We’ve all done it. Mumbled something about what we’ve been reading or watching while carefully looking down and away from the person we’re talking to. Explained hurriedly that we know it’s silly, but it’s a guilty pleasure, a way to turn our brain off. And admittedly, there’s plenty of things out there that a lot of people enjoy because they’re dumb, because they’re silly, because they don’t require a lot of intent thought. But that’s no reason to be embarrassed about them, and goodness knows no reason to feel guilty about them. On the grand scale of “things to feel guilty” about – a scale that includes tactless comments that hurt someone’s feelings, stealing from your parent’s wallet, murder, etc. – what you enjoy reading or watching doesn’t even rate. And on top of that, you know what? Liking Twilight, or Jersey Shore, or the latest Transformers/rom-com/kids movie out, is just fine.
Certainly this is something we hear about books all the time – “it doesn’t matter what people are reading, as long as they’re reading.” But it’s one thing to say it, and another to believe it, and I think a lot of us still feel bad about what we read (or watch, though I think the same thing applies to movies, music, etc.) If you are immersing yourself in a story or characters, enjoying the drama of a reality show, or listening to something that makes you happy, then it does not matter what other people think. Whatever your reason for liking something is – that you actually are invested in the characters, that you think it’s silly, that it makes you feel superior about life – it’s a good reason to watch, read, or listen. That’s the beauty of personal taste – simply by enjoying something, you give it value. So even if you’re watching cycle 11 of America’s Next Top Model for the 3rd time – yes, this is me – don’t feel guilty. Just enjoy yourself, be grateful that someone has made something so entertaining for you, and stop worrying.
In that spirit, here are some of the books, movies, shows, and music that I promise I will stop referring to as guilty pleasures, and simply enjoy: ANTM, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, my tenth re-read of Dealing with Dragons, Ke$ha, Two-Headed Shark Attack (and Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, and Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gators, etc. etc. etc.), Disney soundtracks, my 30th re-watch of Robin Hood: Men in Tights, romance novels by Jennifer Armentrout, and anything else I enjoy watching, reading, or listening to.
What about you? What are some of your no-longer-guilty pleasures?