If there is something trendy and I missed it, I’d never be arrogant and say oh, I’m too busy for this or too smart for this; or this is too mainstream. I don’t ever want to grow into a grumpy old man who’s out of touch with the modern world, who wouldn’t at least try to understand what excites others.
Fortunately, I don’t have to force myself to stay in touch with pop culture. I’ve loved it my entire life. I fell in love with Western rock and pop music even when I was in Russia, not even a teenager. The early 1990s in Russia saw the launch of the first FM radio stations, and music played every waking hour on my Phillips Hi-Fi, my best-ever present from my parents, received on my twelfth birthday. I was literally learning English from the American radio deejay Casey Kasem! Moscow’s Radio Maximum aired his Top 40 show every Sunday morning, and I’d never miss it. The ritual was like going to church. Today I’m still an avid music lover and my tastes encompass many genres, artists, and eras.
With movies it’s similar. Of course, I have my favorites (any movie by Scorcese I can rewatch like I replay songs on my phone!) but I enjoy many genres. I can rewatch, with great pleasure, again and again, Titanic with my kids, or I can appreciate some violent and bizarre stuff like the House that Jack Built by Von Trier.
However, there is one pop culture genre that I never embraced.
I tried. Or maybe I didn’t.
Actually, I loved them when I first came to America, in the distant 1994–1995, and spent a year in Oklahoma. It was some really retro stuff that my host family watched in the evenings! I Love Lucy, Mary Tyler Moore. The more modern one (for that day) was The Wings sitcom.
Well, that was about it.
And it has nothing to do with me being or not being in the West. I lived and worked in Russia in my adult years. Everyone in Moscow would be talking about Games of Thrones and I’d be clueless.