Confessions of a Hater

Hello. My name is Leanna Renee Hieber. I'm very honored to be here. I am an actress, a playwright, an author and sometimes I've been a hater.

For my inaugural post here at popculturedivas I figured I'd best introduce myself. And come clean. Pop Culture and I have a stormy relationship.

I was the girl, years ago, at Miami University of Ohio, (J. Crew U. to many) a school with multiple thousands, who got stopped by someone on the street who took one look at my fishnets, my choker, my black combat boots, my black school-girl skirt and said "Hey, you're the one with the car. With the bumper stickers."

Out of thousands, I was visually picked out as the owner of the car with the bold black bumper-stickers reading "Anti-crombie" and "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups" and "Bite Me" (replete with fanged smiley face). Oh, and I had a lot of plastic bats that hung from the ceiling of the car that bobbed pleasantly while I drove.

I reveled in the fact that I didn't subscribe to what everyone else was wearing or listening to, I defined myself as Anti-Pop by what was around me. I was, of course, creating another stereotype. Yet I did buck perceptions in rural Ohio. People looked at my goth-gear and I smiled at them. This 'perky goth' did not compute. I engaged many people in friendly, in-depth discussions about looks, styles, interests, attitudes and not judging books by their covers.

But what is Anti-Pop but just another vein of Pop Culture? I gotta tell ya, Hot Topic is pretty mainstream. (That's where I bought all those bumperstickers and most of my clothes.) Who's seen that South Park episode with the Goth kids trying to distinguish themselves from the "Douchy Vampire kids?" and so they burn down the Hot Topic? Definitely one of my favorite South Park episodes. (I like South Park. Happens to be pretty popular)

I was the girl that held out on Harry Potter. Everyone else liked it. I was skeptical. What is now one of my greatest treasures in all the world? One of the crowning inspirations for my own fantasy fiction?

Who is irresistible to me when she comes on the radio?

(Psst, she's pretty popular)

And since I work as an extra in New York based TV, what show do I work on most often?

That would be Gossip Girl.

I love working in Television, I love being on set, I love the details of what it takes to make a show. (Psst. TV = Pop Culture)

And my favorite TV show?

Last time I checked, pretty popular. (Yes, I'm sad it's over)

So I still wear the combat boots and the fishnets, no, it was not a phase. :) But I've come to terms with the fact that when something is popular, while it may not mean it's God's gift to society, I should check it out for myself and decide. And not be a hater. After all, don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Now. Your turn. What have you been a hater about? Have you held out on something you now find fabulous? Are you a pop culture skeptic or optimist? How do YOU define pop culture?

Leanna Renee Hieber is the author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, a Gothic Victorian dark fantasy series, debuting with Dorchester Publishing in mass-market paperback at the end of August.


  1. Love the topic, Leanna! And I'm going to have to look up that South Park episode...that sounds hilarious!

    As for me, I'm a pop culture optimist to the MAX! If I hear about something that's popular I'll watch it, read it, listen to it, wear it, etc... I'm always willing to give something a chance, especially if close friends are pressuring me and assuring me that I will "LOVE IT!" That doesn't mean I always like it. There are many things I've "given a go" that haven't sparked my fancy. For the most part though, I am a main-streamer...and very proud of it :)

    Just a few things I love: Twilight (!!!), Harry Potter, Romantic Comedies (even the predictable ones!), American Idol, sitcoms with laugh tracks (and just as many without!), oh and, of course, romance novels :)

  2. Ha, I can top you in the "uncoolness" department. Have a kid and your life will get "uncool" very fast. Combat boots and fishnets stockings don't work for chasing a toddler around! Had to retire my leather motorcycle jacket that I have worn since college -too heavy and too bulky, as I said carting stuff around for a three year old will make you rethink fahion in a big way!

    My favorite artist now is sadly, Britney Spears! Why, you may ask...becaue I commute forty minutes to an hour every day one way to work and the tempo of modern pop music keeps my daughter entertained while refraining from fussing and whining in her car seat. Big sigh.

    For the record I HATE HATE BRITNET SPEARS. See, I haven't lost all credibility have I? Yes, I will do almost anything to shut my daughter up....


  3. Jerrica,

    thanks for weighing in! I'll always be happy to hear your pop culture recommendations!


    Lol thanks for sharing, Moms ARE super cool and I very much admire your willingness to suffer through The Spears for the sake of your daughter! I can't say I'm a Spears fan either but gosh if "Toxic" isn't catchy!

  4. I still haven't joined the world of Harry Potter readers--it's still too popular for my tastes, and I'm still bitter about all the people trying to force me to read it.

    But Pink and Gossip Girl are another matter completely. My new fave is All-American Rejects. I can't get enough of that whiny voice and emo lyrics.

  5. LOVE the post! I don't keep up with the pop music scene at all. In fact, I sometime feel like one of the last people in NYC listening to country. Yes, I love country music. And I can't resist a song about a pick-up truck. Although recently, I've developed a passion for Beyonce.

    I'm a total hater of fast food restaurant chains. Would you consider that pop culture? They are certainly part of our culture in some way. At the top of my list are Outback Steakhouse and Ruby Tuesdays, or similar places that simply cannot pull together a decent vegan menu option. I haven't been inside one in years, but I would say I'm still a hater of places like that and I don't think I'm going to find something fab there anytime soon.

  6. The whole Twilight phenom still has me sighing and rolling my eyes. It took a looong time for me to figure out what the hype was and when I did, I still wasn't all that impressed.

