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  1. #1
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Default Guilty Pleasures... or just Pleasures

    There have been a number of thread started here that talk about listing embarrassing songs or shows that people enjoy, but are embarrassed to admit it.

    Recently Jon Foreman of the band Switchfoot did a piece in the huffington post regarding this very issue:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-fo..._b_777344.html

    Guilty Pleasures: the phrase alone implies a form of aesthetic righteousness. Your personal preferences (unique and subjective by definition), are kept in line by a higher standard of objective good (as defined by the community). The experts have agreed upon art that is right and superior. And in spite of the warnings from the authorities you insist on listening to things like Mariah Carey or New Kids on the Block. Not to mention the Michael Bolton tattoo. You must repent, my friend, for you have chosen Boy George over Radiohead.

    Your joy is shameful; your pleasures are guilty. Scandalous even. It's just the truth... the ones who are qualified to have an opinion have made it perfectly clear. Thomas Kinkade and Kenny G are artistically wrong. Any pleasure that you might have received from their respective work will be rendered shameful and regrettable. You have succumbed to your tasteless tastes: this is contraband art.

    Are you having trouble fitting in at school? Do you want to feel more accepted by your coworkers or peers? Tell them you prefer Fela Kuti. Or Pavement. Or J Dilla. anything other than Justin Bieber. What's that on your iPod? Oh, you poor dear. Trust me. Compliance can do wonders for your social life. Blend in, surrender, submit.

    ...

    But beware: the opinion of the tribe is always evolving. Yes, my friend -- you have to be ready to adapt to new trends. For example, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Nirvana, and Radiohead have released records that received horrible reviews. However, the same publications that dismissed these releases have now declared these former duds to be among the most timeless records that rock and roll has to offer.

    For example, Rolling Stone's review of the first Zeppelin release stated that Jimmy Page was, "a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs." Were you listening to that eight-track in the shame of an air-conditioned car? Well, roll the windows down and turn it up! It's not a guilty pleasure anymore -- it's sanctioned by the authorities! More recently the publication has decided to throw Page, Plant, Bonham, and Jones the full five stars instead of the original three.

    Led Zeppelin's story is hardly unusual. The professionals might even say that this is a common trend in all artistic endeavors. Swan Lake's debut in 1877 was a critical flop. E.E. Cummings was widely panned by the experts. Van Gogh was so disregarded that he committed suicide in obscurity as an artistic failure. All of that to say, timing is everything: you have to jump on the bandwagon at the right moment.

    ...

    Dear reader, beware: outside those fences lies a dangerous place. Are you strong enough to form your own opinion? Can you withstand the guilt, the shame, the humiliation from the tribe? Are confident enough to defy the crowd? If not, stay where it's safe. Remain within the fences -- the experts will keep you safe, making sure that your personal preferences don't stray too far from the common consensus.

    Outside the fences of convention lies an untamed wilderness awaiting the reckless souls who have the nerve to cut their own path. Are you daring enough to defy the dictatorship of the critics? Are you strong enough to wander outside the lines? To dance to your own drum? To thrill to the ecstasy of unrepentant, unabashed euphoria?

    Outside the fences, the explorers ignore the experts. They call to us:

    "Come my tan-faced children,
    Follow well in order, get your weapons ready,
    Have you your pistols? have you your sharp-edged axes?
    Pioneers! O pioneers!" -- Walt Whitman

    ***

    "Only in humility can we begin to find the beauty in everything. Do you have the
    barefaced wonder to drift outside the lines? If you dare, you could rise up to be
    the shameless architect of the unknown, charting new ground that the critics will
    never know. For the rest of the crowd, there's safety in numbers. But for you- you
    and your brave soul, there are no guilty pleasures. Just pleasures."
    -- Jon Foreman
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  2. #2
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    People like what they like. Why should people have to feel guilty about that?
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  3. #3
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I like a lot of things that are "guilty" because objectively they aren't very good but I still derive pleasure from it.

    e.g Big Macs, abba, well really most of my musical tastes.....bad 80s music, bad 60-70s music,...., fantasy novels about dragons and magic, Avatar, etc, etc

    And occasionally I'm in the mood for some terrible 90s pop just for nostalgia (mambo number 5 anyone?)

    Sometimes it's not just about it being unpopular, it's actually terrible, but you like it anyway.
    -end of thread-

  4. #4
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    oooh... I LOVE cheesy 90s pop... it's my feel good music (that and the song Walkin on Sunshine!!!)

    I also have a horrible fondness of bad daytime court tv and talk shows (not oprah and dr phill... think Maury and his paternity tests)
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  5. #5
    As Long As It Takes.... Redbone's Avatar
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    Got a thing for hot junk food: flaming hot cheetos, hot chips, hot fries....

    I like to be served coffee in bed because I'm extra lazy before the noon hour...not sure how guilty that pleasure is.

  6. #6
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    I like a lot of things that are "guilty" because objectively they aren't very good but I still derive pleasure from it.

    e.g Big Macs, abba, well really most of my musical tastes.....bad 80s music, bad 60-70s music,...., fantasy novels about dragons and magic, Avatar, etc, etc

    And occasionally I'm in the mood for some terrible 90s pop just for nostalgia (mambo number 5 anyone?)

    Sometimes it's not just about it being unpopular, it's actually terrible, but you like it anyway.
    I like most of the above too. I don't claim to have 'good' or 'sophisticated' tastes by any stretch of the imagination. But can you really objectively measure if the above things are good or bad? And how would you go about it? And if something was objectively terrible, why do people still like it? What is there to be gained from it from an evolutionary perspective?
    INtp
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  7. #7
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I worded it poorly, but I meant more "critically judged as bad" or even "widely recognized as bad", where you read about the lack of plot/depth/interesting characters or whatever and agree, but still like it.

    I think a lot of people like things that aren't very good. Just look at the popularity of McDonalds. People are easy to please I think, if they're honest with themselves.
    -end of thread-

  8. #8
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Yeah, I don't have guilty pleasures, I'm too far off the map to feel that I should bother justifying my interests to society. I think we're getting past that point where anyone can expect a monolithic point of view concerning tastes.

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