2016 Pop Culture Goals in Review

Every year I give myself pop culture goals, things to give me a sense of intentionality in what I consume and experience throughout the year. Resolutions are arbitrary, but I find that it helps shape the way that the year goes, pushing you in one direction or another. (Read last year’s here).

I gave myself only two goals last year to make things simple, yet I still had mixed success. I’ll release my goals for 2017 tomorrow, but as a sneak preview I’m giving myself way more to do, an ambitious goal for someone who failed somewhat spectacularly this year. That’s what these goals are for right? Setting up some sort of standard to push one’s self forward even if nothing happens at all.

I’m a bit behind on my best of 2016 schedule (the strange combination of Christmas and sickness–happy holidays, right?), I hope to correct this in the following few days, so stay tuned and check out all the other lists here. 

Last year’s goals:

The goal: Listen to people’s pop cultural recommendations. 

I set this goal so that I would align myself with people’s opinions, trusting–or, at least, submitting myself to–their judgments when it comes to popular culture, an area that I very rarely allow for any outside opinions to sway what I want to watch or participate in. I met this goal in the sense that for the first few months of the year I took notes of things people recommended to me. This was a good and sensible start, but I must confess that I don’t think I ever–consciously at least–followed one person’s recommendation. Now to you, the recommender, I would like to formally apologize. I would like to apologize for not following your recommendation, for which you must feel some sense of betrayal; for not keeping to my word–which must make me look quite arrogant and silly for even doing this in the first place, and finally, I would like to apologize for not caring in the least that I did not follow your recommendation–my life was a spectacularly pleasant one, pop culturally and otherwise, and not following your advice made it, at least marginally, better off for it. To 2017!

The goal: Read a fiction book released within the last year


I did this! Well maybe not technically, because the book I read, Viet Than Nguyen’s The Sympathizer–the tale of a Vietnamese spy living in the US during the Vietnam war–was released in 2015. But I counted it as such because it won the Pulitzer for best novel this year and I figured jumping on the zeitgeist was really what this goal was all about. It was an enjoyable book, one that wrestles with identity, using fantastic prose and politics to explain the inherent struggle of biculturalism. If you want to borrow it, let me know.

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