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14 May 2012 @ 08:00 pm
I've been taking a hiatus from popular culture, to the extent possible without going on a physical retreat.

I mean, I'm already pretty distant from mainstream/popular culture. I watch TV in spurts, don't see a lot of movies, mainly read super lefty news ... but even so, cutting it out leaves a noticeable space in my schedule, and in my mind. I've also been taking a vacation from news in general, as a way to get some perspective and regain my equilibrium after feeling so bruised by the war on women this spring. It has been awesome.

A big part of me feels guilty for not keeping up with what's happening. I don't want to be one of those uninformed Americans who can't locate Canada on a map, or who doesn't know what's going on in the world. On the other hand, taking a break for a month is not going to mean I miss the big picture when I tune back in.

Importantly, I think this is making a positive difference. By getting some distance from popular/mainstream culture, I'm able to externalize its influence rather than internalize it. Rather than feeling shitty about not living up to some imagined standard of beauty, I can see the implicit messaging all over the place that carries that information and simply notice that it's there, and be aware that it's a larger pattern, without letting it into me. Rather than feel dehumanized by the political discussion of women as chattel, I can simply feel outraged by it.

Why have we created such a bad system for ourselves?
I'm feeling: tiredtired
Elizabeth Hunterlillibet on May 15th, 2012 01:07 am (UTC)
I've done this a couple of times, when I realized that they simply weren't going to tell me anything I wanted to know.

These days I find that having NPR's headlines on my LJ RSS feed does the trick for news--I have a sense of what's going on, but I rarely click on a link to read the whole story. Just to let you know that when you're ready to come back, there are middle-steps.

For popular culture, I read Entertainment Weekly. It helps me feel like I know what's going on--to recognize that song on the radio, or follow the conversation before rehearsal--without actually having to consume any of it. And their book reviews are surprisingly good!

In any case, I hope you continue to enjoy the hiatus and find benefit in it.
blkblk on May 15th, 2012 12:29 pm (UTC)
Rather than feel dehumanized by the political discussion of women as chattel, I can simply feel outraged by it.

I just realized that I walk too fine of a line on this some days. I should take your example and experiment with breaks as well.
drwexdrwex on May 15th, 2012 03:07 pm (UTC)
Because we don't know any better?
Also, we're fighting a very strong genetic programming. I was just reading a study about how male babies cause different mother's milk to be produced than girl babies.

The deck is stacked against us from before we're born, I fear. That doesn't mean one ought not try, but it no longer surprises me that it's a constant uphill and neverending struggle.
David Policardpolicar on May 15th, 2012 03:24 pm (UTC)

I think I would do better to do this formally, as you describe. In practice what I end up doing instead is hiding from it without quite owning up to the fact that that's what I'm doing.

> Why have we created such a bad system for ourselves?

This is a marvelous question.
I think about it a lot.
Relatedly, what would a good system look like?
born from jets!!!catness on May 15th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
I'm never all that on top of popular culture anyway, but I do have to stay the fuck away from feminist blogs if I ever want to get any work done. Otherwise I am all RAGE RAGE RAGE WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE and that is not productive for anybody. So I have to moderate my intake so I can actually be a useful and thoughtful human and ally. The last few years' injustices have been hard to ignore.