And the men who hold high places…

A classmate from Lane Technical High School in Chicago posted this charming group photograph (circa 1979) in honor of Throwback Thursday on Facebook. It is a photo of the school’s newspaper staff, of which I was the arts and entertainment columnist. That’s me far right, in the second row, donning a full head of hair and a Rush tee shirt (both long gone). Right next to me is the cutest girl in this photo, Suzanne. Alas, I can only assume she was told to sit there. Recall I am wearing a Rush tee shirt, which to this day repels women like few things can.

Of course, I do not recall taking this photo, nor most everyone in it. My long term memory is shot from the rigorous “research” I did whilst attending the numerous rock concerts I weekly reviewed. Cannabis Sativa no doubt added positivity to all my band reviews but deducted brain cells as well.

I do remember how proud I was getting this gig, and especially seeing my byline in the Warrior every Friday. (Or was it Monday?) Regardless, I still have all my clippings in deep storage. Very deep storage. The Internet for all intents and purposes was 10+ years away. Getting one’s name in print was for me a truly awesome experience, or, as we used to say back in the day, e-excellent.

During my two-year tenure as feature columnist I reviewed such bands as Rush, Aerosmith, Golden Earring, AC/DC and Judas Priest pretty much alienating me from 98% of the school’s massive population (6200 students!) and most certainly all of its women. Ah, well. The things we do for our careers. I also reviewed new album releases (from my growing collection) as well as the occasional movie. I reviewed Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which I’m proud to say I adored, even at the fresh young age of 15.

Writing for my school’s paper and subsequently three different college papers remains one of the most satisfying and beneficial things I ever did during scholarship. Now I’ve got this blog, which if my wife and three daughters are any indication continues to repel women.

Author’s note: In the pic’s caption my name is spelled “Steffon,” which is e-excellent!

Watch me you prick!

I was in the middle of a lively conversation about cable television when I realized the content being discussed were things I hadn’t consumed before; in this case the shows Big Love and Breaking Bad.

Like a lot of people in my business, I have a superb awareness of popular culture. I know these shows are good, probably very good, but I have never seen a single episode of either one of them. In that moment, I felt…what’s the word I’m looking for? Bad. Yes, bad. Here were smart people talking about good shows and I hadn’t any actual perspective to add to the conversation.

Despite my ignorance, I do not regret my answer. “Sorry,” I said. “I just can’t make the commitment.” It’s not that I don’t make myriad commitments to popular culture –perish the thought! But as good as those shows surely are I just don’t have the bandwidth or inclination to get involved with them.

Other conspicuous examples of good and/or popular TV shows I’ve avoided are The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, The Colbert Report and Conan. There are numerous others. What’s interesting here (to me anyway) is that I’m pretty sure I would enjoy all of them. Maybe even a lot. This paradox (right word?) also holds true for books, movies and websites. That means no Harry Potter anything, books or films. In addition, I am not a gamer. The only angry birds I know are the pigeons outside my window.

This is different than avoiding crap like The Bachelor, The Apprentice and reality TV in general. Those I can proudly deny ever consuming at all. And you shouldn’t either! FYI, I’ve never seen a full episode of Oprah but that’s a whole nutha subject.

I know I could get boxed sets of any and all these good shows and dive into them one long weekend. But I won’t because of the commitments I already do make. For example, it should come as no surprise I am a devoted fan of The Walking Dead and True Blood. I also catch up on the Simpson’s via Fox’s website. I consume LOTS of horror films late at night when no one is looking. Oddly, within the genre I avoid almost all slasher films, including every Saw film ever made and anything starring Chuckie or Freddy. That stuff just doesn’t work for me. Besides there are still too many zombie apocalypse films out there, my drug of choice.

I know this post has no real point but I’m curious: What content do you avoid even though you know it’s terrific?