Pop Life Culture ~ Inspiration

I get very inspired by a lot of celebrities, musicians, dancers and film stars.  I am from a family of dancers and dreamers and my grandmother and mother both love entertainment.  Poor people know all too well, growing up as an only child I felt it was my job to entertain my mother and help her be in good spirits.  She loved it when I danced or flipped (I was a gymnast) and as I was the only kid, I got to hoard the attention at home (especially when I was younger) of any and all adults around.  Growing up over the years we would have great fun by quoting movie  lines to each other – often as words to live by.  “A frog’s gotta eat.”  Do you have any clue what movie that’s from?  Kermit in the Muppet Movie! the original.

This section is dedicated to the strong women I came from and to all those that I am ever inspired by, I love to be inspired and occasionally distracted.  It is going to be a mix of it all!

 

America is a Nation of pop culture addicts, we live in “pop” culture, we are a part of it in our celebrities, icons, food, products and entertainment media.  We learn songs from the repeated commercials that advertisers are stuffing down our throats, trying to get us to buy the new fad, new trend, new “it” product of the moment.  We are constantly bombarded by images telling us why we are not good enough the way we naturally are, why we need to cover up, mask, be like that and look like this.

As an only child and a turn-key kid, the television was a familiar friend, it was a companion and still is today, I turn the t.v. on an old friend is with me.  Very fortunately for me my mother was well aware of the machine and taught me about it early on.  “The machine” being the companies, corporations, conglomerates, society and media that say, “your life is crap until you buy buy buy this product and use it everyday.”  When you get this one more thing, you will fit in and be “happy.”  If you are very young you may think that things do make you happy and maybe they do distract you, show you something or allow you to feel a new way but the feeling you have is coming from within you, it is not a product of this item that can be bought and sold.  You do not “need” anything outside of you to allow you to feel good about yourself on the inside.  What allows us to feel good about ourselves is how we think and feel about ourselves – it is not outside of us.  All of this being said, being a poor person growing up in this great country, all we have is what we can see for free (or at a minimal costs on basic cable), the music we hear on the radio, the commercials in between, our sports shows, our political arena, our cultures of holidays and food.  We over eat because that is what we do, we can all be rich for a day by eating rich, fattening, heavy foods.  We watch television in between and it keeps telling us what we don’t have and need for a semblance of happiness.

When I was a little girl (from as early as I can remember) my mother would watch t.v. with me and during the commercials she would ask me to play the game, the game was- what are they selling us?  So it was fun growing up to look at commercials, know they are trying to snow ball me and “sell” their items.  It was fun because some of the commercials it is hard to tell, they are open to interpretation.  I think it helped me develop this critical eye while allowing me to stay objective about ads and marketing.  It helped me as a little tiny girl be prepared for being tempted and to know that my temptation itself meant that the machine was winning and participating in it is a choice.

In the 1970’s I was 2-12 years old and it was a fun time for television.  I grew up watching fantasy and old black white movies or the saturday afternoon matinee.  In those days there were only about 8 channels altogether we had the big regular ones:  ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and then the UHF channels and that was it.  If you didn’t like what was on television and you got loud, your parents sent you outside to play.  Back then we had what we call, an imagination.  I wonder what kids do today, do they even get to exercise their creativity?  Do they have imaginations anymore?  We read books in the summer, rode bikes, climbed trees and the phone was tethered to the wall with a short cord.  If you had more than one television it was a big deal.  Today we have one in every room, we even have some we don’t even use.

It is very interesting to see our disposable pop culture play out in reality t.v. shows- you may say they are fabricated and sure, the circumstances may be manufactured but the people reacting are real, this is a real glimpse in to what the lives of actual Americans are like.  Take a good long look, it is a scary reality of drama, bullying, competition, a lack of boundaries, manners and respect.  Come out of denial and face that this is what people are really like in our culture right now.  Ignoring it won’t address it or make it go away, if you are not happy with the current situation, change your mode of being.  I think it is a very telling glimpse of what we care about in our current can’t get enough, must have it all, disposable culture.  It is sad, it is superficial and lonely even.  Culture is reflecting the emptiness we feel, the emotional un-availability that we all continue to participate in.  Use your choices wisely and know that every product you use, everything you purchase affects the global community we are all a part of now. The world gets smaller everyday!

