10 ways Wash. U. distorts popular arts & entertainment

| Music Editor
To even the remotely well-informed observer of popular culture, it is blatantly obvious that Wash. U. skews one’s perspective on arts and entertainment and the societal trends that often come with it. While it can be difficult to put one’s finger on the ways in which it has been distorted, after four and a half years of intense observation of the specialized creature that is a Wash. U. student, I have determined 10 ways in which the student population’s perception of popular forms of art and entertainment has been distanced greatly from that of mainstream America.

1. In the real world, people go to a concert and sometimes end up drunk. At Wash. U., people get drunk and sometimes end up at a concert.

2. Although, say, Susie Singalong (not her real name) seems to think so, musicals are NOT topping Billboard’s charts. While more of Susie’s friends may know every word of the hours-long Rent and Wicked soundtracks but not the latest three-minute hits by Lil Wayne, Britney Spears or Fall Out Boy, everyday society is answering their phones and partying to “I Don’t Care” and “Lollipop,” not “No Day but Today.”

3. Wash. U. students watch public television and sometimes even donate to it. People in the real world subscribe to cable for a reason.

4. Diana Diversity (also a fake name) loves going to the theatre, especially to see Diwali, Carnival and the Lunar New Year Festival. She loves the mix of song, dance, drama and, of course, the fantastic message at the end. However, much to Diana’s disappointment, these types of culturally-themed variety shows are few and far between outside the Wash. U. environment and likely don’t enjoy anywhere near the kind of popularity generated by their Wash. U. counterparts since, in the real world, the performers have far fewer friends to guilt into attending.

5. Wash. U. students are more likely to dance the Funky Chicken for charity than they are to “get low” in an attempt to signal that they’re looking to get some.

6. Although Johnny Filmbuff (this one’s real) may believe it to be so, independent flicks are not raking in the most cash at the box office. Johnny, I know it’s shocking that more people went out, saw, and sometimes even enjoyed, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” than “Science of Sleep” or “I Heart Huckabees,” but it happened. So please don’t be surprised when you hear that Cletus on Ruby 1 or Timothy on Danforth 3 hasn’t seen your latest favorite foreign language film (even if it has an English name, i.e. the “Diving Bell and the Butterfly”).

7. Wash. U. students complain to each other about how the book was so much better than the movie. Real world people don’t bother reading the book, preferring to discuss the levels of awesome that were the battle scenes.

8. People associated with different “subcultures” of society often dress in the style of that subculture. They do it to identify with that subculture and because it’s fun to stand out in the crowd solely based on appearance. Although Wash. U.’s own Petey Punker made it to the last Rise Against show and watches “SLC Punk” about once a month, you’ll still catch him day-in/day-out in a polo, plaid shorts or, worst of all, wearing the same $150 North Face fleece as those 400 kids he passed while walking to class. While one might argue that not conforming shows a level of maturity, this does not hold true, as Petey is likely the same kid who wears a Kappa Sig T-shirt three times a week. The same is true of virtually every other subculture (with partial exceptions granted to hippies and drama kids). Although they do not completely own up to their group with their style of dress, they’re doing better than most of us. Bravo!

9. Wash. U. students watch anime for the story line. In the real world, people only watch anime to vicariously live out their most grotesquely awesome fantasies (most of which involve tentacles).

10. While Hillary Harmonizer (you decide) may enjoy ROCKing out to ROCKapella, 99.99 percent of people outside of the Wash. U. bubble never listen to a cappella. They don’t pay to see it in concert and they sure as hell don’t buy it or listen to recordings of it.