I love popular culture.
Well, really, by definition, everybody loves popular culture.
I mean, otherwise it wouldn’t be popular, would it?
Like June Cleaver, some of us are destined to become a part of popular culture. Like me, some of us are destined to just enjoy it. Pop culture happenings tend to be taken very seriously while they are occurring and, afterward, turn to total cheesiness. This is when I can get down to business.
Finally, for example, I am able to enjoy the Simpson trial. Before it ended, one had to have an opinion and, being that I am the Lesbian Housewyfe, the expectation of a high O.J.Q. loomed always. Plus, Lesbian Law #5 is I will always be loudly and vociferously involved with any political or high profile action having any impact, big or small, on the lives of women around the world even if I don’t know what it’s all about.
Although I am in constant contact with my television, I knew less than most people about the trial and, frankly, worked to keep it that way. Past popular culture has always fascinated me more and my afternoon mysteries are too good to miss! I just discovered Charlie’s Angels, a show just bursting with cheesiosity that I missed the first time around. My mother refused to have it on in the house; it was too sexist and violent. She was right of course, but now I love it so! And not just Charlie’s Angels, those deep convoluted plot lines of Banacek and Columbo keep me coming back for more. And the slick way they recycled plots from MacMillan and Wyfe for Hart to Hart.
The mind boggles.
Plus, those hairdos. I envy those Farrah wings. My hair would never do that. Now, of course, I follow Lesbian Law #10 which is Naturalness is the key to true beauty. Most of the time, a simple ponytail holder is enough, but when I’m in the midst of it all, I still want that poufy do of Stephanie Powers. But, no matter how much I laugh, in reruns, they are still making money off of it.
Not as much as Mr. O.J. Simpson though. Now that this chapter in our immediate pop culture has ended (really, let it go. It’s time for the whole matter to fade away.), lots of funny facts are surfacing. For example, O.J. made more money in jail than out. He has made the nightly news nationally every night for over a year. Before the trial, he couldn’t pay to get mentioned except on sports networks or, on the extreme occasion, Entertainment Tonight. Now, everyone wants to see O.J., or better yet, have a piece of O.J. A signature, a picture, a copy of the book. We were in a mass hysteria-just like when we all had that famous Farrah do, just like when the hostages were released from Iran. Except this was bigger.
At 11AM mountain standard time on October 3, 1995, traffic stopped. Phones ceased their ringing in busy offices. College professors wheeled televisions into the classroom and struggled with the vertical hold. I turned the television on, sat down, and stopped folding clothes. We all waited breathlessly for the verdict. All but one.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado is a busy resort town. There’s great skiing in the winter, I’m told. I don’t do sports myself. The Lovely Lesbian Housewyfe is not a jock. Yet, I enjoy myself while I’m in Steamboat.
Anyway, this is where my sister-in-law (as a lesbian, I use the term loosely) lives without a television set. She is, however, nowhere near sheltered from the outside world. She works in a steakhouse which is where one works in a resort town and is exposed to many different opinions regarding popular culture issues. She also lives in a trailer park called “Dream Island” which is where the story of this little lost lamb begins.
On that seemingly insignificant October morning, just after 11, she entered the manager’s office to pay her lot fee, a normal monthly occurrence. The woman turned to my sister-in-law and two popular culture icons collided.
“Have you been following the Simpson trial?” The manager asked with breathless excitement.
“I thought the baby shot him,” my sister-in-law replied, referring to the previous night’s bar topic.
O.J. smashed into Bart, Homer, and Maggie with a clash heard now around the world.
Sparks of brightly colored animation cells and trial footage burst from the manager’s ears as she struggled with the wild concepts. Finally, with a strange sigh of surrender, she looked quizzically at this lovely innocent and said, “He’s not guilty.”
My sister-in-law recognized the reference.
Ah yes, the great machine moves in many mysterious ways and slowly, sneakily sucks us all in. But I promise to remain here, holding staunchly to my position of making fun of it all for, as all of you know, Lesbian Law #1 is Never Underestimate the Power of the Lesbian Housewyfe.
The new icon has arrived.
Last year, I watched American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. With this essay as proof, I know you can see how I sat breathless on the edge of my seat to see what came next. I really didn’t have a clue except that he was found innocent at the end! Of course twenty-two years later, O.J. does his time for a different crime and I have to catch up on the whole thing through a fascinating dramatization.
And the whole event seems tame in comparison to today’s political theater. Crazy!
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