Surrounded by a bunch of buff, voguing Marky Mark-looking dudes and elegantly writhing on a blue-lit floor, Kylie Minogue and her “Get Outta My Way” music video have long been favorites of mine. Paired with the song, filled with cliché themes of female empowerment and a resolution to go it alone, the video is a beautiful, absurd accompaniment to an anthem as far distanced from reality as I am from Africa or the North Pole or marrying George Clooney.
Pop culture is the really fun, incredibly inconsiderate friend who invites you to clubs every night and makes sure you don’t get enough sleep.
When faced with heartbreak, I have never looked like Miss Minogue, an exquisitely dressed Helen-of-Troy-figure set amongst billowing curtains. No, the aftermath of my breakups usually look like this: lots of sitting in the middle of the living room wearing three-day-old pajamas, trading food for long, meaningless stares at the wall. And, unless you take the “I’m just going to drink all day and pretend my life’s a bunch of roses until I sober up” approach, your breakups probably follow a similar, universally pathetic trajectory.
It is for this reason that pop culture exists. Call the genre shallow or stupid or meaningless drivel if you want. I don’t care because that’s the precisely the point. When I’m having a wretched day, I don’t want to sit and watch a mirror image of myself forking cake into my frowning mug; I want Kylie Minogue wearing a gold dress that probably weighs twice her body weight, dancing in rays of eternal sunshine. I want chair dances and choreography and geometric light shows that probably cost some record company $100k to design. Because even though I might be too anemic to change out of my pajamas every day, I’m never too tired to live variously through someone who makes millions of dollars entertaining similarly minded masses.
Pop culture isn’t that compassionate friend who sits with you on the couch and obliges your healthy bouts of wallowing; pop culture is the really fun, incredibly inconsiderate friend who invites you to clubs every night and makes sure you don’t get enough sleep. It laughs in your miserable face until you decide, in your own time, to laugh along with it. — Jenny Bahn