Be forewarned: I talk during movies.
Not in the theater, of course. You won't hear me blabbing to my neighbor, answering a call on my cell phone, or yelling back to the screen ("Don't go in there!" "That's the wrong door!" "I loved you in Fried Green Tomatoes!") while in a public place. Heck, I choose my concession candy based partly on what can be unwrapped most quietly, without drawing undue attention to the box of food coloring and birdbath-sized cup of corn syrup sitting in my (rapidly expanding) lap.
My mother raised me right. You know, to feel appropriate levels of self-consciousness.
But at home? I'm a chatterbox. If you want to watch TV at my place, be prepared for ongoing audio commentary. I also tend to offer an opinion on every song on the radio, insert verbal footnotes when sharing the latest tabloid scandal, and read every celebrity tweet backwards to double-check for satanic messages. (Just kidding on that last one. Everything Chris Brown writes is horrible enough when read as intended.)
Why? Because entertainment isn't just - uh, entertainment. It's important stuff. Really. Everything we watch on television, listen to on an iPod, read on celebrity blogs and share on social media is (for better or worse) a reflection of the world that created it. Our society's values, priorities, prides, prejudices, greatest dreams and dirty little secrets are all encoded there: waiting to be discovered, and discussed. Sometimes you just need an equally pop culture-obsessed friend to help you unscramble the static and get the conversation started.
That, I hope, is where Media Remix comes in. Yeah, I want us to talk about the hallucinogenic eye candy in the latest Lady Gaga video, but I'm more interested in critiquing how she condescends to the gay community (ooh, how contrary!) than in discussing how super-chic her new Moldy Cheese dress is. Sure, I want to chat about last night's verdict on American Idol, but I'm also intrigued by the way those contrived contestant interviews and selective editing choices promoted certain American Values at the expense of others. And I'm totally happy to ride the current wave of '90s nostalgia by revisiting favorite movies, music, and pop culture moments from yesteryear. (Who can quote Kevin Williamson and Kevin Smith scripts like scripture? This guy right here, thank you very much.) But I want us to discuss all the interesting ways in which older stuff has influenced current entertainment, not revel in the newly retro just for the sake of it.
No matter what your favorite show, celebrity fixation, or political party, I bet you'll agree with me that media plays an important role in influencing how people think, feel, and act. After all, as a wise prophet once said, "Pop culture is the politics of the 21st century." Okay, that wasn't a prophet; it was a short-lived character in the slasher sequel Scream 3. But it's pretty brilliant, right?
If that made you roll your eyes, feel free to change the channel. But if it made you feel like talking, join me on the couch. I saved you a seat.
[Pictured: Author on the couch from Will & Grace. The set is now enshrined in a library at Emerson College, show creator Max Mutchnick's alma mater. Note: Objects in this photo may appear several years younger and thinner than they are.]
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