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FOMO: From Hobbits to Stevie Nicks, some pop culture phenomenons never seem to stick

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Smith Galtney

For the record, I don’t hate any of these things. In fact, it bothers me that I don’t click with them. Whenever I hear my friends going on about them, which is pretty much all the time, I start to worry. Am I missing out on something? Am I’m too narrow-minded, not open to new experiences? Then, of course, I revert to my barely latent high-school self and think, Am I hopelessly uncool? It’s all very sad, especially when you consider I’m a grown man in my 40s.

The never-ending stories

I’m not big on Hobbits and Middle Earth. I’ve only seen one episode of Game of Thrones, one Hunger Games movie. When it comes to vampires, I prefer Salem’s Lot and The Hunger to True Blood and Twilight. This has less to do with extreme indifference—epic fantasy really isn’t my thing—than with commitment-phobia. Where do you even start with these things? At this point, if I want to catch up with Harry Potter, I know that will require 4,100 pages of reading and nearly 20 hours of television time. And that ain’t gonna happen, not when I still haven’t read anything by Cormac McCarthy or even watched The Wire yet.

Anything Created by Ryan Murphy

Murphy makes the kind of “bold, daring” TV that often makes Entertainment Weekly spurt “must-see” praise, and since cheap publicity usually triggers my FOMO delirium, I naturally fell in line. But after paying good money for the first season of American Horror Story, I got bored with all the dumb, unlikable characters and soapy, sensational dialogue like, “It’s no wonder I don’t want to stick my dick in you anymore!” My friends say it’s “bitchy fun.” I just think it’s bitchy. And I don’t care how many times Murphy changes up the story or dresses up Jessica Lange as David Bowie, I’m not going back.

Stevie Nicks

Look, I love her. But I live in fear of those who really love her. It’s like when you go to a place that serves really good burritos, and as you enjoy your food, someone at the table next to you says, “This burrito is a goddess.” Then the person sitting across from them proclaims, “This burrito is the angel of my dreams!” And when you decide to speak out—“um, it’s just a burrito, actually”—the whole restaurant jolts and hisses at you. So you lay low, afraid to say more, like how the burrito tasted much better 30 years ago and that you’re just really f*cking sick of “Rhiannon.”

David Lynch

Along with Radiohead and Chekhov and David Foster Wallace and Captain Beefheart, Lynch is one of those things I’m always trying, and failing, to genuinely love. I try because I know there’s a great artist at work here, and because—make way for that high-school kid—Lynch’s cult makes me feel unworthy! When I tell them Eraserhead grosses me out, or that Mulholland Drive had me up until the Club Silencio sequence, I can see it in their faces: “You just don’t get it, do you? You’re not smart and cool, like we.” So I keep watching. And I stay hopeful. After all, it took me 20 years to finally “get” Kate Bush, so maybe one day I’ll truly, actually like Twin Peaks.

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