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Archive for December 3rd, 2020

Out of Touch

Most people who know me, friend and foe alike, are impressed or even intimidated by my encyclopedic memory.  And though I do indeed seem to have more memory space and better recall than most, I honestly think the apparent effect is boosted by my not devoting much memory space to popular ephemera.  No, that’s not strong enough; it’s more truthful to say that I’m astonishingly ignorant of popular culture, at least of the past four decades.   As I’ve often said, I stopped watching network television in 1980, and truth be told I was losing interest in it for several years before that, so I never watched a lot of the ’70s fluff such as The Love Boat that my younger siblings enjoyed.  For the next two decades I watched PBS and a few cable or independent stations, and by the turn of the century I had mostly stopped watching that, too.  Furthermore, I disliked TV news from time I was old enough to form an opinion about it (11 or 12 maybe?) and have only ever got my news from text sources.  Once I started being able to afford my own entertainment equipment in the mid-’80s, it was rare that I just turned on media (for “background noise”) that I wasn’t actively consuming; that’s probably largely due to my ADD, which makes it difficult to impossible to concentrate on reading or writing unless the room is fairly quiet.

The result of all this is, a lot of names and terms and phrases, etc, which most people would recognize might as well be drawn from medieval Chinese textbooks as far as I’m concerned.  Earlier this year I made a series of self-deprecating jokes on Twitter about my inability to recognize the various names associated with the various Trump administration scandals: “Lindsey Graham…wasn’t he in an ’80s sitcom?” or “Why are people complaining about Stephen Miller?  His music isn’t that bad.”  “Ooh, I know Mnuchin; that’s one of the little people in The Wizard of Oz!” and so on.  Last week, one of my gents texted me with something about bubbles and surges which I figured probably had more to do with COVID than with soup-making, but I wasn’t totally sure.  And in response to my query, an online friend said I was probably better off not knowing why Trumpaloons were making what appeared to be references to Ray Harryhausen’s last movie.  I suspect it does give me a bit of an “absent-minded professor” vibe, but c’est la vie; judging by the distress a lot of the stuff I don’t know seems to cause people, I think I’m better off keeping my head filled with facts, names, and even trivia that are important to me rather than letting all and sundry strew whatever rubbish they have on hand all over my mental front yard.

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