Dear every teacher I ever had:
Sorry I didn’t do the reading.
There was a good show on that night.
Oddly my obsessive years of teevee consumption led to many jobs as a “pop culture expert."
In another civilization that title would be a euphemism for “unemployable” – but we live in a society where I can blog about ninja movie villains from the 1980’s and get paid more than a public school teacher.
Just this week I was given real U.S. currency to watch the movie KRULL and write trivia about it.
I don’t know if I’m a success story, a cautionary tale, or a sad commentary on our nation’s values.
You be the judge.
The tough part of my work is that I’m 37 and it might be too late to learn a practical skill.
Of course I don’t really believe that.
But I know myself well enough that if I were to make a radical life change and start at a non-profit, I’d eventually say, “Fuck it, this is hard work compared to ranking TV’s top mustaches.”
(Seriously, this trope ALWAYS comes up at jobs. Like the way TIME Magazine can always do another cover story on cholesterol, bloggers return to the well of “Pop Culture Mustaches." No one actually believes they’re the first to do the story. Editors I’ve worked for encourage writers to steal good ideas from other places. Because the bosses know that the mouth-breathers who read their blogs have no long-term memory or sense of history. If you don't believe me, then how do you explain the countless slideshows of "bad tattoos"?)
So I’m committed to writing for inevitably short-lived websites and second-rate cable channels owned by corporate entities that hope to gain some street-cred by featuring writings on trashy movies, vintage television and nostalgic trivia.
This field has less of a “corporate ladder” and more of a merry-go-round populated by lonley guys who are one Entertainment Weekly subscription away from Aspergers.
In a way, working a pop culture gig is like a game of chicken. Each writer is waiting for the others to “get a real job” so that more work opens up for the rest of us.
Unless we all get replaced by unpaid interns.
In my field this inevitability is like global warming melting the ice caps: We know it’s going to happen, but we try not to think about it and hope it occurs after we’re dead.
I resent that my tightwad bosses would replace me with some recent college grad who was born the same year I saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III in the theater.
I came into my nerd-dom before the internet turned history into low-hanging fruit. Today anyone can learn the complete chronology of the Planet of the Apes saga in a few minutes. But I studied it one Saturday Afternoon at a time.
And I dislike that any nimrod can glean those facts (rarely fact-checked) and become an instant expert.
It really cheapens the work I do.
Kevin Maher is a writer-producer with impressive resume credits. (But that's because his resume doesn't include gigs like The Daily Dirt, Celebraddiction, The Horror Hacker, Hollywood Update, Star Vs Star, and Bravo's "Great Things About the Holidays.")
Visit his website for the good credits, sample writing and videos.
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