City of Kik. Since that first post on April 12, 2009, I have written (counting this one) 734 blog entries! Now it is time for me to answer two questions that people have asked (and I have contemplated about as well). "Why blog?" and more specifically "Why blog about popular culture?"
I write an online journal because it provides me a forum for my ideas. I write about popular culture because that "category" encompasses many of the topics I love -- movies, television, theater, science fiction, fantasy, comics, baseball, music, celebrities, and on and on. I have defended Pop Culture before and do not feel the need to enumerate its merits or counter its detractors again. All I can do is describe how it has impacted me.
Drew Grant has kicked off a big essay series on Salon.com called "Saved by Pop Culture," and Emily Holleman, one of the awesome editors at Open Salon, has asked us to contribute our thoughts on how pop culture changed our lives. Some might think such a statement is hyperbole, but looking at my own personal experience it is not that far of a stretch.
Those who remember me growing up can confirm that I was a painfully bashful child. I was much more comfortable reading, watching TV, going to movies, listening to music, than engaging with my peers. Writing and drawing were my forms of expression, and the things I would write and draw were often inspired by the fantastical stories I embraced.
When they had time, my dad would watch reruns of Star Trek with me and my mom would watch Sanford and Son, All in the Family, Gilligan's Island, Happy Days, Diff'rent Strokes, or The Jeffersons with me. Even though my grandmother didn't speak a word of English, she would never miss an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard or the Adam West Batman series -- and I would watch them with her, right by her side!
Then my dad took me to see Star Wars in the movie theater and I fell in love with cinema. I grew up writing my own scripts, shooting my own short movies, and wanting to perform on stage in front of an audience. I started coming out of my shell and it was all thanks to pop culture. I remember listening to Michael Jackson's Thriller album with my sisters and impressing them all with my perfected moonwalk. We would stay up late on weekends and watch Saturday Night Live and then videotape our own skits with our cousins. I remember creating comic books with my classmates and selling them to other students during recess.
Without pop culture, without memories of The Six Million Dollar Man or Back to the Future or The Incredible Hulk, I might still be a sad, introverted little boy at heart. Instead, the doors of imagination have been opened and I have embraced the social power of entertainment. Pop culture unites us all more so than high art ever could.
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