Pop culture is culture. It’s a part of society. I’ve had a negative perception and relationship with pop culture for most of my life for various reasons. I perceive pop culture as mass culture, and since my default alignment in all dimensions is with the minority, my automatic reaction to pop culture is to shun it. For that and other reasons known and unknown to me, I often dismiss, resent and look down upon it. There haven’t been any real setbacks to this strategy – or rather, I didn’t think there were. Awkward social moments in which I didn’t get a pop culture reference or couldn’t contribute to the conversation have always been brushed aside as simply unfamiliar territory. Everyone had unfamiliar territory, I thought; for some it was politics, others science, literature, geography… mine happened to be this.
But for no apparent reason, the other day something clicked. I realised that if I found it unacceptable that people weren’t knowledgeable about current world affairs, someone might similarly find it unacceptable that I’m not knowledgeable about pop culture. And those two things suddenly, mysteriously, became less incommensurable. It struck me that pop culture is as part of a society’s history and development and character and nature as anything. It is as integral in the understanding of a society as politics – more so, perhaps.
This realisation doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be paying more attention to arts and music and film and so on – it would be forced and false interest, anyway – but hopefully I’ll step down from my pedestal of judging what kinds of knowledge are better or more important than others.