What I'm most interested in a lot of the time, culturally, is CROSSOVER. Of particular kinds. I'm really interested in African-American culture, for instance, but not so much where crosses over to mainstream, since most all of it is thoroughly co-opted anyhow--but the stuff that crosses over the other way. The white artists who get played during stepping sets on the south side. I like to notice when cultural phenoms touch each other. I'm interested in if/when/how fat people show up in mainstream media and who from the latter gets adopted by the former. For some reason I am missing a strong interest in matters of gender in this way, but in recent years I've gained a growing interest in this issue with regard to religion. How it is that religious figures who sell millions of books right in/next to the mainstream are totally unknown (you might augur from this, correctly, that my real religion is the mystery novel).
This is all code for the fact that I have been watching the moderately bejeweled, slightly shiny, very face-lifted, under-suspicion evangelizing TV preacher Joyce Meyer a lot. What is of her on TV is not devoid of scandal, but down to basics--preaching, not even that much begging. All the other stuff--the big houses, the financial mysteries, the plastic surgery--I've heard about later, peripherally. You have to acknowledge that this woman is a really great preacher. She's really good, really commanding, gets you to listen, fires you up--it's fascinating and interesting to watch it at work. I have never seen (this is probably a lot of it) a woman preaching like that--she's kind of the anti-Marianne Williamson. I'm listening really hard the whole time for crossover--for how it crosses over into modern secular psychological thought, all the sort of general nondenominational/Buddhist/Unitarian "religious" thinking that goes on, etc.--ways in which the dogma both separates and connects it to the culture around it that has no idea who she is. It's really kinda fascinating. There isn't anything much I've learned about her *outside* of her program which doesn't seem tired and corrupt in tired ways, down to how you could argue she uses the 'god don't like ugly' idea to justify being BakkerSwggartwealthy, but I find it fascinating and occasionally helpful, frankly, to watch her.
I've always said I was one really major life crisis away from some Major Religion--same with vegetarianism; probably one good documentary away from it. Dunno about evangelical Christianity--I'm too Episcopalian, probably--but she sure is fascinating. Pulls 16K people into convention centers at a pop. Oh! And her husband. Finally saw him the other day--the only word is grecianformulaed. Fascinating.
I don't know if anybody else saw Growing Up Sitka Deer on Animal Planet last weekend, but HOW CUTE. Another aminal to get all excited about.