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If it weren’t for the Internet, I wouldn’t know anything about pop culture.

Good grief. So. Today, this very day, I just learned about a PSA campaign that’s apparently been going on for 19 fucking years. The more you know… Yeah, the more I know, now!

I had no idea this was a thing from the TV. I just thought when people said “the more you know…” or used it as a clever quip on some post they made online, they were just being supercilious, condescending, or snarky all on their own. I had no idea it was from a cheeztastic TV PSA campaign that had been going on for well over half of my ridiculous life.

One might wonder how in the hell somebody who grew up in the USA, who had access to a TV, and who is firmly in that “MTV Generation” age range could possibly not know about something like this. Well, for a couple of reasons. #1 is that I grew up out in the country and we had shitty reception and basically got about two-and-a-half TV stations. The two that we got clearly were ABC and PBS. I think the third was CBS, but I don’t remember because we nearly never watched Channel 10 because it was either staticky, blurry, or the sound came and went. So when we watched TV it was either ABC sit-coms (back in the day my friends and I totally liked Full House) or PBS stuff. Once I outgrew Sesame Street, the pickins became pretty slim. I’d pretty much stopped watching TV by highschool when the predictability of sit-coms began to dawn on me. I watched Arsenio Hall during the summers, but then that show was cancelled and I was pretty much out of luck. I’d watch Beavis & Butthead and a few other cartoons when I was in college and had cable in the dorms, and taped episodes of Babylon 5 after I moved out of the dorm and no longer had cable. Later on, I got into Buffy the Vampire Slayer (when the series was nearly over with) and have several seasons of that on DVD. But since the late 1990s, I haven’t really watched broadcast TV. DVDs are more convenient and before that borrowing other people’s tapes did the trick.

I’ll sometimes preview a show a bit on YouTube or similar and see if it is something I would be interested in getting from Net Flix. If it turns out to be something I would re-watch, I will keep an eye out for a secondhand copy on Amazon Marketplace.

I’ve also had kind of a longtime adversarial attitude toward commercials and PSAs. I’d get embarrassed by the cornier commercials…I’d just squirm and cringe and flee the room. I’d get annoyed by some others. I got very sick of being told to “just say no” and to “take a bite out of crime,” and I felt that the Schoolhouse Rock shorts were an unwelcome educational intrusion into my blissfully school-free Saturday morning cartoons-and-sweetened-cereal reality break. If we’d even had an NBC affiliate locally, I’d probably have walked out of the room during the “The More You Know” spots, anyway. When I was watching TV, I’d usually leave during commercial breaks to get craft supplies, play with the dog, stare into the fridge, torment my sister, or use the bathroom.

Anyway, I realized after a while that this “the more you know” meme had to have come from someplace, so I Googled that phrase and learned (to my chagrin) that it was a long-running PSA campaign that should have been part of my stock of popular-cultural currency…if I hadn’t grown up in the boondocks living in a cave, obviously.

Another very recent instance of learning about some pop-cultural thing via the Internet was during the course of my regular reading of deliciousjuice.com (I need to add her to my blogroll!) and she’d linked a YouTube video of a new musical segment from Sesame Street. The singer was a pretty, ponytailed woman with thick bangs and a girlish voice. She sang a sprightly tune about the number 4, counting four monsters, four penguins, and four chickens who’d just come back from the shore. The singer is Feist, who has apparently enjoyed enormous popularity and almost excessive radio play of her song “1-2-3-4” which was used in an i-pod commercial. I had no idea.

I’m going to be looking into her music a little more. If that kind of cute, bouncy mood is typical of her work, then I think I will really like it.

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