While we do not have anything the equivalent to Thanksgiving here in Australia, I love the idea behind the holiday. I like how you take the time to stop and reflect on what you are thankful for. So much of the time we do not focus on what we have, rather it’s what we don’t have, so having the opportunity to take stock of your life, I think there should be more of it.
Pop culture has always been a big part of my life and no matter how frustrating, heartbreaking or cruel certain aspects of it can be at times (being a fangirl is a lifelong commitment after all), pop culture has certainly enriched my life for the better. So without further ado, in no particular order, here’s my top 10 Things in Pop Culture I am thankful for.
I would find it extremely difficult to get through a work day without this. Each day after starting up my computer, choosing that days playlist is on the top of my agenda. From Glee to Broadway musicals, from Aussie rock to cheesy 80s… anything I could possibly want or think of, I can usually find it here. I also love searching for playlists based off one song. It’s introduced me to some amazing artists I’d have never heard of otherwise and means I’m basically able to listen to my whole music collection at work without having to upload it to my work computer.
They call it the happiest place on earth, and it certainly comes pretty close. Like almost every child I know, my dream was always to go to Disneyland. Living all the way down under, getting to the Land of the Mouse is not exactly cheap or easy. For example, as a child the nearest park (Tokyo Disney) was a 10+ hour flight. However, my dream finally came true when I was 15 and it was even better than I could have ever imagined. Now having been back to Disneyland at least once every time I’ve visited California (currently 7 times) and Disneyland Paris once (not even comparable to Disneyland though that was 15 years ago), there’s no other place on earth like it that allows and actually encourages you to be a child again for a day. Walking through those gates you’re a 5-year-old again able to experience the world in all its wonder – though thankfully you’re not the height of a 5-year-old though so you can go on some of the cooler rides.
Like so many things in my life, I have no idea why I resisted this for so long. As a means to get up-to-date, immediate news on all your favourite fandoms, Twitter beats everything hands down. At times a blessing, at times a curse, for all involved, what other forum provides us with the opportunity to engage with the stars of our favourite TV show/movie/music act/book/blog/youtuber/etc. It has really changed the way fans engage not only with each other, but with creators and stars of their fandom.
I really do not want to even want to hazard a guess at how many hours I’ve spent devouring over fanfic. However, some of it is among some of the best pieces of literature I’ve ever read and I’m saying that across a number of fandoms that I am/have been involved in. In fact some of my favourite authors have had their work published, and I’m not talking E.L. James. I’m so thankful for the thousands of authors I’ve read over the years who find the courage to send their babies out into the world, for providing us with those scenes that aren’t show or written, for fixing mistakes made by the writers, and for playing with our favourite characters in AU settings.
5. Casts and Crew
My earlier point on Twitter leads nicely into my next point, the casts and crews of my favourite fandoms. Yes it is good publicity for them, yes it is a necessary part of modern day celebrity, but I am extremely thankful for the access, time, and generosity of the cast and crew of my fandoms. In particular, the Glee family, especially crew members Joaquin Sedillo (DP) and Andrea Medina (Costumes). Just check out some of the twitter mentions of your favourite actor/singer/show and see some of the things they have to see day in, day out. The fact that they are still willing to engage with us constantly amazes me, but I’m so thankful for it.
6. Fans to Friends
Looking at those I consider friends, it’s amazing the number who I have met because of a mutual love of pop culture and who I’m still in regular contact with today though that fandom is in a lull period (because really fandoms never die… especially with the constant remakes and reboots that occur). From a wet t-shirt wearing Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice, to Shakespeare, from a galaxy far, far away, to a choir room in Lima, Ohio, from kids discovering they’re wizards, to hobbits embarking on a journey there and back again, there’s nothing like the feeling of meeting someone who just gets you and thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to camp out in a shopping centre for 19 hours for a book signing because they’re right along there with you.
7. Star Wars
Arguably the first fandom I was ever involved in, without really realising it. One of my favourite games to play as a child was Star Wars (I’m the perfect Princess Leia!). Star Wars opened my mind to realise that we’re only limited by what we can imagine. It kickstarted and fed my creative spirit as well as my interest in astronomy and my wish to travel among the stars.
8. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
So point number 2 on my “why did I resist this for so long list?”. This is my Dad’s favourite book, and given how similar our tastes are, you would imagine I’d love this. Maybe for that reason I resisted reading the book until after I’d seen Fellowship of the Ring. For whatever reason, maybe because it came out a whole two weeks earlier in the US where I was currently on university exchange than in Australia or because of the hype surrounding the movie, I found myself in a cinema watching the first film and being completely blown away (not to mention developing a little crush on those mischievous hobbits, Merry and Pippin). Like Star Wars before it, for me it re-engaged my curiosity and creativity and made me actually leave the house on Boxing Day for two years.
9. Harry Potter
I’m forever indebted to JK Rowling for the books, for the films, for bringing the joy of reading into so many people’s lives, for inspiring the current generation of writers, such as Chris Colfer, for helping make being nerdy kinda cool and for helping to bring about Starkid, the A Very Potter Musical trilogy, and for me, introducing me to Darren Criss. Long live Harry Freakin’ Potter!!!
And we come to my final thing about pop culture I’m thankful for and there’s so much about Glee I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for it introducing me to the amazing cast and crew, for the number of friends I’ve made because of love for the show, and the music I’ve rediscovered or discovered for the first time. However, one thing I’m most thankful to Glee is that it brought me here to 4YE. Because of my love of this show I answered a little tweet calling for writers and things took off from there.
Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating and thank you to all of you for allowing us 4YE staffers to share our love of pop culture with you every day.