Sunday, February 24, 2013

And the Oscar Goes to...Who?

I had thought about maybe having an Oscars party this year - an excuse for the girls to get together and stay up until the wee hours of the morning playing silly movie-related games, making predictions, and playing fashion police. I've never hosted one before, but I went to one of these a couple of years ago in DC that was a lot of fun. However. The nominees came out, and of all the movies nominated, in every single category, I'd seen exactly one. I managed to catch Les Miserables when I was home for R&R, and frankly I didn't think it was that good. I had at least heard of most of the nominated movies from my blog reading, but by no means all of them. It hardly seems worth staying up for.

When you live someplace like Conakry it's hard to keep up with American pop culture. It can be done, but you really have to work at it. The closest thing Conakry has to a movie theater is a place where you can pay a few francs to sit on wooden benches under a tin roof and watch 80's movies dubbed into French shown on a projector. The internet helps, but it's so slow here that movie and TV downloads, legal or otherwise, just aren't practical. Sometimes I can't even get the iTunes store to load. Streaming is next to impossible. I've heard good things about some guy called Frank Ocean, but until this weekend I'd never heard any of his music. I have also recently heard of the Harlem Shake phenomenon, but I've also heard it's no longer cool so I don't know if I should invest the time needed to investigate it.

This media isolation is not an unadulterated evil. I'm sure there's a lot of dreck out there my life is better for not coming into contact with (although I do, unfortunately, know what a Honey Boo Boo is). I also don't get the overexposure that happens so often in the States - when I arrived home in December I didn't know any of the songs in the Top 40 rotation, but after a week in the car with the radio on I was sick of every single one. I'm reading more books. And besides, you don't join the Foreign Service and move to the other side of the world to have a life just like the one you had back home. But in order to get those new experiences, you do have to give some things up.

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