Cliff Notes

I have a passing interest in popular culture. I like to know what’s going on, what’s a big deal at the moment, etc. Just enough to be able to say I’ve heard about it. It’s almost like being a trainspotter. What the train cars are used for is nearly irrelevant. They could be carrying ball bearings or brusselsprouts. They could be on their way to get melted down. It doesn’t matter. The thrill comes from being able to spot cars you know.

In spite of this, I really couldn’t care less about “Awards Season.” Golden Globes, People’s Choice, Academy Awards…big flying whoop. Perhaps I might care more if I felt that the opinions of those voting actually reflected any of my values, but it’s clear they don’t, as often as not. Most of the time I haven’t even seen the movies they’re voting on. And usually, when I have, I really can’t see what the fuss is about.

I care slightly more about the actors. Win or lose, they’ll be fine. They get to be seen, get to make a little news, get to further their careers by planting themselves in a chair for four hours. Good for them. We all have our particular rows to hoe in furthering our careers. Putting on an elaborate costume and going to a big—probably hot—hall and pretending to be excited about everything and everyone—even the people you can’t stand—for four hours sounds like work to me. At least when I have to spend four hours in a hot room it’s usually in more comfortable clothing and with nothing more to do than take a lot of notes.

Oh, there may be a few actors out there I’m more interested in than usual. Jennifer Lawrence seems to be one of them right now, though she’s starting to wear a bit thin. Mark Wahlberg, as you’ve probably noticed, is growing in my estimation nearly every time I hear about him. Paul Walker seemed like a nice guy and all. But for the most part I just want to know what’s putting them in the news this time and I’m good. Won a Best Actor/Actress award? Yay.

It’s kind of like the Superbowl, really. Do I know who is playing this year? Nope. Perhaps that’s not even decided yet, for all I know. But I’ll know by the time it comes around. I’ll know what the watercooler-chat commercials are by the time I get to work the day after. I’ll know the “important” details without ever having to take the time to actually watch the events that generate those details.

Perhaps that makes me the Cliff Notes on Pop Culture. Sure, why not.

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