Conversations and Pop Culture

March 29, 2010

I’ve thought about writing this for a long time. I’m just going to try and get some thoughts down.

I am frustrated that conversations among friends seem to only be about sports or movies or TV. I originally wrote the previous sentence beginning with “I hate that…” but that is an Untruthitude. I have started just as many discussions about Brett Favre or Joss Whedon as I have asked questions about someone’s life. (If I’m honest, I would guess I’ve started far more conversations about sports or pop culture than I’ve asked real questions). Clearly, I don’t hate it. I enjoy the self-satisfied glow that comes from talking shared experiences–and that’s what sports and movies and tv and music are these days-shared experiences that you have separately but still together. It’s a way to have something in common without actually spending time together.

“What do I really want?”, you ask. (or, more likely, you ask “There’s still several hundred words beyond this?”) I want something real, something authentic. What I mean by that is I want to know my friends beyond their taste in movies and sports perspective. I want to know them and I want to be known myself. That sounds a bit creepy. Or somehow not “manly”. (as opposed to the rest of my life, where I am the Epitome of Manliness.)
I don’t know how else to explain it. I want to have relationships with people where our joy and struggles and ideas and plans are shared and discussed and dissected. I want to have peers I can go to for advice and for prayer. Obviously, my wife and I have this with each other. The problem, it could be argued, is we moved away from our friends; I’m not unaware of the irony. But these are feelings I felt just as strongly when I saw decade-long friends on a weekly basis. But I was too afraid to say anything. Don’t want to be the weird one.

The problem I have is I don’t know how to get around it.

The problem is I am a constant in these conversations.

The problem is I like thinking about pop culture. After most every episode of a current show I watch, I will check the updates on the AV Club’s page, somehow wanting and needing to take apart what I just saw. (what happened to just enjoying something for what it is? Is it a generational obsession to deconstruct? Furthermore, when I expand to a generational obsession, am I really just trying to take what I feel and plaster it farther? Furthermore, when I continue to ask questions, do I simply become paralyzed? Yes.)

In reality, the answer is simple; I have to take the risk. If I really want to know and share and be shared back with, I have to take the first step. It helps to have zero knowledge of March Madness this time of year; I can cut those conversations off at the pass. (“Can you believe West Virigina made it this round?” “Not a clue. So, how’s your relationship with your wife?”)

The problem with asking questions that you already know the answers to is, well, you already know the answer.

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