unapologetically a fan
I have many long-standing passions in my personal pop culture history, and I stopped apologizing for them many years ago. I have no shame in admitting my devotion to 70s top 40, 80s New Wave, and a certain member of a 90s boy band who now appears in tv and movies with great (albeit short-lived) frequency. I still believe it’s just not a good day without hearing the Bee Gees on the radio. My interests are deeply rooted, and they have come to define my very being. I call them “invisible strings”, the unseen cords that bind me to certain scenes from movies, specific songs from past decades, and beloved celebrities who may have never done one single thing worthy of an acting award. No matter how far I move from these beginning points, I am always drawn back to any one of them in the split second it takes to see a name on screen or a single chord on the radio. Invisible strings… just when I think I’ve moved past these interests, they snap me right back to center.
Imagine my surprise then at reading a recent Stephen King discourse on the very same subject. I feel validated! And I happily submit to this joy he describes. Unbridled, unapologetic passion for any number of “uncool” leanings. Thank you, Mr. King. I’ll never be cool, but it’s nice to know I don’t even have to try.
In the entertainment business we talk so much—books, music, movies, theater, blah blah blah—that it’s easy to forget why we came to the party in the first place. I got reminded the other day [watching] a video on YouTube. A customer, shopping in Best Buy, starts to move a little [to the song that is playing in the store]. He pops a hip. And then he starts to dance. Before long he’s really busting moves. For more than a minute the guy is giving it his best there in Best Buy, having the time of his life.
The crazy guy dancing in Best Buy, be he fake or fact, demonstrates the real purpose of these things we write about—to cause a sudden burst of happy emotion, a sudden rush to the head, the feet, and what may be the truest home of joy: a butt that just has to shake its happy self.
It’s easy—maybe too easy—to get caught up in serious discussions of good and bad, or to grade entertainment the way teachers grade school papers. Those discussions have their place, even though we know in our hearts that all such judgments—even of the humble art produced by the pop culture—are purely subjective. But artsy/intellectual discussions have little to do with Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects. This movie made virtually no one’s top 10 list except mine, but I’ll never forget some exuberant moviegoer in the front row shouting: “This movie KICKS A**!” I felt the same way. Because it did.
I’m not talking about guilty pleasures here. Guilty pleasures aren’t even overrated; the idea is meaningless, an elitist concept invented by smarmy intellectuals with nothing better to do. I’m talking about pure happiness that strikes like a lightning bolt out of George Strait’s blue clear sky (another sacred occasion of joy for me). I don’t know if these things are art, and I don’t really care. All I know is that they make me want to laugh and dance in the aisle at Best Buy.
And that’s enough.
excerpted from Entertainment Weekly