Reading about James Franco doing research for the Renaissance People thread, there was some debate over whether his stardom had an influence on the Yale admissions committee. One person on the committee denied any connection, and noted that several members of the committee had no idea who he was at all. I had the occasion to be at an event with Peter Weller (who played the prototypical Renaissance Man, Buckaroo Banzai - physicist, neurosurgeon, rock star, and comic-book hero). Weller himself is getting a PhD in history, although it's taking him a while. Anyway, Peter Weller was talking about how he was hanging out in the university cafeteria with one of his professors, whom he has known for years, talking about history or his quals or whatever. The professor apparently has no idea that Peter Weller, long-toothed graduate student, is also Peter Weller, Robocop. An old boss of mine was quite the futurist himself, and was always going on about crazy ideas. He could never explain how they would work in practice, although I will give him credit for coming up with a few concepts that only became popular a years later (through no influence of his, but he certainly predicted them). He often referred to Asimov stories to make analogies. One of his favorite Asimov inventions was something called "viewing" which was described in Asimov's The Naked Sun. The way he explained it never quite made sense, so he eventually forced me to read it. I read it over a weekend and said "oh, it's a holodeck, only not as good." His response: "what's a holodeck?" All these people live in a subculture that effectively exists outside of popular culture. They are well-versed in other things: classical music, technical subjects, obscure authors, mid-century modern furniture - but have no idea what American Idol is. FOCUS: Who do you know that is completely ignorant of popular culture? What have you explained to these people that literally everyone else in the world knows about? ALT FOCUS: When have you found yourself on the social fringes because of your ignorance of some obvious (to everyone else) aspect of popular culture?