Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Life is a Pop Culture Reference

12:00 AM

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I bore easy.

I bore easy and I bore hard.

You might say that there’s nothing wrong with being bored, because everyone is at one point or another. But being a ruminative middle child and drama queen prone to dramatic fits of emotion, I need distractions. That’s the role of pop culture in my life today. When I look back at the stages of my life, it’s always accompanied with the memory of my pop culture obsessions at the time. The interesting thing is, pop culture didn’t have changing roles: it became more and more important throughout the years. Now my life constantly references pop culture, and it often alienates me from my friends – but I find so much joy in it. Here’s my origin story, if you will, of how pop culture became this important to me and why it’s all worth it.

As a kid, TV mattered to me as much as it did to everyone else: just entertainment as a momentary escape from everyday life. I didn’t have cable growing up because my parents didn’t believe in it, but TV still played a shockingly significant role in my life, as if foreshadowing what was to come. At a very young age, I already had routines set up around it to be able to watch Madeline and Bananas in Pajamas then Archie, Scooby-Doo and The Mask: Animated series.

Looking back, I guess I had what I now call “my shows”, as early as then: Art Attack, Kim Possible, Totally Spies, Yugi-Oh, Dragon Ball Z, Blues Clues, The Powerpuff Girls, and Sesame Street (Elmo taught me what Salami was) were just some of the shows that occupied my time. After that it was Philippine primetime TV, then the home shopping network (I kid you not), then reality TV and Entertainment news (I tried to keep up with the Kardashians) and now here.

Unlike TV, my journey through movies is not so easy to trace. I don’t subscribe to one particular genre and the way I lived my life has a lot to do with that (wow deep). My parents didn’t believe in cable, but they did believe that exposing us to movies like Predator, Indiana Jones, Saving Private Ryan and The Ghost and the Darkness at a very early age was perfectly fine. That was what my early movie life was like (and pretty much recurring throughout my life), very Action-Adventure. I also had an animated period, lots of Hayao Miyazaki; I think at that point in my life I preferred drawings to people (my first crush was Robin from Teen Titans: don’t judge me). Then an inevitable Romance and Drama period because all-girls school plus puberty… Then my “hipster” nature kicked in and I became very nostalgic and well, let’s just say I watched more '80s movies than my parents did.

At present, I constantly refer to my life as a pop culture reference. The shift of pop culture’s role from entertainment to weapons for life was brought about by Season 4 Episode 23 of How I Met Your Mother, the first one I ever saw. Judging by my history, I would suppose it doesn’t shock you to know that my obsessions were widespread. I took on about 10 more shows, and counting. Trust me when I say that I can finish one whole season in one sitting, because I have. Many times. My strengthened love for TV was only one manifestation of my lifestyle shift. I constantly laugh at random things or say something in a certain way and laugh and go “right? RIGHT?” and I would get blank but concerned faces. I guess to some extent I lived through TV and movies, I used it quite like a crutch (very Abed from Community).

Yes, I am judged constantly, probably because I make obscure references and pass it off as humor. It might also be because I see no problem in spending more than six hours straight in front of the television. To some, it seems like I’m wasting my time and not living my own life, just constantly setting up scenarios to try to bring the characters I love and sympathize with to life, or maybe that there are better things to do in six hours.

Those are all valid points – but I don’t know, somehow pop culture made me feel so alive. I lived my life and I was a part of theirs; and my constant references were, I suppose, my attempts to make them a part of mine. At this point, I may be giving off a certain vibe contradicting this, but trust me, I live my own life. I don’t wake up and ask myself, “how can I make my life more like *insert movie/TV show here*?”

I mentioned earlier my need for distractions and that’s one of the roles of pop culture, a place to escape to when life sucks a little, because it does at times; and not just for me, for everybody. I choose to escape to pop culture, specifically TV and movies, because it didn’t take me away from my life, but at still let me enter a new one with all kinds of people in all kinds of places. As for the references, (as silly as it sounds) it’s me trying to bring what I get from my escapes into my own life.

Life isn’t at all perfect, not even on screen, and the escapes are marked by all the times you come back. Pop culture aims to reference life, and if you see what’s so great about it, you see what’s so great about life. The references are to remind me of how good life is in a pop culture world – and really, just how great it is in my own.

Article by Livi
Artwork by Arielle

Livi has an uncanny talent of understanding everyone but herself. She’s not really sure what she is, but she thinks she’s pretty cool so I guess that’s fine. She’s really into TV, movies, chicken, skirts, nail polish and talking (usually about herself to herself). She’s loud and crazy but you wouldn’t really describe her as happy. If asked to describe herself in a word it would have to be either strange, weird or complicated; or some word for I have no effing clue. She has inside jokes with herself, stalks her own twitter, forever game to have a 5-hour phone call about life and gives pretty good hugs. And yes, she often refers to herself in the third person HINT HINT.

Arielle is currently a fine arts student (Information Design). She loves taking pictures, watching movies, going to new places, hoarding books and collaborating with other people to make things. She would like to pursue a career in photography, film and design (yes all three) in the future.



    huhu i still watch old episodes with my sisters on youtube! TOTALLY SPIES 4EVER!!

    1. Oh my gosh really?? In its heyday, I would watch it with my older brother HAHA. I was so jealous of their compact thingies!