The Harlem Shake and Other Musings

I love pop culture, aside from the fact that my love for pop culture was almost ruined by a certain horrific WKU professor who not only thought HER thoughts on the topic were superior and thus automatically CORRECT (so much for broadening the mind) but who almost failed me after “losing” one of the two papers required for the semester, causing me to drop from honors status for graduation. But I’m over it. Whatever.

Nonetheless, my love and following of hip trends in music, film, etc., are alive and well and only fueled by the easy access we have through social media. I love when a new meme takes hold and everyone is suddenly doing their own version of “Call Me Maybe” or “Gangnam Style” or now, the 30-second featurette of the “Harlem Shake.” I think it’s partially my affection for homemade limelight, but there’s also something uniting about 50 students joining together in choreographed silliness for a piece of history forever stored on YouTube (as seen in the most recent edition from my high school alma mater, seen below.) And even though the craze is dying out, I still have a deep longing to be part of a flash mob. Whoever started that phenomenon is a darn genius.

I feel the need to insert a disclaimer – just because I love pop culture doesn’t mean I’m trendy or “hip.” Um, far from it. I would never want to set such a precedent or notion of myself. I enjoy that pop culture happens, not that I’m an instigator or even participant. Too much pressure.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become quite the award season afficionado because it is a sure-fire, quick  way to find out what/who is ‘trendy,’ and sadly, to see just how behind-the-times I’ve fallen. But this year, I felt like I was really on top of my game. It’s probably the last year that’s going to happen as I attribute most of my current pop culture awareness to spending much of my pregnancy last year firmly planted on the couch watching movies, listening to music, etc., and because my knowledge of what’s happening on Sprout and Disney Junior is growing more proficient by the day. I always enjoy the Grammys, if for anything that it is a celebration of music, but this year, I knew most of the artists (although I’m still confused as to who those Alabama Shakes people are…) and was happy to see some of my favorites like Mumford and Sons, Fun., and The Lumineers as nominees/winners. Not to mention Justin Timberlake made his return, which I could not be more enthused about and thought he did a stellar job at not seeming like an old man trying to be cool. I may have to hang up my old JT poster some where. The Grammys also solidified my idea that it seems there is a real “folksy” trend going on right now with music – lots of full band, almost Bluegrass-inspired instrumentation and song structure is very popular and evidently, successful. (Which is just fine with me since I’m fairly certain bluegrass music is my worship language – I am moved EVERY time I hear “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons. It may not be intended as ‘Christian,’ but to me, it IS. Lyrics of “raise my hands, paint my spirit gold, bow my head, keep my heart slow” sure seem praiseworthy. Mercy.) And I must say, it was nice to have a Grammy celebration without Justin Beiber.

The Oscars were equally as satisfying – I knew who Seth McFarlane was (he’s such a pretty man – not a fan, but I love his smile), I had seen or have intent to see most of the “Best Picture” nominees, and Kentucky gal Jennifer Lawrence is easily my favorite actress right now. I loved that they played the “Jaws” theme when the acceptance speeches started to run too long. Plus, the night was dedicated to ‘music in movies’ so that was an added bonus. Just about every other commercial break was preceded with music from Les Mis and gave me chills every time. (Interestingly enough though, I chose not to see Les Mis in the theater and may not see it at all – I can’t stand Russell Crowe’s shout-singing and would grow increasingly annoyed with it as the movie progressed and she may have well-deservingly won for her role, but Anne Hathaway overacts the part. I’m sorry, but it’s true. My love for the music and the fact that there’s enough action to satisfy Michael may drive us to see it eventually. Maybe.)

Award shows are fun. I may have to break down one year and host an ‘Oscar-viewing party’ or ‘Grammy-fest.’ I always envision what I would say and who I would thank if I ever had the pleasure of accepting ANY award. Brevity is not my forte, as my college roommate put it, so I’m pretty sure I’d be a victim to the music. That’d be okay though, as long as it was the theme from “Jaws.” OR, maybe I could leave the stage doing the Harlem Shake.

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