It’s weird, starting to write daily about popular culture. In a hilarious twist, it’s taken something I normally consume regularly and without much thought but interest and pleasure and turned it into a kind of work. The “better get online and see what’s up, I’ve got writing to do!” kind of work. Something similar happened when I started managing the Facebook and Twitter at work. Never thought I’d get to the “damn, I gotta go cruise Facebook, how lame” stage so soon. But at the same time, it leads to a new, more interesting engagement. And one step past that, it’s an outlet to engage personally with the goings on, to comment, to write, to contribute my voice and break through consumption into commentary and sharing. It’s not out-and-out creation (see: High Fideilty, critic’s dilemma), but it’s a start.
It’s also led to a funny kind of paranoia: I swear I just reviewed a jacket on my hilariously under-read (aka barely read at all) fashion blog, and now it’s popping up on an industry site. And are they stealing my phrasing? The answer to the second is clearly no, especially ’cause biting fashion bro lingo is how I started my blog, but the first part is kinda cool. It’s being part of the wave. Sure, there’s no nobility in following, but this is a little different. It’s taking that next step and realizing you’re headed the same direction as other people. Which is definitely encouraging, especially if it’s people whose taste you respect.
Some fun examples: yesterday I covered Jamie xx’s new music video, and so did Esquire. We had similar sentiments, too! Naturally, I prefer my own piece, but that’s only ’cause it’s
better mine. Better yet, last Friday I posted a talk by Ta-Nehisi Coates, mentioning how I liked reading his work. Today? Boom! Announced recipient of MacArthur Genius Grant. Everyone was talking about What A Time To Be Alive, and it was heartening to see my sentiments echoed by major music publications—even if I punked out on publishing them.
I’m not writing this to claim I’m suddenly on the forefront of all things music and movies and pop culture. I saw something vastly different in the Father John Misty covers of Ryan Adams’ covers of Taylor Swift’s 1989 than anyone else. And I don’t have much interesting to say on sports. So yeah, even if I hit a couple, they might just be the broad strokes.
It’s not all about being first, though. It’s about being unique. Insightful. John Caramanica wrote a much better article that I could about it—check it out.
However, I’m enjoying trying to be out near the head of the pack. In the chase. It’s a fun feeling, and it’s encouragement to keep going. Because eventually what it means is breaking out—having the voice that sets the pace. Helps shape conversation. That would be huge. That’s a career’s worth of work, but it’s honestly what I’m trying to put in. In the meantime, I’m developing my voice, my opinions, my body of work. But it’s nice once and a while to ride the wave, you know?