It shouldn't surprise me anymore, but it always does: My students don't watch much TV. That may sound like it's a good thing. But it shocks me how little interest they have in it. Maybe it's just the vagaries of my upbringing, but I associate an interest in television with a desire to be tuned into the zeitgeist, to participate in a mass event. Is their tuning out a demonstration of disdain for a medium they feel is beneath them, or is it a symptom of their disconnect and isolation?
Happily (at least for a believer in mass culture and the potential of television as a medium like me), the room tonight was full of people who feel strongly about TV, and a few who watch it with almost the level of obsession as we do. One of the reasons I want to teach pop culture -- not just use pop culture in my teaching -- is that I want to assure students that it's okay to take it seriously, that it's a worthy object of study and of passion. If I can make the world safe for one budding fan with both a heart and a brain, then my work here is done.