I confess I spend far too much time on pop culture. I have no idea why I find the latest movies and TV shows, the red carpet looks, and nearly any award show endlessly fascinating. I can't tell you my kid's phone numbers without looking them up, but I can tell you all you need to know (and more) about Taylor Swift, her recent video, and all it's Easter eggs and disses of all who have crossed her. There is no article unread or video companion piece unwatched. So when one of my all time favorite pod casts, Pop Culture Happy Hour, posted an episode on the VMAs and Taylor Swift, of course I was all in.
The panelists were divided on what they thought, but one of them (a female) commented that "She has banging songs, but I don't like her because I don't like her feminism." There is something about that statement that bothers me. Here's why:
- When I am trying to figure out how I feel about something, or where to set my moral compass, pop culture is not where I turn. Isn't that an enormous amount of pressure for a music star to also have well thought out opinions about the world? No one, of any age, can have it all figured out perfectly, let alone someone whose every comment and out loud thought is recorded and reposted.
- To me, it's very dangerous to only listen, talk to or follow individuals that share your exact thoughts and opinions. You will start to believe that what you believe is what everyone believes, because everyone around you is saying the same thing as you.
This is something that I struggle with also - listening and having conversations with those outside of my lane, that don't agree with me 100%. One of my favorite writers, Jen Hatmaker, says this in her new book, Of Mess and Moxie:
"Why is this so hard? Staying reasonable and measured and respectful in the midst of charged conversations is a lost art. The way of our generation is outrage, offense, and polarization - our new common language. The Internet has made us casually offensive (because the repurcussions are mitigated) and quicker to speak. But dialogue is an activity of curiosity, cooperation, fear and conflict. This is love, and it is increasingly rare."
As these thoughts were assembling themselves into something coherent, I read an interview with Salman Rushdie (he has a new book out) in the Wall Street Journal: "I have to get out of the bubble...I have this urge to get on the road and try and have a look at these other Americas that are out there...you know, not composed entirely of people who agree with me."
There is some great writing along these lines. Check out these pieces from Dilbert creator Scott Adams and Mike Rowe. And you really should read Of Mess and Moxie. It has made me think, made me laugh out loud, and also includes recipes.