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"Shorts, Outtakes and Rants"

Most weeks I write a column for my paper; occasionally my daughter writes one. Usually they're focused at local issues, but every now and then I come up with one that I think Spearfish Lake Tales readers would find interesting, so I post them on the Spearfish Lake Tales Message Board. Since I've been neglecting "Shorts, Outtakes and Rants" recently, I decided to repost a few of them here, like this one. I hope you enjoy it! -- Wes

Popular Culture

June 17, 2015

The older I get, the more I find that I'm increasingly out of touch with popular culture -- and the less it bothers me.

I was leafing through Time magazine last night, and as I got back toward the back where they talk about the cultural stuff, I found myself glancing over headlines about this actor or that singer and thinking, "Who the Sam Hill is that?" I never heard of those people and probably am just as glad.

Now it's no secret that I don't watch much TV -- I've ranted about it for years -- but I'm beginning to percieve that I've missed some shows I probably would have enjoyed, or at least would like to have had a better idea of what happens. I'm thinking, The Mad Men, The Big Bang Theory, Orange is the New Black, and maybe one or two others. I've never seen a minute of any of them and the odds are likely that I probably never will. If it weren't for Deadliest Catch and occasionally the weather report, it seems unlikely that I would watch any TV at all.

I can hardly mention poplular culture without bringing up the Karadashians, who seem to be the epitome of mindless seeking of publicity for the sake of seeking publicity. As I have said before, "Why should I care?" What that family does is their own business, and if they want to do something off the wall, it's their decision to make, I guess, so long as it harms no one else. But while it's their business it's really none of my business, no matter how much they may want to make it otherwise.

Times have changed, I guess, and I haven't kept up with the change. I was at "fun run" the other day, and couldn't help but notice that several racers of both sexes seemed to have their smartphones stuck in their pockets. Now I suppose there is some legitimate reason for that -- there might be an app for heart rate, or they may be listening to music on their headphones to help stave off the boredom of running, or maybe something else. I can't help but notice that some of these kids and their phone are inseparable.

The other day I was in a restaurant and saw a couple of kids clearly out on a date. They both had their phones in front of them and were eagerly texting away, and I didn't see any evidence of them talking to each other, unless they were texting back and forth, which I wouldn't put past them.

I don't have a smartphone. I barely have a cell phone and actually rather resent having to have the thing these days, since I sometimes get testy about being interrupted by phone calls, especially while I'm driving. I don't like to talk on the phone when I'm driving and will pull to the side of the road if I get a call, but I keep seeing people driving down the road, yapping on their phones and not paying much attention to what they're doing.

I think someone has sent my cell phone a text two or three times, but I've never answered one. Frankly, I find it easier to talk on the phone in the first place. I'd prefer to not even have the phone at all, but everyone else in the family has overruled me.

I'm old-fashioned in other ways, too. I don't tweet -- I looked at Twitter once years ago and saw that it was pretty mindless. From what I pick up elsewhere, it's gotten worse. Facebook, I think I still have a Facebook page, but it's been years since I did anything with it and I never did much. I rarely look at people's Facebook pages since I have no desire to look at photos of what they had for breakfast. While I like cute cat photos to a reasonable extent, there is a limit -- after all with all the cats we have around the house, I prefer the real thing.

I could go on and on, but why bother? I'm behind the times and falling back, and I know it. Maybe that's one of the pleasures of being old -- being able to gripe about modern this or that. It's certainly one of the rights you get from being older.

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