Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pop Culture: A Deeper Meaning

When I first embarked upon this enterprise you are reading I did so with no provisions, no charts, and no sense of a destination. Armed only with a vague sense of purpose (enlightertainment!) and an abiding love for the ephemeral things of our world's pop culture I set out in search of something that would give meaning and purpose to my life, something that would challenge me, stun and amaze my friends and enemies alike, and eventually settle me into some kind of role as a humanitarian.

975 official blog postings, 1 spin-off blog, and nearly 20 months later not only am I no closer to finding my destination, I still have no idea why I left in the first place. It may be that having no direct sense of purpose is what keeps me interested; perhaps if I discovered it I'd quit. Or maybe that's just an excuse.

In the past couple of weeks my readers may have noticed the number of postings has trailed off. Certainly the number of comments I've received, while never exactly a rushing torrent, has dwindled from a trickle to whatever it is that's less than a trickle. Condensation?

I take the full responsibility for that, since if my posts were interesting I'd be getting comments, regardless. So while my posts are interesting to me, they obviously do nothing for anyone else. Nor are they, often, connected to what most people think about as pop culture. This is not a criticism of any person or persons specifically (you know who you are). It may be because it's summer, or it may be for some unknown reason, I don't know.

What I do know is, I spend alot of time alone, and when you spend alot of time alone your Self looms very large in your awareness of the world. Whereas I understand intellectually that I am but one of more than 6 billion humans on Earth, I cannot understand on a day-to-day basis why I have not managed to attract a cult of personality around me like some other bloggers I will not name.

Mainly, I guess, because despite my raging egomania, I can see the downside in feeding that, and so have actively eschewed such devotion. In addition to my many gifts as a person I have developed an even greater number of faults to chase people away by the most efficient means possible.

The Pop Culture Institute is about to begin a very interesting time; between August 5th and New Year's Day I plan to publish as many posts as I have done in the first 20 months I've been up and running. This is a massive effort, especially considering that much more of this new content will be original than is currently the case.

Once again, it seems my ambition is about to get the better of me.

What most compels me to discuss and examine pop culture is how it shows us to each other. All of it, the good and the bad, all rolled into a yowling, amusing, outrageous mess. I can learn as much about Japan from a biography of Hirohito as I can from a single episode of The Fuccons. That is the gift I'd like to share with the world. That and an encyclopedic knowledge of people and events which borders on the freakish.

Growing up, we moved around alot, and I have pretty much always been self-loathing, so I've never really felt like I had any friends. To a certain extent I still feel that way today. Even when I intellectually know that there are people who love me (and always have been) I still spend the preponderance of my time alone. Partly this is by design.

But on a recent day-off I called every number in my phone looking for someone to spend an hour with me, and not one person was available. I sent emails, wrote to everyone I know on Facebook - the same. It's difficult not to take that personally, yet I didn't. Instead, I spent the evening in front of YouTube, doing isometric exercises and catching up on old episodes of Open All Hours.

Those characters on TV, sad as it is, they seem more like my friends than my actual friends do. I'm absolutely certain that I am not alone in this feeling, even though I know nobody else but me would ever risk looking lame by admitting it. It makes me feel utterly disloyal in saying so, and since one of the things I pride myself on is my loyalty, it's also a good self-loathing dose of betrayal as well.

The point was driven home by an email I got from Matthew, who for more than a decade was the singular object of my worship. Matthew was everything I was not: popular, attractive, outgoing, and could score cock in a convent. I happened to make an innocent comment about how unlucky in love I've been and I got back a very sharp reply. It's been three days now since I last heard from him.

I don't see why it's wrong for me to want to be liked, or why it's such a terrible thing to want more than anything to find someone to be affectionate with, yet to be utterly incapable of attracting that very thing to me. But the simple fact is, I am alone in that way that we are all, ultimately, alone. It is incumbent upon me to not dwell on that, but to make the most of it.

Mine is a life designed for the sharing of knowledge and insight, and that begins at the core of my being. If it isn't clear that this is also the purpose of this blog, as the nexus of my life's work, then I have failed myself at the outset.

Fortunately, failure is just success that has yet to be identified. As such, it's just one of many successes awaiting me down the months and years to come...
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