REALITY BITES: hope and other poems (issue #4)


Pop culture in 2017. Helpful and wonderful and exhausting and terrifying. What I am trying to do with Reality Bites is meant to be relatively light-hearted and fun. But after the election, my feelings about it have shifted. This doesn't necessarily mean I want to change what the zine is about at its core, but at least for this and other upcoming issues, I would like to focus on an emotional theme rather than a specific pop culture icon.

The name of the zine itself is important in how I want to continue publication. The zine's namesake, the 1994 film directed by Ben Stiller and starring Queen Winona and Lady Garofalo, is the story of Gen X slackerdom and a cult hit for 90s college kids. I graduated college three (wtf) years ago and, like many of the characters in the movie, I am cynical and sarcastic, caught between certainty and ambivalence, and just kind of trying to figure it all out.

The name Reality Bites is also meant to point toward the idea that sometimes our own personal reality can suck a little bit, that escaping into pop culture can be somewhat restorative. Not a cure-all, not in excess, but to briefly restore certain parts of ourselves or distract from the challenges of everyday life or to learn and grow with characters that we love.  

Everyone has had different reactions to recent political events. Most days I am tired and overwhelmed, but on a lot of those days I am also ready to keep moving, keep learning, keep welcoming new ideas and people and perspectives and reality and silliness into my everyday life. I won't say I don't have hope, but hope is certainly one emotion that is severely lacking in everyday media.

This issue of Reality Bites is one I would like to represent a wide variety of what "hope" can mean in society today. What I want from submissions is basically this:

What gives you hope in pop culture today?

Whatever that means to you! Send in writing or art about the books/shows/movies/people/other pop culturey things that inspire you, that are important to better understanding our world, our fellow humans, and ourselves. Poems commenting on the media or digital society, comics of you and your friends loving on your favorite shows and hating on the negativity in the world, a collage of BeyoncĂ©'s pregnancy photoshoot photos, or an opinion piece on why you think everyone should read rupi kaur's milk and honey or Caitlyn Moran's Moranifesto. Provide some post-election positivity or spread the bitterness on real thick. Really, almost anything goes!

Images in black&white. Writing 800ish words or less.

Email your submissions (or questions/comments) to

Deadline: March 16th

Victoria Smith