches in the television while we're making diner. At that time of day, Entertainment Tonight is usually on.

As another commenter said, pop culture and culture in general is fuel for stories. OTOH, I really don't give a BLEEP what happens to Britney, Paris and their ilk. I'm not all broken hearted because Brad and Jen couldn't make it work. They could all be hit by a bus full of paparazzi tomorrow, for all I care.

Melly said...

Jennifer, yes. It makes me feel better :)

Yzabel too - Yay.
"twisted idea for a plot" - LOL because it would probably be twisted indeed.

Pat - your yes and no there threw me for a loop. LMAO.

Georganna Hancock said...

Somebody once said (somebody famous, no doubt, but I forget who), anyway, they said that people with small minds talk about other people; people with big minds talk about ideas.

Melly said...

Georganna, that's a fine quote. Thanks.

Jean said...

Donald Trump. See? Nobody really cares but him and his family, but it was plastered all over the news like it was something monumental.

Melly said...

Ahhhh, thanks for clarifying. I honestly had no idea. See, but now I feel stupid. How come it was in all the newspapers and I didn't notice. It just blows my mind that these things pass me like they're not there.

Well, maybe he'll have a sixth with Martha.