Just like literally every single one of you, I was enthralled by last month’s 2017 Golden Gabe Awards. And though I doubt I could get Stefon and Seth Meyers to show up to my awards show, I couldn’t help but start to tabulate in my own brain what movies, music, television, and books I would pass out awards to this past year. And while I feel like I participated in culture a decent amount in 2017, I was perturbed to realize that most of the things I experienced were not actually from 2017, but years past. It turns out I am not as hip to the jive as I used to be.
Don’t get me wrong—for the most part, I am super psyched about getting old. I want the discounts and the years of experience. I want people to be extra amused when I say funny or surprising things. But one thing that worries me about getting old is getting to the point where I decide to stick with what I know I like—certain albums, movies, TV shows, and such—and not make an effort to see what new things the world has to offer.
Thankfully, I’m not to that point yet, but spending 2017 engaged with things primarily from 2014-2016 is a slippery slope.
Case in point: I was about to reference the fact that each year, Stephen King makes a “best of” list that is just the best of what he read/watched/listened to, and not necessarily things that actually came out that year. But I just checked and APPARENTLY he hasn’t done that since 2012. (But even if he did, Stephen King can get away with being behind on pop culture—he creates some of the culture, which is understandably time-consuming, and, well, he’s a lot older than me.)
If I take a look back on what I read last year that was actually released in 2017 (excluding books read for work), I only have three titles to nominate. In my defense, I do a lot of reading for work, and in 2017 I probably read the more books from 2018 than any other year, so at least I’m ahead of the game.
But in other categories, I don’t have many solid excuses. If I had to give my top five movies of 2017, The Circle would have to be on the list, because I only saw five movies released in 2017. And no one should have The Circle on a top five movie list. But I also saw Moana for the first time! And Moonlight! Just, you know, months and months after everyone else.
My problem partially stems from spending more time interacting with other people’s experiences of culture than I spend engaging with it myself. As you may have noticed, I love reading “Best Of” lists and I frequently listen to podcasts like Pop Culture Happy Hour in which they discuss things I haven’t seen/read/listened to and call it a day. That way if someone asks me about it, I have something to say—it’s just not my own thought.
But I’m a little too young to be so old.
I guess I better go get me one of those jazzy newfangled fidget spinners everyone’s been talking about.
Catherine Kramer (’14) has a degree in English and works in publishing. Her continued existence is made possible by grace, warm hugs, and iced chai lattes.