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What is this American Idol you speak of?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    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?
     
  2. jrussellmikkelsen

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    I had just such a roommate for a few years in college and beyond. I wrote about him here, but I'll give you an abbreviated for relevance version:

    Surfing the web, I run across a hilarious entertainment news article. I know my roommate will think it is funny too. “Oh man! Victoria Beckham was asked to–” He cuts me off despite my enormous smile and energetic voice.

    The look on his face resembles a puppy’s when it hears an unknown command from its master. Also imagine the puppy is a smug Masters of Poetry student. “Who?”

    I am dumbfounded. But seeing as how, when it suits him, he claims to know extraordinary amounts of information on what exactly is and isn’t popular in England, I genuinely didn’t expect him to even feign ignorance of who this woman is. I try to put it into a context a normal male American would understand. “Um… Victoria Beckham. David Beckham’s wife…”

    No reaction.

    “Posh Spice.”

    He stares at me with a vacant expression. I feel myself falling into the abyss that is his mind. I see no bottom.

    He breaks my fall: “Is that, like, a Spice Girl?”

    "Yes. She was a spice girl from the band The Spice Girls.” Perhaps you’ve heard of them? Broke onto the scene when we were in high school? Took on a form popularity previously reserved for The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, and The Beatles? Nothing?

    My roommate ponders before saying, “Well, I remember that group,” I can see him figuratively searching through the cobwebbed corners of his brain, “vaguely. But I don’t know who was in it or who was a part of that.”

    I attempt to get us back on track. “You know who David Beckham is?”

    Exasperated, “Yes! But I don’t keep track of what woman he marries every month!”
     
  3. Rob4Broncos

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    I have never, and will never, watch an episode of The Jersey Shore. 'Twas a very sad day when I was introduced to it. A quick read on Wikipedia, in tandem with a promo I found on YouTube, told me everything I need to know.

    Not to sound like a bitter old man, but I find myself purposely avoiding certain media with increasing frequency these days. For me to say, 'I think current American popular culture fucking sucks' would be a huge understatement. I've become willfully ignorant of most music, movies, and television, because they tend to enrage more than entertain me. The things that are glamorized these days are rather embarrassing. It's like all of the artistic discovery of the Renaissance, only the exact opposite.

    "Now you kids with your loud music and your Dan Fogelberg, your Zima, hula hoops and Pac-Man video games, don't you see? People today have attention spans that can only be measured in nanoseconds."
     
  4. Frank

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    I don't have cable so I have no fucking clue what anyone is talking about with "that show last night." At best I'm a year behind on a popular show, at worst I never heard of it.
     
  5. Dread

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    Same. I've never watched an episode and I'm not about to start. I know what the show is about and it just doesn't interest me.

    I have, however, seen that GIF of Snooki being punched in the face. I don't know what she was mouthing off about, but dude appears to have knocked her the fuck out. I was supposed to laugh at that, right? 'Cause I did.
     
  6. Frank

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    You two are dead to me.
     
  7. tweetybird

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    But here's the thing: you know that Jersey Shore is a reality television show featuring a questionable breed of human known as the Guido. You know that an orange smurf who goes by the name of Snooki is one of the stars. You may not watch it, but you sure know all about it.

    Rather than a person ignorant of popular culture, I would call you a superior asshat with aggressive beliefs about lawn maintenance.

    FOCUS: My husband has never heard of, let alone seen any of the classic kids' shows of the late 80's/early 90's. Alex Mack, Guts, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Pete & Pete, you name it. His family had no cable, he was homeschooled, and his parents very nearly joined a cult. It is kind of difficult to reminisce about the glory days of childhood TV with someone who... didn't have said glory days.

    He also does not comprehend Halloween, as he was never allowed to Trick or Treat let alone consume candy of any kind. The kid does not know what Nerds or Pixie Stix are. It's a true tragedy.
     
  8. Blue Dog

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    This would be me. I do have a TV with cable, but 99.99% of the time all I'm watching is football and NFL network, Top Chef, and now Game of Thrones, with maybe an episode of Anthony Bourdain or Kitchen Nightmares thrown in for fun. And to be perfectly honest, most of the time I just have the TV on to have noise in the background. So yall can include me in the group that has never scene an episode of Jersey Shore, American Idol, nothing like that, and who also judges the people who put these assholes on a pedestal. I don't watch network shows either (although I did watch The Office a while back, but I haven't seen a new episode in like 2 years)- no Mad Men or Lost or whatever. I just never really gave enough of a crap to tune in based on what I saw in previews. I watch Game of Thrones because I read and enjoyed the books, Bourdain for the same reason, and Top Chef is just my on little vice I have had since my ex made me watch the first episode. I'm also a little bit of a closet foodie, so there you go.

    I guess I could say that it is because I'm more of a movie guy, but that wouldn't be really honest either- while I do like movies more than TV, I'll be damned if I could tell you that last time I went to the theater, or ever rented a movie. If its on HBO or I have it at the house, I'll watch it just for something to do or to have on the background while I'm doing something else, but that's about it. There are very few newer movies that really get me feeling excited (I think No Country For Old Men was the last one), so I just stick with the ones I already know- I'm definitely not paying to see on I don't really care about.

