I don’t know much about motorsports (proven by my use of the term “motorsports”)?but I could immediately connect with an auto-racing expert.

Today, we’ll discuss?pop-culturism, or “culturism” for short.

Pop-culturists are able to discuss a variety of subjects with just about anyone.

Case in point: I don’t know much about motorsports (proven by my use of the term “motorsports”) but I could immediately connect with an auto-racing expert.

“That was some Daytona 500, with that pothole problem and all.”

“Yeah.”

“I wonder if Danica Patrick is relieved she was in the Nationwide instead of Daytona, even though she was out of that race early. Might’ve been less of a headache than ‘PotHoleGate,’ huh?”

This has its limits. It wouldn’t work if you were talking to Danica Patrick.

I’m getting closer to culturist level, but I’m still what is considered a “trivialist.”

People assume a “trivialist” and “pop-culturist” are synonymous. Although many P-culturists are also trivialists, they are not interchangeable.

Think of it this way: If a trivialist were a VW Bus, then a pop culturist would be a Toyota Prius with good brakes.

Culturism doesn’t matter to the same degree as, say, the USA Olympic women’s hockey team. At the very least, though, it helps us avoid appearing out-of-the-loop.

“I read today that King Tut died from malaria and a broken leg. Funny, I thought he died thousands of years ago.”

Culturism requires research, or you’ll be exposed as a fraud. Not to say you aren’t a fraud anyway — but you can fake your fakeness if you keep it real.

It reminds me of a book I read that provided writing tips. One chapter described how an author published a how-to book about backpacking.

The book jacket apparently featured a picture of the author wearing a backpack, but here’s the twist: He had never backpacked in his life. But since his research was impeccable, nobody knew the difference.

My point is, you can sound like you know what’s going on, even if you don’t.

Case in point: Fred Morrison, considered the “inventor” of the Frisbee, died recently. I had long known the Wham-O flying disc (its generic name) was called “Frisbee” because it resembled tins from the Frisbie Pie Company. I didn’t realize that students at Yale once used the Frisbie tins in much the same way as the Pluto Platter, the original name for Morrison’s toy before Wham-O bought the rights, which I also didn’t know until I read stories after Morrison’s death — although I could have pretended I did.

If you found this helpful, I have some backpacking tips for you.

Dennis Volkert is features editor at the Sturgis (Mich.) Journal. Contact him at volkert@
sturgisjournal.com