The comfort of the familiar

Posted: April 21, 2014 in watching
Tags: , , , , ,

I mostly prefer to read and watch new things, but lets face it, there’s a part of all of us that craves the comfortable and the familiar. This weekend some friends stayed over with their young daughter, who will often have cartoons on in the background while she’s playing. In the space of 24 hours she insisted on The Pirates in an Adventure With Scientists twice and Despicable Me three times. That desire for the familiar is deeply ingrained, even in those for whom the whole world is full of novelty and wonder.

We shouldn’t be surprised that we get a lot of familiar, derivative cultural outputs. They’re something that our brains crave, that help us recharge between the new and the adventurous.

And hey, who doesn’t want to watch The Pirates in an Adventure With Scientists over and over again?


  1. Dylan Hearn says:

    It’s the same with books. I love reading fresh stories from new authors but there are some books I go back to time and again (The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay, Iain M Banks Culture Novels, LOTR etc).

    • I’m far less likely to go back again to a book. While it’s not a conscious decision, I suspect it’s my brain responding to the greater time and effort commitment that comes with reading.

      That said, I’ve read Julian May’s Saga of the Exiles three or four times.

  2. I dunno, I have a hard time rewatching movies or rereading books, like I’m wasting time I could have spent on whittling down my to-be-experienced pile. Maybe it’s just that my free time (particularly for reading) is rather restricted now, but I honestly can’t think of anything I’ve reread — ever — except a few that I’d forgotten I’d read in the first place. And that’s probably a good reason to reread something, if you can’t remember a dang thing about it.

    • I often feel that same instinct, that re-reading or re-watching is getting in the way of my chances to experience new things. For me, that means the comfort culture is mostly TV, as it takes less time and effort, and even there I re-watch stuff less than I did.

      Except Archer. Because sometimes I want a stream of hilarious crudity to wake me up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s