Keeping up with pop culture is a full-time job, and the obsession only brings derision – are there any rewards to being a fanboy?
As you sit on the train, bus, or underground on your way home from work, I would like you to do me a favour. Look out the window – here comes the Derren Brown part, where I dive into your mind and tell you exactly what you saw. What you saw were adverts for AT LEAST one TV show youíre interested in; AT LEAST one technology-related product that it seems like everyone on this planet owns; and finally the latest game (*cough* GTA *cough cough* FIFA *cough cough cough*) that, even though you may have never even played the previous one, youíre intrigued to play this new one yourself.†This isnít a dig at modern, in-your-face advertising. This is pop culture.
We can’t expect a letter from the Queen congratulating us on our day spent working through Game of Thrones
Itís something we are all guilty of indulging in. Devoting our time on reading all the Walking Dead comics before the next season of the show starts, all the while keeping up each week with Breaking Bad, mixed in with playing Borderlands 2, completing every little side mission the game has to offer, before purchasing FIFA 14 at the end of the week. Quite frankly, itís a full-time job to be a fanboy, and there are just not enough minutes in the day to do, well, our proper full-time jobs.
What are the rewards of being a fanboy? Hereís the sickening truth: there are none. Sure, thereís self-satisfaction of owning an iPhone like 90% of worldís population (this statistic is not a fact), or finally defeating that final level of Dead Space 2 that seems completely, unnecessarily hard, but how long does that self-praise last for? Itís not like we can expect a letter from the Queen congratulating us on our day well spent, sitting in our pj’s working through both seasons of Game of Thrones.
Adopting the role of fanboy isnít limited to the latest craze we would like to add to our pop culture collection. A recent outrageous celebrity stunt that has hit over a million views on YouTube, or the latest movie or TV episode that was a complete let down, all fulfil the criteria. So why do so many of us fall into this trap of wanting to dedicate hours of our life watching celebrities that we didnít even dedicate a minute of our thoughts to before?
Certain critics are still opposed to the message pop culture content is sending out to the public
Well, itís darn entertaining.†I may have felt a part of me die inside as I watched Miley Cyrus move around on the VMAs stage, in that kind of sexy way that makes you cringe and ask yourself, ďwhy the hell am I still watching this?Ē But it sure did entertain me (now it has become a necessity to release the inner Cyrus in me, and show the world my Ďtwerkingí moves on any dance floor).
However entertaining pop culture may be, it is a lifestyle choice that is constantly looked down upon. Certain critics are opposed to the message pop culture content is sending out to the public, most commonly to the younger generation. Whether itís offensive lyrics in the latest song that has the population singing in the shower, or the continuous amount of killing in the newly released video game. Guaranteed, with every release in the GTA series, the press will find some sort of real-life murder to relate to the game being the cause of.
Putting the negative aside, thereís a simple fact: being a fanboy is a lot harder than it seems. You hear your friends talking about the TV series American Horror Story, and now youíre stuck in a dilemma. You canít contribute to the conversation, as youíve never seen an episode. But then again, you donít want to be neglected from the discussion, all the while making sure you donít hear any important plot points. Thereís a new series starting next week? Great, Iíll catch up in time for that. There have already been two seasons? Iíll dedicate my weekend to watching them all.
We feel pressured to dedicate our time to pop culture in order to be accepted, to contribute, to bond
Being a fanboy is time-consuming. We feel pressured to dedicate our time in order to be accepted, to be able to contribute to conversations down the pub, or to new employees at work, in order to bond. You see a certain show or event trending on Twitter, and you canít help but want to know why itís trending every week. You need to experience how great it is for yourself. There are even shows such as Family Guy that base the majority of their laughs on pop culture references.
Pop culture is something none of us can get away from. After all, itís called “pop culture” for a reason, whether that be for a positive or negative reason. If it is something that you would rather get away from, then I have a solution for you: travel your way to the bottom of the sea, and join Patrick Star in his cosy home under a giant rock.
Featured image: AMC
Inset images: HBO; Rockstar