    Music is even more extreme. I have my music that I enjoy, and this is going to make me sound completely like some hipster dumbass, but they don't play anything I listen to on the radio, nor on any TV or satellite channel. Therefore I don't listen to the radio at all unless it is talk radio (which I do thoroughly enjoy). I read WWTDD, so I am aware that there is a person named Lady Gaga and another named Kesha or something like that, but I'll be damned if I know anything they sing, or really anything other than the fact that they both look like idiots- just like most of the people I see in pop culture these days.

    So pretty much, yall can call me a crotchety old fart who wouldn't know "cool" if it sat on his face, but I just think that pop culture is, for the most part, a giant load of horseshit meant to appease the lowest common denominator. And its not like I'm trying to be this sorta going-against-the-grain asshole who thinks that not liking these things makes me cooler than those around me. I just see what's out there, and I think its fucking awful, so I naturally judge the people who like it, just like I'm judged for not "getting" it.
     
  9. Whothehell

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    Sports. I don't know anything about them, I don't want to know anything about them. I have simply never given a shit.

    I'm a guy who looks like a run of the mill dude and am in reasonably good shape, so nobody ever asks "Did you see the game last night?", it's always assumed that, yes I saw the game, have insights, and wish to discuss.

    Everyday, at least once a day I get "So how about Derp Derpington with that save last night!? Are they going all the way this year!!? GO LOCAL SPORTS TEAM!!!!"

    Not that I mind all that much, I just tend to get a lot of odd stares when I reply that I have no clue what the fuck they're talking about.

    This is amplified 10 fold when with an exclusively male group who are not friends, but aquaintences at best. The topic always turns sports. Always. I'm not uncomfortable around people, but this is when I tend to fade to the background because I just don't have any input whatsoever.
     
  10. ghettoastronaut

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    I don't have a TV. I stream the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, I watched Jersey Shore (although it's lost its magic if you ask me), and lately I've been following Formula 1 and the World Rally Championship. That's about it. And were it not for my co-workers always fucking talking about it, I wouldn't have known that American Idol or Survivor were still running.

    As for the alternative focus; working in a female-dominated environment has made me painfully aware that Oprah isn't just some theoretical entity. She's real, and people obsess over her.
     
  11. lust4life

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    Me, but more from non-participation than ignorance. I refuse to do the whole Facebook/myspace/Twitter social media thing. Classmates and co-workers are constantly prodding me to join Facebook since they all use it to communicate with one another. No thanks.

    I'm aware of most of the reality TV shows that are on, but other than the occasional episode of Lockup or Jail, I don't watch any of this genre. Whatever floats your boat, but with limited TV time, Snooky's drama du jour isn't a viewing priority of mine.

    But when it comes to music, yeah, it's ignorance. When I check out the "What I'm Currently Listening To" thread, it's rare that I find more than one artist on the page I've even heard of.
     
  12. KIMaster

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    I haven't had a television since I was 17, which was seven years ago, and I try to avoid most pop culture like the plague.

    I stream or download MMA, other combat sports, basketball, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Archer, and...So you Think you can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. Don't judge me.

    However, thanks to saturation media coverage, I still know every damn thing about Charlie Sheen, and while I haven't watched a minute of it, know the names of all the Jersey Shore cast members.

    I learned about the existence of someone named "Kesha" thanks to a topic on this forum, and she apparently is a pop musician who likes being photographed with jizz all over her. Everyone has their hobbies, I guess.

    I have a number of pop culture blind spots, but way fewer than someone who didn't watch TV would have had 20 years ago.
     
  13. Currer Bell

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    Yeah, there are many shows/movies I haven't watched first hand. But if it is popular enough, I tend to know a lot of the references because I am an internet addict and watch shows like Conan O'Brien and The Soup.

    My husband, on the other hand, doesn't sop up random pop culture like I do. Apropos of the quote above, last week I made reference to Snooki and he had absolutely no idea who I was talking about.
     
  14. walt

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    A guy I work with has the absolute opposite taste in television as I do. So because he has never seen an episode of "Southland", "Boardwalk Empire" or just about anything on channels like Discovery, and I don't watch things like "American Idol" or many other reality based shows listening to us talk about what we watched the night before is like listening to a conversation on the Tower of Babel.

    Also, you should have seen the looks I got when I asked, "What's a snooky ?"
     
  15. lostalldoubt86

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    I didn't know anything about the show Lost until the day after it ended. Even now, all I know is that the older brother from Party of 5 was stuck on an island. I believe there was a plane crash. I didn't even know that until the day after it ended.
     
  16. fuzzzy

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    Just finished having a conversation with HerFuzzziness (you all seem to have nicknames for your women involving your usernames, I suppose I will adapt that as her moniker). She asked me how excited I was for the GSP/Shields fight this Saturday, and my thoughts on the card. She then half-jokingly commented on what an awesome weekend this was because, not only was there going to be an awesome fight card on Saturday, but we have the Royal Wedding on Friday to get us pumped up.

    She then asked me, completely jokingly, how excited I was for that. I thought pensively for a few moments, and then gave my best guess at the appropriate response, so as not to appear to have no clue what she was talking about.

    "I mean, I dunno, I think the Queen is a bit old to get remarried, but to each their own."
     
  17. Crown Royal

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    Why? Because they have a difficult time watching the scum of the earth bitch at each other about how awesome each of them are? I can't watch 30 seconds of that garbage. Worst human beings on earth, I hope the get thrown in a volcano. Anybody who could ACTUALLY idolize somebody so wrectched and useless has issues.