I know it seems like there should be a sentence before that but there isn't. I don't want to bury the lead on this one. I was walking through West Green on my way to News Writing and the thought popped into my head. Actually, that wasn't my thought at all. But I backtracked my initial thought (to be revealed shortly) to the essential question of what I was thinking. So really that opening sentence could have been a lot more jarring...
Why do I spend my days wondering if Lost will reveal the meaning of life? Why do you read The Little Prince for the eighth time? Why do we watch The Bear Jew turn Hitler's brains into pudding? (I swear my Inglourious Basterds/Pulp Fiction is coming one day)
Well there are plenty of reasons we plug into our visual culture or, say it with me: the collective unconscious. But I thought of one reason today why I (and by "I", I am just vainly assuming "we") consume culture like Mike & Ikes.
We consume culture because we want to be in culture. I have a family, I have friends, I have peers. I have co-workers. It is a very real existence that I live with very real people. But in each and every case I always try to compare these in-groups to in-groups that I have seen in the media. And in almost every case, they don't compare favorably.
I recently posted a picture on Facebook of The Umbrella Academy (a comic book superhero team) with me and all my friends tagged as our corresponding characters. It was fun to concur that Alex was definitely The Seance and Dan was definitely The Kraken...but why did they have to be? Why can't Alex just be Alex and Dan just be Dan (this is that original thought that I had, by the way)?
Culture exists, in part, so that we can imagine ourselves in it.
This is an intriguing notion for a multitude of reasons. But I am too lazy to write about them and I have a Film Midterm breathing down my neck. Instead I'll leave you with a list of the fake-groups I would most like to be a part of. And mind you, these are groups that I have seen and enjoyed. I have not seen much of old-timey entertainment such as Cheers so don't expect me to want to hang at the bar where everyone knows your name.
- The Bluth Family (Arrested Development)
- Sacred Heart Hospital (Scrubs)
- Gryffindor, Class of '98 (Harry Potter)
- Serenity crew-mate (Firefly)
- The Basterds (Inglourious Basterds)
- The Barksdale Family/Baltimore Police Department (The Wire)
- The Gang (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
- Bon Temps Citizen (True Blood)
- The Lucy Westenra Search Party (Dracula)
If I could drop everything in my entire life, including even possibly my identity, and join into another reality with a different friend-base, those are a select few I would choose.