Popular culture is a fascinating thing to observe. And while it’s easy for a commentator like me to make fun of it all, I’m probably doing it just before indulging myself in something trendy that I happen to enjoy. Times change and so fads come and go, but people never change. We are the same knuckleheads who have been exhibiting the same repeating patterns for centuries; we just find new niches to exhibit them in. That’s cool and all, but some trends in society are definitely better for us than others. Let’s look at a few examples.
Movie Remakes: Bad. With the incredible budgets that movie studios have to work with nowadays you’d think they could produce a lot of excellent original material. After all there are only a zillion good books and screenplays just waiting for this. But no, we get stuck with remakes of Fun with Dick and Jane and the 84th version of King Kong. The worst thing is when they decide to butcher great classics which should never be touched. Think Planet of the Apes, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and now I guess they are going to destroy The Day the Earth Stood Still. Some of these shoddy remakes bear no resemblance to the original plot, so why not just give them a new title?
Poker: Good. The poker trend is very healthy for society as a whole, despite the fact that some people discover they have a gambling addiction through it. Poker is a game of both basic strategy and deeper 3-level thinking strategy. If you dedicate yourself to becoming a student of the game it will make you smarter. Some of the top ivy league college campuses have known this for decades and actually have encouraged poker sub-cultures to develop within both the student and faculty member populations. When you get good at poker you become skilled at making good risk versus reward analysis decisions in all areas of your life (a topic that is dear to Papa Riah’s heart).
Reality TV Shows: Bad. Prime-time network television has always taken any successful concept and beaten it to death. It’s what they do. They feel a need to discover just how bad of a mutation of the original idea they can get away with marketing. And they always discover it. In the case of reality television, recent years have seen the most horrible, low budget ideas popup and fail miserably. But the main problem with reality shows as a whole is the numbing of your brain. They are not educational, and in fact not helpful in any conceivable way. They are second rate entertainment at best. Is what you want to do with the few spare hours you have everyday sit down and watch other people whose pathetic lives have lead them to compete in a meaningless exercise which rewards bad behavior? Really???
Microbreweries: Good. If you are going to drink beer, drink good beer. Two decades ago that wasn’t possible to do in most of America. Large corporations had our society duped into drinking fizzy yellow alcoholic water and thinking that was beer. This was great for them. The corner-cutting practice of using 20% to 35% rice or corn in place of malted barley allowed them to make huge profits peddling that budcoorsmiller crap on us, which is still popular among the uncultured. As travel to Europe became more affordable people discovered what beer really is and the microbrewery revolution was born (thank God). Now you can hardly find a restaurant or pub without at least one decent offering on the beer list. With all the stupidity in society that Papa Riah is forced to constantly observe, at least I can refresh myself with a good ale at the end of the day.