Though I’ve never been one of those awful people who define themselves by the things they refuse to see, more and more I find myself out of some of the most relevant pop culture loops.  Though I’m aware of many of the hot TV shows of recent years, I have yet to sit and watch ‘Breaking Bad’ and have never read any of George RR Martin’s sword-and-dragon stuff.  (His superhero writings, however, are high on my list of favorite book series, though, so I imagine they’re equally good reads.)  There was a time not so long ago where my co-workers (who at the time were almost exclusively 19-year-old women) kept trying to tell me I should read the ‘Twilight’ books, as their vampire/werewolf wars were kind of like the comics and science fiction madness that is my wheelhouse, and only the lack of time to sit and read books kept me from doing it.  I keep meaning to sit down and watch ‘Mad Men’, too, but there’s just so many hours in the day and so very much Super Sentai out there, which leads us to today’s mainstream query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is really trying not to become one of those cynical curmudgeons who hate everything new and different because it’s not what I grew up with, but results are so far mixed, asking: Have you ever felt like you HAD to read/watch/experience something you didn’t think you’d like in order to keep up with pop culture?

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

7 Comments

  1. First off, Wild Cards is an amazing series, and they introduced me to George RR Martin long before Game of Thrones (then again, the old Beauty and the Beast TV series with Ron Perlman technically introduced me to Martin before I ever heard of Wild Cards).

    As far as things I’ve read or watched simply because I felt like I had to go, the top of the list is Twilight. I read the first book because a girl I was into was OBSESSED with them, and I felt like it would help us connect… Bad idea.

    I tried reading the various books connected to Flashpoint a while back because everyone was talking about how things were going to change and the upcoming New 52 stuff, but I just couldn’t get myself into them enough to give a damn and stopped after a few issues.

  2. Definitely. Twighlight is a perfect example. Have resisted The Walking Dead, Mad Men, and How I met your mother though so it isn’t completely compulsory.

  3. Nope. I don’t have the time or patience. Besides I’ve gotten used to being behind the times. I keep up with popular culture at my own pace.

  4. Daniel Langsdale on

    Back in the 90’s, when I was working at my LCS, I felt compelled to read some really lousy comics just to keep up with talking with the customers. (The DC crossover with the “Godwave” comes first to mind. Really, the Fourth World should have been left as a Kirby exclusive and never been touched again, IMO.)

    Outside of work, though, I’d like to think I’m generally too much in touch with my own tastes to give in to the “have to watch” pop culture, but it wasn’t that long ago that I found myself suffering through the excruciatingly poorly written Avatar movie by Cameron, so clearly I can still cave to peer pressure.

    And a little further back I caved in and read something I was sure I would hate, appearing to be just a poor rip-off of Tim Hunter & the Books of Magic, and was pleasantly surprised to be pulled into the unique world of Harry Potter. So, sometimes caving into pop culture peer pressure can lead to good things.

    -Dan’L

  5. Sometimes I usually like to give most things a try, just to give them a fair shake. If I don’t like it, then I usually don’t follow it any longer. However, there are sometimes things I will follow just to try to get what the fuss is about or to get all these references that people I know make (such as my best friend’s obsession with the current incarnation of “My Little Pony”).

    “Twilight” actually falls in both areas. Someone got me the first book when it first came out because I usually love vampire stories, but I just couldn’t finish it. I didn’t exactly hate it, I just wasn’t enjoying it. Then it got really popular and movies were made, and now I’m watching the films as they air on FX just so I can kinda get the gist of the story that some people keep talking about and to say I’ve actually seen it when people use the “How can you say you don’t like it if you’ve never read/seen it” in conversations.

  6. I was a huge Weird Al Fan, having records, tapes and CDs from the start through to Poodle Hat. However, I no longer watch TV or listen to the radio, and, sadly, found that his recent film clips did nothing for me.

  7. Hannah Jones on

    I actually started watching Doctor Who because I felt really left out, and now I can’t stop watching it(although I am hopelessly far behind). Game of Thrones honestly feels like something I’m sort of pressured into enjoying, even though it’s totally not my bag. My friends chatter on about it endlessly so I need to watch enough of it to get by. Magic the Gathering is another one that I’m totally not into, but have to sort of understand because my friends are always playing, so I play just to socialize and not make them feel weird about liking stuff.

    I don’t like to make people feel weird for liking things, whether or not they’re in the main stream. So when somebody talks, the least I can do is listen and try to contribute. So sometimes I watch/read things so that I can put people at ease and they know they can talk about whatever and not get an angry hipster rant(aka, why I don’t talk about music with people much).

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