I’ve been working on a sewing project for my older daughter. It’s a collection of quotes from the year she was born. Pop culture, because I had a hard time searching for anything major without scrolling Wikiquotes for individual names. It was just easier to stick to pop culture. But the thing that struck me and continues to strike me is how it can put you in a moment. Even when I didn’t encounter the pop culture moment in the moment, it’s still very firmly of its time.
It’s not exactly deep to say that everything happens in its own moment, but I think we forget how much pop culture can be a cocoon of moments. Every word can be a framework, putting you into a specific place in a specific time of your life. My daughter wouldn’t let me put one of the songs from the year she was born into it, because she hates it, but when I hear it, I’m the age I was when she was born.
I’m not putting her age or mine here, because they don’t matter. It could be any age, any year. (And because she’s actually older than a few of you.) I looked up what was playing on TV the night she was born, and I don’t think I’m the only one who could feel, while looking over that TV schedule, exactly the same age again. (The same age, making the same stupid mistakes, but that’s a different issue!) Remember where I was when I watched those shows, heard that music.
I admit, you can only be put in a specific year if you’re of that age. My daughter can’t be put in that moment by the collection of quotes; she can’t remember that year. But if, when her half-siblings are her age, she makes collections of quotes from the years they were born, she’ll be able to put herself in the moments the same way. All it takes is being able to remember the time.
And, of course, there’s a certain amount of referencing other pop culture of the time. All those things riffing on Lord of the Dance or Titanic. Every moment plants the ones around it; reference enough of them, is it any wonder you’re back?