The thing about culture these days is that there’s so much (too much?) of it. One could even argue that as a media organization, we’re part of the problem. Nonetheless, though we are members of the cultural elite (we publish at least one dick-related article each week) — there’s still plenty of culture that we’ve been shamed for not having read, seen or heard. For instance…
Nick Leftley, Senior Editor: Any time I say I’ve never seen Top Gun, people look at me like I’m an alien. And admittedly I am, albeit a legal one. But I get the same reaction in my native U.K., at least from people over 30. I don’t know why this particular one makes people angry: I cannot stand Tom Cruise for the most part, so I’ve also never seen [pulls up Tom Cruise’s IMDB page]:
- Risky Business
- Days of Thunder
- Far and Away
- A Few Good Men
- The Firm
- Jerry Maguire
- Austin Powers in Goldmember (wait, he’s in Goldmember? Really?)
- The Last Samurai
- War of the Worlds
- Lions for Lambs
- Knight and Day
- Rock of Ages
- Jack Reacher 1 & 2
- Edge of Tomorrow
- Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
- The Mummy
The only regret I feel about this is the realization that I have somehow seen 16 films that do have Tom Cruise in them, and now I feel a bit sick.
John McDermott, Staff Writer: I’ve never read, and will never read, a page of a Harry Potter book, nor have I ever, nor will I ever, see a scene from any of the film adaptations. I made a conscious decision at age 11 to avoid them and have followed through on this promise into adulthood. Potter fanboys and -girls inevitably shit their dicks when I share this information with them and accuse me of being pretentious and obstinate, but I care not. Get outta my face with your wizard sticks.
C. Brian Smith, Staff Writer: I’ve never seen a James Bond film. They straddle a line between true crime, humor and fantasy that I’m not comfortable with. Having spent the last five years writing for men’s lifestyle publications, my uninterest in 007 has been proven to be a professional liability. But what can I say? I don’t like Octopussy.
Ian Lecklitner, Assistant Editor: I have strange relationship with the Star Wars franchise: I vaguely remember seeing some of the movies when I was a young, and I sort of understand the plot from hearsay. But I can only actually recall bits and pieces — none of which interest me much. Of course, the fantasy freaks in my life remain aghast at my ignorance. But the truth is, I prefer swords to lightsabers.
Serena Golden, Managing Editor: As a kid I was much more into books than movies or television, and as an adult, I just feel like it’s too hard to try to catch up now. So I’ve never seen the original Star Wars movies, the Godfather trilogy, Seinfeld, Frasier, Terminator, Star Trek. You name it, I haven’t seen it. Oh, man, Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Never saw it.
Same goes for stuff that came out in my adulthood, to be honest. I never manage to make it to the movie theater, and TV seems like too much of a commitment — especially all those prestige dramas other people are always somehow finding time and emotional energy for. Pretty much any TV show my coworkers and friends like, I haven’t seen. The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Girls, Broad City, Curb Your Enthusiasm — nope, nope, nein; seemed too violent; seemed too much like my life; also seemed too much like my life; and I don’t care for secondhand embarrassment. Respectively. So no. Sorry.
Tim Grierson, Contributing Editor: The downside to Peak TV has been Peak “Wait, You’ve Never Seen ______??!?!?,” which is the phenomenon of someone getting on your case because you haven’t seen some acclaimed show that he or she has. Which is my way of saying: Seriously, I’ll get to The Wire, soon, I swear. Oh, and by the way, it’s lame to be smug about seeing something that someone else hasn’t yet. The whole point of great art is being able to share it with other people, not lording it over them.
Jeff Gross, Social Media Editor: The Simpsons. I just never “got it.” Recently, I tried watching episodes from Season 6 (the “best” season… or was it 4? I’d make a Comic Book Guy reference, but I’d barely get it myself), and I was thoroughly meh on the whole thing. But talk to any child of the 1980s and it’s like The Simpsons is the second coming. I liked Life in Hell, isn’t that good enough?
Tierney Finster, Contributing Editor: I’ve never seen Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings or Games of Thrones. Nor have I seen any of the Transformers movies or even the beloved Dark Knight. I don’t know anything about Jason Bourne other than the actor who plays him, and I don’t even know that much about James Bond. (I mean, Pierce Brosnan, duh, but there are tons of others… right?)
Big confession: I’ve never even read The Catcher in the motherfuckin’ Rye! Holden Caulfield angst, however, I’ve heard tons. I definitely get it.
Same but different: I’ve Shazamed Gimme Shelter like eight times in the last two years, so I guess I’m not a Stones buff either, though I clearly love their music.
Men love to hate me, but I love it.
Josh Schollmeyer, Editor-in-Chief: Music. Like all of it. I know the songs that played on the radio — kind of. But even then, I spent most of my childhood listening to Howard Stern and sports talk radio (which would probably account for my lack of intellect — though I can recite numerous Stern bits as well as any Monty Python lackey, Al Pacino’s baby chief among them). And what I can recall I’m told is embarrassing — Chicago, Kansas and other bands named after places (they’re easier to remember that way, that lack of intellect fucking me over once again).
Speaking of places, I do know the catalogs of the Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair and Kanye West by heart. But that’s more out of my post-Michael Jordan, post-Siskel-and-Ebert Chicago homerism than it is out of any musical interest or taste. That said, Kanye is the Bob Dylan—who I’m told is a big deal in music—of our times.