Reflections from the Room
But how can I put a name to – what it is that I want? How am I to know I don’t want what I want or that I really don’t want what I don’t want? These are intangibles where the moment you name them, their meaning evaporates like jellyfish in the sun. – “Stalker”, 1979
As 2018 comes to an end, as does this brief tour of pop culture, I want to take you back to that room in Stalker, the one where all of our dreams come true, whether or not we want them to. On the way we’ve learned about the relationship between catharsis and medical drama; how we try to grapple with power and trauma through superhero tales; fantasize about simplicity, virtue, and escape through #vanlife; and how we work through our complicated relationship to food – pleasure, waste, hunger, desire – through various forms of food media.
These have been interesting explorations and great questions, but I find the biggest questions of all tend to be the hardest to ask, like: who do these preoccupations say we are? What do these anxieties and reactions tell us about ourselves?
The thing I see over and over again in these phenomena is this: a desire for change – for that elusive thing that must be sought over and over again.
You don’t need me to tell you how scary, dangerous, and just plain bonkers 2018 has been. If there is anything that can unite humanity in this moment, it’s the knowledge that things cannot continue as they are. So it makes sense that our pop culture would reflect this desire for something different – for emotional release, limitless abundance, a carefree life, or unlimited power. Some of these are possible to achieve, some impossible, but all speak to a deep desire – a need – for re-evaluation, renewal, and change.
So as we reach the end of another year, that seems like a good spirit to take into the new one. And on that note, we will see you in 2019 with more new ideas and new voices.