Pop culture lies to us all the time. It tries to sell us things we don’t want to buy. It makes us act in ways that are unnatural. Worst of all, it tries to sugarcoat stuff realities.
So when a pop culture artifact actually presents pure truth, we ought to applaud.
First, and maybe best, example: Warren Zevon’s “My Shit’s Fucked up.” It tells a profound and painful truth so plainly that it makes almost all other songs seem like trifling lies. Other songs are fluffed up words about love and control and power. This is a song about helplessness and inevitability sung in the most stripped-down language possible. It was written by a man who died of cancer before he was diagnosed with cancer and after you hear it for the first time you might never want to hear it for the second time.
I was spent a week in a hospital when a part of my body I had never given a second thought to decided it didn’t want to work properly anymore. In the grand scheme of sickness, a week in a hospital bed is nothing. People who have really suffered would look at a week as a minor inconvenience. But still, one of the strongest feelings I’ve ever had was the need to get out of that hospital bed.
And, as Warren said, it will happen to you.