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Vast swaths of American popular culture have passed me by.

When I was younger, I would regularly try to talk to my mother about something new that I was listening to, reading, or watching. But mom liked classical music, Henry James and Willa Cather, and PBS. So she had rarely heard of the things I liked. And, even when she tried to watch a sitcom, listen to popular music, or read whatever I was reading (probably science fiction), she normally found it both shallow and referentially confusing. (That is, most popular culture references other popular culture.)

So, when my friends and I would talk about these things, and mom was around, she’d say something like Vast swaths of American popular culture have passed me by. And we’d all laugh. She also tried. For example, for my ninth birthday (I think), she asked her students what albums to get me. And so I ended up with Tommy by the Who, More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) by the Stones, and Sloppy Seconds by Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show. She didn’t like any of them; but she tried. (And yes, Michelle and I also shared the inappropriate Sloppy Seconds with our kids long before they could understand the content.)

So, where does this all lead? Although my middle son says that I’m a bit of a hipster because I liked things long before they became mainstream (science fiction, back when it was considered offensive to call it scifi; board games, before the rise of Eurogames; vinyl), it’s also clear that I am no longer in touch with the things my children or my students know about, from music, to TV, to the Interweb. When did Snapchat go from being a horrible sexting application to being a social media tool, anyway? And who is this Miranda Lambert whose Time to get a gun seems to have gotten a Philosopher fired? Why does anyone watch the way-too-violent Game of Thrones? [1] And what is this yolo swag mafia? [3]

And so, at age 51 (soon to be 52), like my mother before me, I must say "*Vast swaths of American Popular Culture have passed me by." And I don’t really care.

Of course, I should develop more of an appetite for the things that mom loved, including classic literature and music. At least we share a passion for both nature and fine art.

This essay feels incomplete. I hope to revisit it sometime. But, in the spirit of getting an essay out each day (or at least each day on average), I’m leaving this one as is.

[1] I used to love George R.R. Martin’s Wildcards series, and I bought the first Game of Thrones book back when it game out [2], but I have no taste for the TV show.

[2] Yes, middle son, I know that this claim makes me a hipster.

[3] I do not need answers to any of these questions.

Version 1.0.1 of 2016-04-30.