- Be obsessive: You don’t just watch popular TV shows, movies, etc.; you immerse yourself in them. You notice and catalogue every detail and flaw (and rant about every tiny inaccuracy). You memorise entire segments of dialogue and own the soundtrack (no matter how obscure). You analyse every plot point and debate casting decisions as though you were producer or director. In short – embrace geekiness.
- Be proactive: A true pop-culture junkie doesn’t wait until the latest episodes of his favourite TV show eventually trickle into Indian channels (a six month lag? Shudder!). Or until a movie he’s been obsessing about for the past year comes to Indian theatres (possibly never). Online downloads are your new best friend. And if all else fails, there’s always a fellow geek in the U.S. or France or Turkey who can be your DVD supplier (thank god for eBay and Amazon.)
- Be argumentative: Cultivate strong opinions and then air them on online communities, forums and blogs dedicated to the icon/show/movie/book in question. Argue incessantly, incite flame wars, form rival factions and inevitably, splinter communities (with yourself as the supreme commander and moderator, of course). Remember, anyone who doesn’t agree with you is a troll.
- Be creative: Contrary to popular perception, pop-culture junkies don’t merely consume, eyes glazed over and brain disengaged. Apart from the long, rambling analyses and the intense arguments online (see above), there’s also the somewhat shadowy world of fan fiction (where rabid fans write their own stories based on the characters from a particular show/movie/book etc.). And then there’s fan art. And fan videos. And… you get the drift.
- Finally, spend, spend, spend. Whether it’s sci-fi movie memorabilia or classic movie posters or limited edition action figures or anniversary edition special disc sets, you’ve got to own them. They’re your badge of honour. Your point of pride. Fellow junkies judge your worth by them. Newbies worship you for them. You must bid obsessively on eBay; you must covet and collect and display with pride. It’s the price to pay for true junkie-hood.