I wish I had read Alex Ross' excellent essay when I was 18 and first learned that "theory" was a thing--a thing that was often over my head, but gave me my first bright flashes of concepts I knew I'd be able to grasp once I decided to not be stoned all the time. I wish I had read this essay when I was 22 and had just begun working at a publishing house that published both Man Booker winners and books about winning a good man. I wish I had read this essay when I was 29 and was publishing my first novel, one that was certainly about Corey Hart and Geto Boys songs, but was also about drug addiction, depression and the inner lives of a generation that was taught we could download nostalgia and hang it up on our walls but never learned that it was okay to, like, feel things.
But I'm glad I just read it now, and I'll plan to reread it anytime I need to remind myself why I "do" pop culture, and what exactly, if anything, can be done with it. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/15/naysayers