Wednesday, April 16, 2014

comfort culture.

You know how you eat macaroni and cheese when you’ve had a bad day at work, or maybe drink a beer? Of course you know, because comfort FOODS are often mentioned in America’s vocabulary. But what about comfort culture? What’s your personal pizza of television, the mashed potatoes of movies, and the fish sticks of sound? While you’re contemplating the dark chocolate paperback that calms your addled mind after a stressful day, I’ll share with you some of my pop culture comforts.

*TV series: Buffy the Vampire Slayer — It’s no secret that Buffy is my favorite nugget of pop culture ever. Joss Whedon’s vision of girl superpowers has entertained my eyes, ears and soul since 1998. The Slayer has lulled me to sleep through some of the darkest evenings of my life, quite possibly the only reason nightmares didn’t engulf me in my early ‘20s. If you’ve avoided this show because of the title’s cheesiness alone, stop denying yourself one of the most influential shows of the 20th century. Buffy could change your life.

Get it: Netflix, Hulu, video stores

Me today celebrating National Library Workers
Week. I'm part Vulcan, you know.
*TV franchise: Star Trek — For the past 4 years or so, Star Trek has been my before-bed ritual. Not every night, but at least a couple of nights per week. If the plot is peaceful, I might fall asleep to the gentle hum of the starship. The DVD menu screen of “The Next Generation” is like white noise bliss to me. Don’t misinterpret, falling asleep to Star Trek isn’t a diss. I LOVE the franchise, but I have this calm and familiar relationship with it. I know I will rewatch each series of Star Trek over and over until I die of really old age, so there’s no sense of loss if I dream through episodes here and there.

Get it: Netflix, video stores

*Album: Air // Talkie Walkie — This album used to be my study soundtrack in college. When I hear the first notes of “Venus” I am instantly transformed back to that space of settling in for a quiet night with books, coffee, and gritty knowledge. Yeah, thinking about studying chills me out. Obviously, I’m a nerd.

Get it: Spotify, iTunes, Google Music, music stores

*Movie: Bandits — Not many people realize the brilliance of the 2001 film starring Cate Blanchett, Bruce Willis, and Billy Bob Thornton. The performances are buzzing with anxiety, emotion, and genuine crazy, an aspect of pop culture that always soothes me…to see others fraying onscreen makes me feel less nuts. Plus, this movie is hilarious if you like understated David Letterman-type humor.

Get it: Netflix, video stores

*Book: Drawing Blood // Poppy Z Brite — In the summer, my brain turns to a soupy-slosh of jumbled thoughts and baking grey matter. It is my least favorite season. To get through the sizzling flames of August, I usually end up reading this lurid tale of two young lovers surviving a summer in New Orleans. The pages are filled with ghosts/psychological demons, children of the night, and early ‘90s-style computer hacking.

Get it: the Joplin Public Library (the very copy I first read in high school!), bookstores

Email me your comfort culture items: