August 28, 2020
It’s hard to believe that I’ve spent more than a quarter of my life writing PopCult. The first post went live on August, 28, 2005.
I’m at that age when time starts to seemingly move at an accelerated pace. I’m also at that age where those damned kids keep getting on my lawn, but that’s a topic for a different column.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Douglas Imbrogno offered me the chance to cover anything under the broad umbrella of “pop culture” for a blog as part of his ambitious idea for The Gazz.com to become a multimedia bridge to a post-print era for The Charleston Gazette. I also need to credit Doug with coming up with the name, “PopCult.” My idea was to call the blog, “Cool Stuff,” or “Really Cool Stuff,” or maybe “Really, Realy Super-Neat Cool Stuff,” but Doug recognized that I was in a bit of a naming rut and bestowed upon the blog the perfect moniker. It was really cool to be part of The Gazz crowd and be in on the ground floor of the next generation of local media.
It turned out that Doug was far more ambitious than the upper management at the Gazette, who, over the years, kept scaling down his plans until PopCult and John Brown’s Wine blog are about the only things left. Doug is doing his own thing now with WestVirginiaville and other projects, which I highly recommend to my readers.
While it doesn’t seem like it’s been fifteen years, it also sort of seems like a lifetime ago, if that makes any sense. Since the debut of PopCult, The Charleston Gazette merged with The Charleston Daily Mail, and then the merged entity was purchased out of bankruptcy by HD Media, who are currently trying their best to figure out how to run a print newspaper in a world where most of their revenue streams have migrated to other media.
When PopCult debuted George W. Bush was president, and we naively imagined that there was no way possible we could ever see a worse president in our lifetimes. I try to keep politics and current hard news out of PopCult, but it’s tricky when 2020 seems to be an extended comedy sketch written by Michael O’Donoghue when he was in a really bad mood. 2020 is the year that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were laid off when their positions were determined to be redundant.
When PopCult debuted, smartphones were not yet a thing, and the idea that people would watch television content on a tiny screen seemed ridiculous.
When PopCult debuted, people could smoke in public, and most bars in the area were too filled with smoke for yours truly to last comfortably for more than five minutes before being forced to leave.
When PopCult debuted Disney had not yet swallowed up Marvel, Lucasfilm or most of Fox. AT&T was a phone company, and Comcast was a cable company and I think I was still using dial-up internet.
When PopCult debuted I didn’t have any idea that I would be able to revive Radio Free Charleston as a video program, let alone come to own an internet radio station, The AIR, that is now the audio component to this blog.
The last fifteen years saw the death of my mother and Melanie’s mother, and Melanie and I finally tied the knot after dating for 24 years. I also discovered that I have an auto-immune disorder called Myasthenia Gravis, but oddly enough, it’s clear that I had that before I started writing the blog. It just took eleven years to diagnose. Adjusting to that new medical reality has been an adventure.
When I began writing PopCult I was a full-time caregiver, and travel was something I could never contemplate doing. Since then Melanie and I have been able to travel to Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Washington DC and other cool places, and we’ve been to toy shows, world premiere plays, Broadway Musicals, Major League Baseball games, chocolate factories, toy museums, art museums, designer toy shops, outdoor sculptures, Ferris wheels, TV shooting locations, film sets, recording studios and too many other cool places to mention.
However, if you’re curious, look through our archives. I covered our travels extensively via video and photo essay posts.
Of course, at the moment we aren’t exactly making any travel plans due to the pandemic, but hopefully we’ll be back at that again in a year or so.
Since August, 2013, I’ve been posting at least once a day (a couple of posts had to be removed because of threats of an expensive lawsuit from an insane Canadian millionaire, but aside from that, I think I maybe only missed two days due to technical issues). I plan to still be here writing about toys, music, comic books, movies, audio productions, cool places, animation, and anything else that I think looks cool in the world.
I’ve also probably posted around 800 of my original pieces of art in this blog. I’m still trying to get good at it.
I’ve often wondered just exactly how qualified I am to write about pop culture. Don’t get me wrong, not many people around here can match my knowledge of classic animation, comic books, vintage toys or obscure and weird music, but I do fear that I lean a little heavy on nostaliga and don’t keep up with current pop culture trends.
Then I remember that pop culture lasts forever, and writing about The Beatles, The Marx Brothers, The original GI Joe, The Original Captain Marvel, Jack Kirby and New Wave and Progressive Music is still a pretty cool gig. I’m not a technology hipster. I don’t own any Apple products, and I’m still not exactly sure what Tik Tok or Quibi is, but if that makes me a dinosaur, then I’m okay with that.
Dinosaurs are just about the most freakin’ cool things there are. That will never change.
I don’t know what the future holds for PopCult. I’m perfectly content to keep plugging away doing it here for as long as The Charleston Gazette-Mail will have me, and when the day comes when they can no longer spare the server space, I’ll probably pick up my archives and relocate to my own website and at some point I’ll probably get tired of writing at least one post every day, but to be honest, I could see doing this for another fifteen years. I look back at this body of work, and aside from the typos I invariably spot, I feel a sense of pride. I hope you folks like it, too.