Educating Myself

How do you teach a class that uses pop culture as material when you are a privileged white woman whose knowledge of pop culture is mostly limited to Agents of SHIELD and Orphan Black? I like to blame my parents for my life-long ignorance of popular culture. But I’d like to credit them too.

Their ban on Saturday morning cartoons and soap operas, the facts that my father’s capacity for learning new songs ended in 1946 (some kind of brain injury?) and that my mother listened solely to classical music, and my father’s hatred of movies all culminated in my having very good faking skills when people are talking about things I don’t know much about.

I mean you don’t want to appear ignorant in elementary school when the conversation turns to Jaba the Hutt (probably spelled that wrong [blame the parents]), right? All you need to know is that he is very fat and a villain. Done and done.

I’m perfectly capable of parroting technical language back to my authors. “AU: When you say ‘the tensile strength of the crystal construction of cyborg cybernetic cinnabars’ do you mean ‘crystalline construction’ as used on p. 6?” So I have been searching for key words, hip-hop feminism, etc., while my musical taste runs mainly to alt country.

I can pick out a scholarly article on pure faking it and then listen to some music. It’ll be good for me! And every time my kids talk about some person I should know and shouldn’t, I can turn to google. Or my nephew, who ran a hip hop show. (We may be white, but some of us are cool. [Management would like to reassure readers that Indy knows she is not the cool one.])

What are you teaching yourself these days?


6 responses to “Educating Myself

  1. Electrical repair! What I’m trying to has been described at “not rocket science” “a walk in the park” and “no big deal” by people who already know how to do it, but I’m just barely getting through it with lots of deep breaths, a stream of consciousness pep talk to myself, and frequent breaks to check the internet for helpful videos and opportunities for procrastination. So, thanks for posting!

    OK. I’m going back in. Good luck faking pop cultural literacy.

  2. Thanks for telling me it’s Mom and Dad’s fault I don’t know anything about popular culture; i have hated myself for it for the longest time!

    But I am trying to make ammends. I married a film studies scholar (well, I married someone who was to become a film studies scholar. Hell, he was only 17 when we met!). I also now listen to BBC radio 4 documentary podcasts. I found out who Tupac Shekhar was today. That’s learning, eh?

    Note to Indy: I saw you visited MY blog today. You could call, you know, it would be less public.

    [management’s sister would like to reassure readers that Indy and Dr Cougar do communicate (sometimes) via media other than each other’s blogs]

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