I grew up on so many television shows that helped me to define and shape my reality from the images I was seeing.  Here is a running list of shows I watched growing up (in no particular order (yet, will be chronological order at the time of when I saw if for the first time).  A lot of these shows I saw in syndication).

 

Television Series

Sesame Street starting at weeks old in 1968,

A word about Sesame Street:  My mom began putting me in front of Sesame Street at 6 weeks old (it was her chance to get a daily shower in) and I think it helped me to think very abstractly and visually.  I tell her it made a difference in how my mind works, maybe it is why I see so many exploding colors and patterns in design, I don’t know.  They sure do talk about being kind, helping your neighbor, co-operation, sharing and caring with friends and family.  Thank you, sesame street!

Bewitched on air 1968-1972 (I saw earlier episodes (in 1964 the series started and I saw the earlier ones in syndication when I was older from ’62-68 and then all over again!),

Love American Style on Air 1969-1974 (mom, I still remember the theme song! LOL),

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,

Dark Shadows,

M.A.S.H on Air 1972-1983,

I Dream of Jeanie,

Happy Days 1974-1984,

Bionic Woman on Air 1976-1978,

Charlie’s Angles on Air 1976-1980,

Soap on Air 1977-1981,

Taxi on Air 1978-1983

 

 

Celebrities, Characters

In the Order I Write them here:

Lady Gaga (videos)

I became very inspired at the end of 2010 when I first saw the video of the Manifesto by Gaga.  I am thrilled that young people are standing up, speaking out about ending the bullying in this great Nation of ours.  I am not crazy about the use animal skins, furs and meat dress she wore… I love the passion behind it and impetus (horror, awareness & comedy genres) but it is time we stop bullying across the board.  Thank you for standing up for LGBT youth to be a role model of what self-respect and acceptance looks like.

Oprah

For twenty years I watched Oprah.  In fact as a turn-key kid my companion was always the television.  I feel like I grew up knowing Oprah, she made it okay to talk about abuse openly.  Well Donahue started it (at my age) and she picked up where he left off on the talk show circuit.  They probably started in the 1950’s but I am not a t.v. history buff.  I watched Phil Donahue and I was fascinated to hear about what the LGBT community was up against and Oprah came along and opened the abuse man-of-worms.  Thank god she did!  It helped us get in touch with our feelings socially and it made it okay to begin to discuss issues more openly.

Colin Quinn

I miss his show, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn-it was the smartest, funniest thing on t.v. so of course they took it off the air after a few short years!

Chelsea Handler

Thank god for her E show(s), this is on my DVR every morning for my current viewing pleasure!  Thank you for the laughs.

 

Films

My mom took me to movies my entire life.  I spent two years contemplating what I would do in different situations when my boyfriend moved in with each other, as we talked about wanting to start a family.  I decided many things over those two years but surprisingly I found it important to note some movies that I grew up.  There are many films that have influenced me or touched me in some way.  This may end up being a lengthy section.

1968:  2001 A Space Odyssey- this was the first movie she took me to and I slept the whole time.

1971 Harold and Maude- which I saw again later at thirteen and loved this film!  Great to see love spark in two free spirits!

1975 The Exorcist (out in ’73) I saw this movie in ’75 on HBO by myself and was scared out of my mind for three nights… sleeping on the living room sofa!

1977 Star Wars- we saw this movie ten times that summer.

1978 Grease- this one she dropped me off about ten times that summer – cheap baby sitting!  And the kiddies loved it.  Cant do that today – I would not turn my back on a child in today’s society.

1977-1980 Rocky Horror Picture Show- (it came out in ’75)- she would take me to see this movie with her in the summertime over two or three summers.  I watch this film on DVD around every holiday.  I can actually (practically) recite the entire movie.  Once she brought in (an old-timey) cassette recorder and recorded the movie and live audience which I then listened to until it dissolved about fifteen years later.  I would like Susan Sarandon to know she was a heroine in a movie that shaped my life, I still bond with my mother over and I watch at every holiday throughout the Season… Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas without fail – it would not be a holiday without it.  Singing to the music, laughing and cooking together as a family acting out the bits.  This movie more than any other (second to the Muppet Movie) has helped to shape my life and sensibilities.

1979 Hair- still love this movie, music, freedom and hippies, what more could anyone else ever want?  I watch this DVD around any holiday I feel like or anytime I want to be cheered up.

Babe

The Muppet Movie (Original)

Ben Hur

It’s a Wonderful Life

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