I’m Officially (Pop Culture) Old

With the exception of a few brief breaks, I’ve subscribed to Entertainment Weekly since I went to college in 1992.  I actually started reading it when my dad first subscribed even before that, which I’m pretty sure he started his subscription not too long after the magazine was launched in 1990.

For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed the magazine, and it’s always helped me learn about movies and TV shows I want to watch, music I want to listen to, books I want to read, and stories about various elements in the entertainment industry.

The last couple of years have been nice because I’ve gotten the magazine for free.  Our city is part of a recycling rewards program, where you get points for your curbside recycling activity that you can then redeem to things like gift cards, local stores and restaurants, and magazine subscriptions.  It’s pretty cool to get free stuff for doing something that we would do anyways.

Lately, I’ve found that I have barely been reading my Entertainment Weekly magazine anymore, and when I do, I might spend a few minutes on it.

Since it’s a reward that ties to recycling, I feel a little bit of guilt of the wastefulness (even though I do recycle the magazine).  I also have to wonder if it’s time to give up the subscription as I just don’t seem as interested in a lot of the information, combined with the fact that I can get much of the information elsewhere.

Consider:

  • Movies – I’ll be honest.  I barely watch movies anymore.  This makes me sad in a way because I used to love going to the movies, renting movies, and could tell you just about anything with movies.  Now, we might go to the movies once a year (not counting the kids movies), and we have such little time to watch movies that I can easily get my fix through Netflix.  I can look up the info on the web for the few times I need it.
  • TV – The information on television shows is probably the most handy, but I can get that in so many places that it’s just not as useful anymore.  My website of choice for TV information is the TV section of the AV Club.  I usually get information leading up to shows that trigger interest, and that’s generally enough.
  • Music – Again, back in the day I would buy tons and tons of CDs (mostly by the mail order services that I don’t believe exist anymore), so the information on music would be very helpful.  Now, I listen to the radio, to streaming music (via Slacker), and download MP3s through the Freegal app associated with my library. On the rare occasion a song or album really interests me, I’ll buy it or download it, but it’s just not often enough to justify a weekly update.
  • Books – I do all of my reading by renting books from the library.  I subscribe to a newsfeed so whenever the library gets a new book, I can look at it and decide if it’s something I want.  I have found a few books in Entertainment Weekly that I later went back and checked out for a read, but I don’t really need the magazine to help me find stuff I like to read.
  • Stories on pop culture – The magazine does a great job of doing some headline stories often tied to the things above.  Which is great, except now that I am not as engaged, they’re not as interesting as they used to be.  Plus, I generally read NBC News and CNN, and can get a handle on what’s going on.

I think when the current subscription runs out, I will not re-subscribe.  I may consider switching to the e-tablet version that I believe you can now get for points, but I’m not even sure about that.  While it’s not costing me anything, the guilt factor plus the fact that I can apply the points to something more meaningful makes it so that it might be time to move on from Entertainment Weekly.

If I do, will the decision be permanent?  I don’t know. One thing that might bring me back, if I do give up my subscription, is that I don’t want to get stuck in ‘my generation’ when it comes to pop culture.  I don’t want to be one of those people that listens to nothing but 90’s music and talks about how terrible movies are today compared to what they were ‘in my day’.  If I find myself drifting too far back to that, I might just have to pull myself out of that trap, but for now, I might be able to go without.

Readers, what do you think?  Is it time to pull the plug on Entertainment Weekly?  How do you rate yourself in terms of pop culture knowledge and how has that changed as you’ve aged?

13 thoughts on “I’m Officially (Pop Culture) Old”

  1. Yeah, I think it’s time to pull the plug. I’ve spent a lot less time keeping up with pop culture…..and I don’t care. I could care less if I know who’s twerking, what craptastic rap artist is making a fool of themselves this week, etc, etc. I still buy music though – a song at a time through itunes from hard rock tunes I hear on Sirius radio. If not knowing what’s going on in the pop world makes me old, then give me my rocker, ’cause I’ve just lost the desire to care about it at this point. 🙂

  2. This says it right here:

    “I’ve found that I have barely been reading my Entertainment Weekly magazine anymore”

    There’s your answer. Even if it’s ‘free’ if you don’t read it, it’s not worth the effort to subscribe to something you barely use. I’m no minimalist, but this seems like an easy decision.

  3. I think that there’s so much content online for free, that it’s easy to stay up-to-date with all the current movies, music and trends that you could easily ditch your magazine subscription. If you truly aren’t reading the mags and instead just recycling them, give them up!

  4. LOL! I don’t think changing with the times qualifies you to be a target of our culture’s ambient ageism. If that were so, then 20-somethings would be old! 😀

    As an old (really!) print journalist and retired buggy-whip maker, seems to me what you describe about Entertainment Weekly is the long, slow trajectory to oblivion that virtually all print publications are riding. Where those of us who were newshounds and bookworms used to get our learning and our entertainment from printed words on paper, now it’s easy for us to get all the information and entertainment we could possibly crave — and more — off the Internet, for free. Why pay to have a magazine delivered to your recycling barrel when you can get everything it offers (except maybe the smell of ink) in a few keystrokes?

    The movie industry lost me decades ago, when producers’ idea of “entertainment” morphed into gut-wrenching violence. I believe my son wasn’t even born yet when I made up my mind that I would never set foot inside another movie theater — making me not exactly elderly at the time. It’s just too difficult to find a movie whose imagery doesn’t make you want to throw up. And again, when you do find such things, you get them for $8/month from Netflix.

    Television? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ: something to fall asleep in front of. From the git-go, I refused to pay for cable — why pay for 87 gerjillion channels with nothing on? Most television content is either insultingly stupid or, like movies, revoltingly violent — very, very little of it is worth spending time on. And there, too, you can find a lot of the good stuff online for free (John Stewart, PBS shows, History Channel shows and on and on and on) or through services like Netflix.

    Music? It’s on the Internet.

    Books? I have a really, really hard time breaking loose time to read books — there are just too many external demands, many of which come from…yup! The Internet.

    You’re not getting older. You’re just getting with the younger set!

  5. Ahhh I don’t like any of the pop culture magazines at all. I like to go on People.com every now and then but I hate reading all of the negative news.

  6. “Pull the plug!”…Like you, for whatever reason, I know longer have reason to see a movie, buy a book or pay for music. I guess we are old…LOL. I find the most valuable thing in my life is ….time….

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