Guilty pleasures is a subject I’ve wanted to broach for awhile, because I think a person’s guilty pleasures–and her attitudes towards the notion of having guilty pleasures–says a great deal about someone.
|Dudeskull has listened to your arguments and is ready to render a verdict re: your coolness.|
I grapple with the idea of having guilty pleasures, because I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate to feel guilty about liking stuff. On the other hand, there are things I like that I recognize are not sophisticated or nuanced or challenging, and I don’t mind acknowledging that.
I think that the term “guilty pleasure” is a rescuing phrase because it says “Hey, I like this…but I really am cool–HONEST!”
There are lot of things that interest me about the notion of guilty pleasures because I do think we discover things about ourselves when we really think about what we consider a guilty pleasure…and what we’re willing to reveal about ourselves via guilty pleasures. For instance, I will–without hesitation–cop to reading romance novels and watching daytime soaps. I’ll say it to anyone within listening range. JUST. DON’T. CARE. However, there a couple of songs in my iTunes liberry I’m pretty sure I’ve told exactly 0 people about. Why is that? And why is music the medium that I tend to be most discreet about? I think it’s gotta be because so for so many people, musical taste is an indicator of coolness, and, heck, just good taste in general. It’s almost like an outfit. And nobody wants to be caught wearing a day-glo orange fishnet wifebeater.
Amanda Marcotte has a great piece on this topic. I like that her angle focuses on guilty pleasures revealing prejudices. It’s really, really interesting and thought-provoking. Be sure to note the part where the dude says his guilty pleasures–music-wise–are Katy Perry and Lily Allen? Eh? Katy Perry and Lily Allen have nothing to do with each other except that they both happen to be in possession of vaginas (one assumes). Like Amanda, the first thing I wondered is if perhaps he felt guilty about listening to them because of said vagina-having status. Unfortunate. (For the record, I’d have no problem with anyone liking either lady, though I loathe the made-soley-for-the-male-gaze song “I Kissed a Girl” with a white-hot passion that burns with the heat of a thousand suns.)
And then there’s the whole question of what constitutes a guilty pleasure. You’ll notice the title of my entry is “I Like Some Justin Timberlake Songs!” And that’s true, I do. But are they guilty pleasures? I don’t know. Are his songs slick, over-produced and palatable to large swaths of the listening public? Sure. But I’d still contend those songs are good songs. So I’m not sure if I should feel guilty about liking to them.
So, anyway, what are your thoughts on guilty pleasures? Do you think the term is useful? Do you have any? If you do, please share. This is a strictly judgement-free zone. But please don’t blow your whole wad (at least re: music) today; I’d like to do a Guilty Pleasures Random Music Friday tomorrow. 😀