    So I guess you could say I pick my pop culture carefully. In the end, my wallet dictates all of my indulgences, pop culture or not. I guess the only "pop culture" icon I pay attention to these days is SpongeBob SquarePants. Assuming you can call him pop culture. ;-)

  7. One aspects of pop culture that I've always hated was the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK. I still hate them. I think they are talentless hacks and I hate all the screaming girls.
    But I love most pop culture, it's an epoch of our collective lives. How many times have you heard, I Like Big Butts, by Sir Mix-a-lot and your memories of that time come alive.
    Pop culture can be fun and it wouldn't last forever. Sadly the New Kids on the block have gotten back together and released an album but the screaming girls are gone.

  8. Love the new look/name for the blog!

    Great post, Leanna :-)

    I miss BSG, too.

  9. I refuse to watch reality TV. People go on about these shows and as much as I think some of them sound interesting, I refuse to watch because I know I'll get sucked in. I'd rather be a hater. lol.

    I also held out on Harry Potter. And I refuse to finish the Twilight saga. Slap me silly, but there it is.

    All that aside, however, if I do catch something popular and get sucked in, I'm not ashamed to admit it.

  10. Popculture, lol, who doesn't love a good emo lyric?

    Sarah, hi hon! Ain't nothin' wrong with songs about pick-up trucks. Yeah, I'd say fast food is definately a pop culture item. And I'm with you all the way about rejecting it, although I am not beyond the occasional McDonalds french fry run...

    Marcia! SpongeBob, of all things, what a hoot! Thanks for dropping in, and yes, my purse strings are very tight these days so that definately dictates a lot of current purchases for me too.

    Mageela, NKOTB! I was never a fan of them then or now, but what a great point you make about memory. If I hear 'hangin' tough' or Sir Mix-a-lot, then it brings back a lot of memories, and that's a really valuable thing, even if you're ambivalent about the content.

    Maureen! Next writers conference I see you, we will have to drink many beers and discuss BSG!!!!!!!

    Kathryn m'dear, yes I'm with you about reality TV, partly for content but also because I'm an actor and reality TV has taken a lot of work from quality, trained actors and actresses and remains a great deal non-union.

    Thanks so much for your valuable and diverse comments, everyone!

  11. Hate - The Jonas Brothers, the hype around Twilight and previously, Harry Potter. The lasy mostly due to the whole plagiarism thing on the story. I do not understand how people think all these are so 'big' phenomenons! Twilight is fine, but why all the fuss? The Jonas Brothers - some people actually find them cute? (my inner biatch coming out, sorry, will go look for my good friend Blair Waldorf)

    But then again, never fitted the mainstream either. Loved pop music but always felt something was lacking there, the something being that little extra which was present in songs of the eighties and early nineties.

    One hate issue I did give in but it turned out I made a big mistake - Daniel Craig as James Bond. I loved Pierce Brosnan in the role, and then the hype was about blond Bond and I got caught, only to finally watch Casino Royale and see this man being the epitome of Bond that no actor has conveyed before.

    Since then, I prefer to make my own opinion on things.

    Btw, love, love, love Gossip Girl!!

    Great post, well done!



  12. Way back in college I looked down on the jocks with a free ride to school. Then I went to work for the swimming coach and saw how hard they worked for their "free" tuition.

  13. LOL! It was your destiny to write for Popculturedivas!

    I'm rather like you in that I don't gravitate toward what the general population is into. For me it's not so much that I'm a hater - it's more that what pop culture offers does not engage me. For the most part.

    The Harry Potter films are some of my favorites, especially The Goblet of Fire. Haven't read the books except for the first one because I'm more of a film person than a book person.

    Twilight - also haven't read it but saw the film. Wasn't as disappointed because it was obviously made for girls in the tween stage - and girls need their own movies as much as anyone else does.

    My 'hates' tend to be things like Friends, and Sex and the City, and The Devil Wears Prada - stuff like that.

    I much prefer Sin City, and 300, and RocknRolla, and True Blood, and Moral Orel. Of course, I am a passionate ballet freak, so there you go.

  14. Hey Leanna: Welcome to popculturedivas! I here you and understand. I went through love/hate phases throughout my youth - I loved Duran Duran when I was 14 - 16 then for a few years after that I "hated" them in public that is - but secretly...I still loved them. I still do. I guess what it taught me is that if you like something - anything - it's not necessarily being anti-something else. I love Gossip Girl! I'll have to look for you :)

  15. Ah, love and hate...

    For me, the resistance started with fashion. I never understood why people would flock to clothes based on what other people looked good in. My first defiance at age 14 was buying a purple bra. *laughs*

    During my high school years there was some pretty lame music chugging on the radio, which is why I rebelled and listened to old Rolling Stones records (pre-Mick Taylor, I was a Brian Jones and blues fan).

    Even now I find if too many people insist I must love something the resistance kicks in. *snort*

    I still love pop culture, and yet in my drawer at the ready is a purple bra. *grin*

    Great post!!

    Chiron O'Keefe

  16. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  17. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  18. Z, thanks! I am with you; totally skeptical of a blonde Bond. I think Craig is INCREDIBLE in the role, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are my fave Bond flicks of all time (and I simply adored Pierce). I know it's sacrilege to say Connery doesn't rank anywhere near your favorite bond, but, well, he doesn't.

    Maggie, you are so right, it's easy to think one thing about a group if you're not seeing the other side of things, great point!

    Hey Joanna! Thanks again for the invite, I totally had those "love in private hate in public" things, I was that way with a lot of my favorite Goth stuff until I finally got the guts to start wearing things and playing music around friends.

    Chiron, purple bra = genius. Awesome touchstone to one's first act of 'counterculture' however they may define it. :)

    Nancy - Betty, we're so glad you like Popculturedivas, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and we look forward to seeing you again soon!


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