Popular culture was easier in the 1950s and 60s. Depending on your TV antenna there were three or four channels and a few radio stations to enlighten the masses. Everyone knew who Ben, Hoss, and Little Joe were; many even had an inkling about Adam Cartwright, although he was not quite as popular. The news was reliably dispensed to all by Walter Cronkite and there was never a hint of it being "fake."

But even then popular culture was generational. I well remember in the early 60s being dumfounded that my grandmother, at the age of 57, did not know of the Beatles. I was simply aghast--I mean: THE BEATLES!

In the 1960s cable television started to become more mainstream, ushering in a few more channels, a clearer picture and even, in some households, color. In the 1960s pop culture had also started to take a more serious, darker tone. We spent less time galloping around the Ponderosa and instead began to explore strange new worlds. Mr. Cronkite's reporting became quite grim, reporting on a President's assassination and showing us pictures of carnage in far-flung Vietnam. But we still had some laughs and we soldiered on.

The 1970s brought us Hoss' death, Little Joe moved to a smaller house somewhere on a prairie, and before the decade was out even Ben Cartwright had deserted the Ponderosa for a Battlestar.

A half century later our world seems to have changed drastically. Many pay hundreds of dollars per month to "keep up" with (or perhaps be bombarded with?) information 24 hours a day. Keeping track of popular culture is both easier and more difficult than ever. Basic Cable TV and the internet aren't enough. How could one discuss GOT unless one paid extra for premium channels? But even those are now being eclipsed by streaming services such as Netflix, HULU, Amazon Prime, etc. (ad nauseum) being offered at some trifling additional amount of money each month.

I begin to doubt there's any advantage to having so much information on a 24/7 basis and I really can't be expected to know the identity of some deluded, idiotic young singer spreading a false story about her cousin's friend's ballooning testicles. I understand Grandma better now.

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