My love-hate relationship with pop culture


I am both fascinated and disgusted by this thing we call pop culture.

I don’t like using the word love so glibly, but I do love people. I love people watching. People are warm, brave, smart, endearing, witty, quirky, Machiavellian, passionate, stupid, and predictable and unpredictable at the same time. People ARE pop culture.

And people consume pop culture. But more importantly, pop culture consumes people. It eats away at them, US, starting with our brains and then onto our souls. We allow it to happen.

Take me, for example. I like to think I know better. I am an outsider, watching from a window, the sparkly, shiny happenings of the  entertainment industry, our mecca of pop culture. I like to meet “famous” people and talk to them and ask them about their lives.

And at the same time, I see them as hollow shells, robbed of their humanness. Thanks to their handlers, agents, media consultants, and fans, they are no longer themselves–at least at some point of their journey. They are products, holograms of what “we” want.

Why do I feed into this reality? I could stop if I want to, but I don’t.

Our fascination borders on idol worship, and THAT scares me. I feed the myth every time I post on a social media site.

I love to laugh. I love adventure. And I make jokes that I would like to “stalk” specific celebrities, as if they are somehow more important than I am.

I give the impression that I am so infatuated that I spend all of my time thinking about something as trivial as a media-coated life of a person who dulls in comparison to the God whom I adore–and upon whose words I should more time meditating.

I am not infatuated. I despise the word infatuation. I am a thinker. I deliberate on my emotions, almost to the point of Stoicism.

But sometimes…it just feels good to get away from it all and step into this dream world, this illusion that has been created.

It is an illusion, you know. All of it. All of pop culture. Sadly, we humans living upon this spinning mass are losing, or have lost, the ability to discern between truth and deception.

We want candy to soothe us, but we ingest poison. Ah, but it tastes so good.

I reference Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 too often, but are we not like Mildred, living our lives as members of the audience? Do we not sit glued to our parlor walls and go about our daily business creating emotional barriers with Seashell thimbles in our ears?

We watch “reality” shows built from a script.

We watch the news, thinking that what we see is raw footage, but we forget that our eyes are only privy to where the camera points. Who is manning the camera? Is the news really unbiased, or does it matter which sponsor pays for the show?

Somehow I can’t help but think the truth is laid out for us in the comedies and sci-fi shows we watch to escape. But we’re so “dumbed down.” we couldn’t digest figurative language if it were force-fed down our throats.

Perhaps I should continue watching Big Bang Theory and wait for Sheldon to discover the truth during his quantum physics and string theory research.

As I ponder how I act as an enabler and turn a blind eye to the dimming around me, I want to go back to Facebook and delete all my self-indulgent posts that border on idol worship.

But instead I post a picture of Stevie Nicks.



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10 thoughts on “My love-hate relationship with pop culture

    • Thanks. I really felt a little shallow with all my Steven Tyler ramblings. It’s not like I would come unglued if I met him. But it sounds almost lustful, and that is NOT my intentions. I guess I am fascinated by his lust for life. It appears to be real. He has lived the illusion, and he has had to take a step back from the demons that were killing him. So, I don’t know. Maybe this is me confessing instead of ranting.

  1. Maybe it’s God preparing your heart for when you do finally cross paths with those who intrigue you to the world of stalkerdom. There are divine meetings which take place, even in pop culture…after all, Jesus was consumed with spending time in the world and with the very folks who were far removed from the ‘acceptable’…and if we are truly living out the Great Commission…aren’t we called to do the same?

    • I believe that. I didn’t want to say that because it seemed too far-fetched, too crazy. But I believe in divine appointments, absolutely. I am so far from acceptable. Maybe the divine appointment is for me. 🙂

  2. Aye, I am reminded of a long time favorite (perhaps my very favorite) poem, “Richard Cory”. We want what we THINK others have, when in fact their truth is not so different from our own. Pop culture, idol worship, infatuation, … perhaps none are so bad really, but none are truth. Perhaps ’tis better to examine what it is that we think they have that we want (fame, fortune, insight, popularity, life experiences, etc.). I think none of us really wants to BE the pop idol of the day. We mostly just have an idealized conception of how happy they must be. Most pop culture folks fade quickly from memory and history.

    Back to good ‘ole Richard,… the townspeople cursed their own status and belongings thinking that Richard Cory had life so much better. Of course it’s not reality, but wonder what people would have said/thought if the poem had continued past his suicide? Lesson being — for the townsfolk, and for us — appreciate your own gifts and talents and station in life, for you know not what burdens the souls of those who stand before the masses carry.

    Desdierata (sp?), another in my top 10 of poetry, gives somewhat the same lesson. Be content with your place in the world. Indeed, divine appointment may have placed you there — perhaps for your soul to learn, perhaps for your soul to teach.

    • “Richard Cory” is one of my favorites. I miss teaching lit. I think I would like to move to a utopian community and just discuss poetry. I am not doing a very good job of appreciation right now. Definitely getting a bad grade on my report card of life.

    • Thanks so much for sharing. I plan on making a day of sharing your site with my staff. We have had such a hectic schedule, that I can’t carve the time. Even though it is on the back burner, it is still a very important plan I have for the class.

  3. I don’t trust any of the major news organizations. I don’t trust them to present facts accurately. I don’t like the way people treat each other so rudely and talk over each other during “discussion” segments. I think I’ve disconnected too much, though, from keeping up with what is going on nationally and globally. I need to at least stay informed on the basic storylines of current events.

    • Our school newspaper (which I sponsor) has gone to the online format. I have found myself going to online news now more than TV or print. It’s difficult to know whom to trust. Anyone can be a “journalist” these days, be it radio, TV, web, or print. We don’t know where the news ends and the editorializing begins.

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