Pop Gluttony

I am choosy about what I eat, but continue to chow down on an unfettered pop culture diet as the last great excess that won’t kill me.

With all the talk of lousy healthcare, childhood obesity and adult-onset diabetes in America, a healthy diet and an “everything in moderation” approach seems like the only rational lifestyle choice one can make these days to avoid ending up with either a bum ticker or just a really big bum. So, some time back, I just said goodbye to the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, smorgasbords, endless pasta combos and dessert bars.

But while I am choosy about what I eat, I continue to chow down on an unfettered pop culture diet of movies, TV shows, video games, books and music because I can. Pop culture may be the last great excess that won’t kill you.

My excessive pop culture diet started in my teenage years when -- throughout my adolescence and early adulthood, and continuing until just a year or so ago -- I could digest several new albums each month without outwardly showing the caloric results of my musical gluttony. Then my metabolism slowed down.

I imagine that’s how I managed to outgrow several hard drives, CD holders and even a 160 gigabyte iPod. The music and movie binges at Best Buy and iTunes started to show, and I found myself having to shop for extra large media storage devices that one could only describe as “husky”. Now, while some of my friends strut around with lean portable devices that hold enough pop culture for them, I eye the two tetrabyte Western Digital MyBooks and wonder when I’ll need to upgrade.

Sure, I’ve tried to cut back and get rid of some of the pop stuff I no longer need, but as soon as I delete something like TLC’s CrazySexyCool, the space is immediately eaten up by Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster or another two-disc, limited edition release. Each time I delete an episode of Dr. Who on my DVR, it is replaced by one of Caprica. I gave away my trade paperback of Kevin Smith’s Batman comic Cacophony and then picked up the single issues of Kevin Smith’s Batman comic, The Widening Gyre.

My bad pop diet extends beyond the entertainment I take home and hoard; it also affects what I consume while out with friends, or even on my own. Summer used to be the time when I’d make certain allowances for spending a few nights each week in movie theaters and in concert halls, trying to see every new blockbuster released and catch every band I’d heard of that was swinging through town. But then I started to care about Oscar-nominated films and Grammy-award winners.

Spending $12.50 per movie ticket to see films I wouldn’t normally care much about, like this year’s Academy Award contenders An Education, A Single Man, or The Last Station seems reasonable, even though times are tight and it’d be cheaper to just watch something at home.

The late night dining of The Daily Show or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Let 4 Dead 2 on Xbox Live, and the constant snacking of TV in the gym or at bars, YouTube on my phone and multiple blogs at the office fill in the time when I’m not having a “real” entertainment meal. Even brief moments on an elevator or in a cab, or while on the phone with a friend, is spent playing “Doodle Jump” and “Pocket God”. And if texting counts as pop culture, then my gluttony literally knows no bounds with my unlimited message plan.

So while I have become conscientious about the food I put into my body, I am surrounded by pop and chow down endlessly. It’s hard not to when there is so much to consume it is like a bottomless KFC Famous Bowl of entertainment. Further, much like when I’ve eaten a Famous Bowl, there is honestly little concern for what’s good for me and even what tastes yummy. After all, if I was all that worried about nutritional value or flavor, how could I explain eating up Lil Wayne’s Rebirth, the Jennifer’s Body Blu-ray and When in Rome (sorry Kristen Bell, I love you dearly but you can do better) all in the same week? I doubt even an intensive pop culture colonic could cleanse my system of that particular toxic trifecta.

But I’m OK with having clogged cultural arteries because, while it’s a good practice to treat the human body like a temple -- and to keep certain foods from ever being offered up in that house of worship – I’ve come to think there’s no real harm if my pop culture body is viewed as a tiki bar where the party never ends and the attendees are questionable.

My entertainment diet may suck, but at least there are no healthcare costs to worry about. So eat up, folks, since pop culture is the only thing we’re still able to over indulge in without dying as a result. Enjoy the excess and binge as much as you like; you may rot your brain, but not your body.






Greta Gerwig's Adaptation of Loneliness in Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women'

Greta Gerwig's film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women strays from the dominating theme of existential loneliness.


The Band's Discontented Third LP, 1970's 'Stage Fright', Represented a World Braving Calamity

Released 50 years ago this month, the Band's Stage Fright remains a marker of cultural unrest not yet remedied.


Natalie Schlabs Starts Living the Lifetime Dream With "That Early Love" (premiere + interview)

Unleashing the power of love with a new single and music video premiere, Natalie Schlabs is hoping to spread the word while letting her striking voice be heard ahead of Don't Look Too Close, the full-length album she will release in October.


Rufus Wainwright Makes a Welcome Return to Pop with 'Unfollow the Rules'

Rufus Wainwright has done Judy Garland, Shakespeare, and opera, so now it's time for Rufus to rediscover Rufus on Unfollow the Rules.


Jazz's Denny Zeitlin and Trio Get Adventurous on 'Live at Mezzrow'

West Coast pianist Denny Zeitlin creates a classic and adventurous live set with his long-standing trio featuring Buster Williams and Matt Wilson on Live at Mezzrow.


The Inescapable Violence in Netflix's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui)

Fernando Frías de la Parra's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui) is part of a growing body of Latin American social realist films that show how creativity can serve a means of survival in tough circumstances.


Arlo McKinley's Confessional Country/Folk Is Superb on 'Die Midwestern'

Country/folk singer-songwriter Arlo McKinley's debut Die Midwestern marries painful honesty with solid melodies and strong arrangements.


Viserra Combine Guitar Heroics and Female Vocals on 'Siren Star'

If you ever thought 2000s hard rock needed more guitar leads and solos, Viserra have you covered with Siren Star.


Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts Honor Their Favorite Songs With "Oh No" (premiere)

Ryan Hamilton's "Oh No" features guest vocals from Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, and appears on Nowhere to Go But Everywhere out 18 September.


Songwriter Shelly Peiken Revisits "Bitch" for '2.0' Album (premiere)

A monster hit for Meredith Brooks in the late 1990s, "Bitch" gets a new lease on life from its co-creator, Shelly Peiken. "It's a bit moodier than the original but it touts the same universal message," she says.


Leila Sunier Delivers Stunning Preface to New EP via "Sober/Without" (premiere)

With influences ranging from Angel Olsen to Joni Mitchell and Perfume Genius, Leila Sunier demonstrates her compositional prowess on the new single, "Sober/Without".


Speed the Plough Members Team with Mayssa Jallad for "Rush Hour" (premiere)

Caught in a pandemic, Speed the Plough's Baumgartners turned to a faraway musical friend for a collaboration on "Rush Hour" that speaks to the strife and circumstance of our time.


Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."


The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.


Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.


The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.


Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.


King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.