4 Events Pop Culture Makes Look Inevitable, But Never Really Happen Sean Morrow

Movies aren’t real life. Have you ever noticed that? It’s weird. TV, also: not real life. In general, fiction is very different from real life. Bogus, right? But as constant absorbers of film and television, we’ve grown to muddle-fuddle the two, confuse reality and fiction. Right? It’s not just me?

There’re a lot of events that are frequent in film and television that just don’t happen in real life, or at least very rarely. But seeing them on TV all the time makes you think that they, these events are natural parts of human development, things everyone does at least once. One becomes extremely familiar with what they come to understand as normal events in a humans life, but then comes to realize that they probably won’t happen. And these aren’t even things I want to happen to me; these are just things I want to observe, not participate in. I mean, I shut up and observe them when they happen on TV, so I’ll shut up and observe in real life.

1. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Ribbon cuttings were what got me started on this kick of feeling hornswaggled by reality. I was idly browsing Amazon.com, looking for something stupid to spend my hard-earned money on when I stumbled on “giant ribbon cutting scissors,” as in the giant scissors used in ribbon cutting ceremonies in movies and television.

People actually need to buy “giant ribbon cutting scissors”? If you’re having a ribbon cutting ceremony, wouldn’t it be more effective to rent? When else are you gonna use giant scissors? How often do you have ribbon cutting ceremonies? Are you doing it earnestly, or because it’s a funny/absurd reference to the ribbon cutting ceremonies in movies? And more importantly, why wasn’t I invited? I have never been to a ribbon cutting ceremony, and I’m nearing on a quarter of a century in age. I don’t go to a ribbon cutting ceremony literally every day of my life.

A ribbon cutting ceremony can be for anything: the evil housing development being placed where the youth center once was, or the new youth center placed where the evil housing development once was after the kids plot against the evil real estate salesman and win. Every woman and man is entitled to their ribbon cutting ceremony.

2. Underdog winning something/sporting event with a plot
I want to go to a rugby game and find out that one team is the good guys and one team is the bad guys, that the game is more than just a game, but rather a culmination of nearly 90 minutes of inspiration, training montages and conflict. One team would be in this final tournament game totally out of left field: they weren’t even supposed to make it to the playoffs, and the other team is the literal embodiment of evil, a rugby juggernaut that uses like steroids taken from puppy livers or something.
2a. Inspirational speech
Hopefully, during halftime (does rugby have halftime?), there’d be a sweet inspirational speech about like perseverance or whatever bologna the coach is into. Psh, perseverance (fart noise).
2b. Pep rally
I think my high school had pep rallies, but I just never went. So this one was available to me and I chose not to participate. Why would you go be in a gym full of screaming teenagers voluntarily?

3. Balls, galas
This is another one that I’m pretty sure happens all the time and I’m just not invited to. I’ve been to some pretty ritzy parties, high-profile events like movie premieres and stuff, but I’ve never been invited to a ball.

I mean, I’ve had a ball, in that I’ve been doing something fun and been like “What a ball I’m having!” usually when I’m playing chess against the computer in a room by myself. I am also “baller,” according to one of my friends one time.

But I’ve never been to some high-society ball-y, gala-y type thing, where people dance in gowns and tuxes and there’s a champagne pyramid, and the cocktail weenies are made out of duck, but no one has to awkwardly hold those little paper party hors d’oeuvres plates.

And then one girl who is special for some reason–probably like an Anne-Hathaway-10-years-ago type–enters the gala, descending a spiral staircase (maybe wearing a mask? Is it a masquerade ball? Are those real?) and everyone at the party turns to look at her, and she’s all in awe because she used to be plain and no one really paid attention to her, and now everyone is paying attention to her and whatnot.

I’d like to be at that event, awkwardly standing around in my tux, having to pee, but too shy to ask any of these high society types where the bathroom is, and shoving caviar in my mouth.

4. The apocalypse
We have just left a period of a glut of apocalypse related media, with every other movie seemingly being about the end of the world. 2012 probably won’t be the end of the world, but 2009-2012 was the era of end of the world movies (probably number 2 to the Cold War era when they were all over the place.) This is probably due to our current zeitgeist of a feeling of impending doom (everyone else feels that, right?).

Many people assume the apocalypse will happen in their lifetimes (look, there’s actual science to back this up ) because they can’t imagine the world existing without them, the concept of everyone else waking up the day after their death is too much to handle. But pop culture and religion also have a lot to do with it, the high incidences of the eschaton in religion, new age thought and fiction have led to a society where lots of people assume their lives will be some of the last on Earth.

I don’t particularly HOPE for the apocalypse, but the prospect doesn’t really scare me. If I’m gonna die anyway, why not die at the same time as everyone else so I know I’m not missing anything? Also, the world WILL end eventually, because everything is temporary. Humanity will end, Earth will end, the solar system will end, the UNIVERSE will end.  We gotta see the beauty in impermanence, and understand the glory of the moment, so what’s the big deal if it ends now? I guess they (you know, the people who decide about the apocalypse, like God or geology or the people with the launch codes) should at least wait until after the next seasons of Breaking Bad and Community though.

This is gonna come back to bite me in the butt when I’m running for my President and my opponent goes, “Americans, are you aware that my opponent is pro-apocalypse?”

Featured image via Fujitsu

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  1. Galas totally exist! I missed my first gala this weekend. Since I also thought they were made up/a thing of the past, I was totally bummed to get invited to one during a busy weekend. I think they’re all for charity.

  2. 3a-As you started to touch on–Anne Hathaway type geek to chic makeover…I’m also pretty sure there are never any moments when everyone turns and stares at someone walking in…no grand entrances :-(