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What Do You Totally Lie About Having Seen or Read?

I have never read Anne of Green Gables nor seen the movie Pulp Fiction.

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I think we all do this, to a certain extent: if not flagrantly lie about not having consumed a particular popular media property, when the topic comes up we nod along as if we’re in the know. Uh-huh, sure I watched the last season of Battlestar Galactica. Yup! Just don’t quiz me on it.

Sometimes the act of not watching or reading something that everyone else seems to love becomes a thing that you stick to out of a strange sense of pride. I am the only writer I know who didn’t have a youth obsessed with Anne of Green Gables, I whisper to myself at night. I am alone in the universe and unique. Why don’t I just read Anne of Green Gables and see what all the fuss is about, you ask? Well, because my identity is now associated with being a person who has never read Anne of Green Gables. And because I assume its impact is best absorbed in youth and I am no longer youthful.

But I rarely volunteer this information, because of situations like this: last week when I casually copped to never reading Anne of Green Gables, one of my best friends gasped, clutched her chest, and said, “Kaila, I thought I knew you.” Do any of us really know each other, though, and the unconsumed media secrets we keep?

So usually I shut up about Anne of Green Gables.

I have never seen Pulp Fiction. I was too young for it when it came out, and somehow the opportunity to watch Pulp Fiction did not arise or seem like a thing that I wanted to do. As someone who exists in the world, I’ve been exposed to its beats: John Travolta dancing. Uma Thurman and the shot of adrenaline to her chest. Are we done here? Do I really need to see Pulp Fiction? I’ve been okay without it so far. But there’s another beloved property that people act full-on-flabbergasted when I admit to not having seen it. Generally I just nod and say, “Yeah, wow, that overdose scene is really something.” And scene.

Honestly, it feels good to get this off of my chest. What have you never read or watched, but avoid confessing or perhaps lightly fib about because you just can’t handle people’s shocked “Oh my god WHAT but you have to!!!” Have a go at it in the comments. I won’t tell your friends and family if you keep my secret that I have never seen Breaking Bad. That Bryan Cranston sure is great in it, though.

(image: Miramax)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.

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