By James Keller
So you’ve finished high school and Destiny’s Child’s "Survivor" was your grad song. You’re going to the Backstreet Boys concert later this month and last night you went and saw the new Freddie Prinze Jr. movie. When you arrived this morning, you had to turn down Power 107 to hear the parking attendant and you gleefully picked up the National Post as you walked through MacEwan Student Centre this morning.
Contrary to what many people, both in the university and otherwise, will tell you, there’s nothing wrong with any of that.
It’s your choice what entertainment and media you subject yourself to. I think even the most "cultured" of us have been caught on occasion singing along to Britney Spears (hey, it’s catchy). And even though many, many people will tell you otherwise, just because you’re in university doesn’t mean you have to abandon pop culture, sell your SUV and buy a CJSW toque.
On the other hand, it might not be a bad idea.
Fortunately, within this public institution of free thought lies a wealth of independent media and entertainment. From the punk bands who frequent the Mac Hall Ballroom to the three independent media outlets on campus, you’re surrounded by forms of entertainment and information either not readily available or perhaps unknown to you before now.
Again, you shouldn’t drop all your ties to popular culture and burn your CD collection, but you should at least attempt to take advantage of what there is to offer. Listen to CJSW once in a while and get a taste of music from the other side of the table. The variety is far beyond what you find on other radio stations in town. From punk, to drum and bass, to classical to even spoken word, there is something for every taste out there, and new artists and styles you’ve never even heard before. Go see a play put on by the University of Calgary Drama Department, Nickle and Dime or U of C’s own Hidden Insanity. Turn on NUTV (they’re even on cable!), and check out what TV was like before Silicon Graphics. Open the Gauntlet and find the news, movie and music reviews and, most importantly, editorial views you won’t find in the Herald or the Sun. You could even read–gasp–the Gazette and have a quick view into the university administration’s eyes.
The point is not that your old entertainment is somehow inferior. The point is that with all this information available to you within arms reach now that you’re here–not to mention that all that campus media mentioned is funded by your fees–you should try to take advantage as much as possible.
So, as the old cliché goes, you’ve got the chance here to broaden your horizons and experience culture and expression much different from before. But don’t pawn off your Britney Spears CDs. Just compliment them by throwing some Belle and Sebastian in the mix.