Pop Culture University: Swoon 43
Do you remember Dynamite Magazine? Oh my gosh, that either glorious or horrendous day in elementary school when Scholastic books were distributed. Like watching Christmas happen for the rest of the family, pretending you did not want any presents anyway. Scholastic book day illustrated the economic class system… there were some who always got books (they had bagged chips and Twinkies in their lunch), there were some who got a book every once in a while (they rarely had fancy treats in their lunch), and there were the kids who never got books (most of them received free lunch). Sigh. Dynamite was my pop culture bible, hello Welcome Back Kotter “kids” and Mork & Mindy, it was everything. As I grew older and started earning money, I got my pop culture goodness from TV Guide. The Fall and Spring Seasonal issues…perfection. In ninth grade I learned my new bestie had the world’s coolest brother… he saved every single TV Guide, all under his bed, in chronological order. Swoon.
In 1977 my mom took us out of school to see Star Wars at the Ziegfeld Theater. For those not from NYC, the Ziegfeld theater had 1,152 seats, the screen was massive, the words scrolling up on the screen were the height of buildings. It was fine, nice love story, cute hair styles, but meh, I was not into Star Trek, Wars, or any Zones. Give me Jeannie or any Brady any day. Until I met my husband… then my son… then my daughter. Now outnumbered, it was time to watch, learn, and love anything and everything Sci-Fi and fantasy.
Star Wars, Pee Wee Herman, Power Rangers, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Pixar, and Marvel Movies took over all of our entertainment moments. Swords, spells, hypnotic rings, wands, magical talking televisions in wacky cartoon lands, and dark dark worlds with no rules… this was everyday normal to us. Dinner conversation discussing which spaceship was best when escaping a planet, which Hogwarts school would we attend (me Hufflepuff, them Gryffindor), and the best way to ward off dementors. What would our role be in Dumbledore’s Army? So many important conversations. We talked about surviving the Zombie apocalypse (go to Fire Island, Zombies can’t jump, the houses on stilts would save us). We discussed future apocalyptic worlds that were dark with no systems in place… worlds where survival was based on planning, adapting, and creating the new reality. Little did I know, we were in training.
As I sit here, thankful that we are still safe, I am appreciative of my Sci-Fi/Fantasy education. It taught me to listen, to act early, to study information, and to bunker down. That family, friendship, and community are the important things…and that working together is the way to beat out the dark. I still secretly wished that the Marvel team will show up and lend a hand. Iron Man (big time swoon) and the crew swooping in, a few big dramatic moments, then BOOM the world is healed. Sigh.
These bits of entertainment are more than a pastime, they are parables…a few learning moments and happy(ish) endings. Characters with special abilities and powers using their goodness to benefit the masses. May we all learn to recognize our super powers, our magic… and may we all share it. Thank you Pop Culture University, you are appreciated.