Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guilty Pleasure

Okay, this is a bit of an editorial about the use of the phrase, "Guilty Pleasure."

I hear it a lot when I say I love George Michael: "Oh, he's my guilty pleasure" as though, somehow, his music is less worthy of being liked than, say, Bob Dylan. Same thing with liking a comedy like You've Got Mail versus liking Atonement. But why is liking something happy or fun or popular less worthy than liking something down and depressing or complicated? Why should someone feel guilty for liking something optimistic but not for liking something "realistic" and "gritty?" No one ever says, "Oh, yes, I love watching Saving Private Ryan. It's my guilty pleasure." But tell someone you love Fred and Ginger movies and it's brushed off like fluff.

That could even be applied to fashion blogs and such - if you write a news blog, you're legitimate, but write a cheerful blog filled with beautiful fashion or photography and you're just a guilty pleasure. My favorite blogs to visit (well, the only blogs I visit!) make me feel more glad about the world after I leave them, encouraged that lovely things exist. And isn't that a worthy addition to the blogosphere?

I wish that happy, positive, optimistic art, music and film were appreciated as much (more, even) than the darker, heavier stuff.

What do you think?


  1. Oh my gosh, I love this post!! I agree with everything you said 100%! Sometimes when I'm talking about something that's cheerful or sort of silly or quirky, I feel like I have to add that it's a "guilty pleasure," and it's always annoyed me! Not enough people take positive things seriously! Not everything has to be dark or brooding or deep to be meaningful!

  2. You know, I completely agree with you! I am getting really tired of dark, gritty things getting more positive recognition then, well, the positive things! There's nothing wrong with wanting to promote a little upbeat vibe and a little happiness. Heaven forbid... And as far as "intelligence" goes, lots of comedies are more creative than the depressing, gritty stuff out there.

  3. I totally agree with you! I think I apply the term to food more than pop culture (potatoes are my guilty pleasure, I can eat a whole 5 pound bag by myself, unfortunately!) but now that I think about it, there are definitely certain shows and bands that I don't like to talk about publicly (cough - The Spice Girls and Friends - cough) because I know my friends would chastise me for it. As far as movies go, I have a strange attraction to the sad and brooding but my favorite film is Sunday in New York, one of the most frothy light comedies I can think of :-) Go figure!

  4. I agree Emma. In the same way that it's easier to hate than to love, to fight rather than forgive, etc.

    I use it too often with food but then I remember that we're all born naked and most of us will die naked and everything in between is subjective no matter how you look at it so roll out the sacks of spuds, unravel the Lindt chocolate bars and turn up the guilty pleasure because this is your life. Live it up. :-)

  5. I definitely agree with every bit of your post here!

    It's okay to love fun, happy things that gives you pleasure and you really shouldn't feel guilty about it:)

  6. Amen. Always look on the bright side of life. Why bring more despair into the world?
    Happy does not mean dumb it means beautiful, I think a lot of people don't understand that. Just the same way I need to wear glasses around geeky guys to be treated as an almost-equal.
    Happiness paired with intelligence, understanding and wit will never truly be insignificant.

  7. Awesome post, Emma! Why people have to feel guilty just for loving something happy and optimistic? It's so good! And I dont think that something is dumb just becuas it is happy... not at all! And I don't feel guilty when I say that I LOVE GEOGE MICHAEL! haha :P

    Marina J.G.

  8. Oh how you speak the truth!!

  9. i get what you;re saying ! and its so true! i never thought about it befire but its so true!!


  10. I agree with you 100%! I feel that way about music. Everytime someone asks me who my favorite band is, I used to wish that I said something more classic, or moving. But I say Weezer because like you said, makes me happy :) Great post Emma!

  11. Hear hear Emma! Couldn't have said it better myself! I think some people feel that "real" life is serious and grim and painful! Yes, there are bits of that but as you say the happy bits are no less real or important! How strange we humans are!!! By the way, George is a fabulous song and tune writer and I think he's to be admired!

  12. I think it's crazy for people to deny what they love. I am open about my "shame", haha. Also there is this elitist way of looking at things when it comes to music, and if it's considered "cool" and even a bit of a guilty pleasure, it's not a "guilty pleasure", it's "ironic". So annoying! I wish people would just like it, and not worry about what people thought.

  13. I completely agree with you!!!! So true!! Why are drama and tragedy elevated in such ways and light and fluffy are viewed as insubstantial. I find that watching happy movies and listening to happy music makes me feel energized, invigorated. I watch Fred and Ginger and they have a therapeutic effect on me - I feel centered, somehow.

    And I completely agree with the phrase "guilty pleasure." I remember one of my friends used to say Justin Timberlake music was her guilty pleasure and then eventually she said, "No, it's not a guilty pleasure. It's just pleasure." Why can't we always start off like that?

  14. There is nothing wrong with wanting to promote an atmosphere somewhat optimistic and a little luck. I use it often with food, but I remember that we are all born naked and most of us will die naked and everything else is subjective, no matter how you look, if the spread of bags with Spud , untangle chocolate bars and turn the guilty pleasure because it is your life.


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