Misinformed, angry, coffee-addled ranting.
If you follow me on Twitter (and let’s face it you do, because you’ve got excellent taste), you’ll probably have noticed that my recent Tweets have been divided between the topics of WWE’s annual professional wrestling extravaganza Royal Rumble, HBO’s vampire themed snuff-porn-lite True Blood and the videogame Far Cry 3. Whilst any one of these topics on its own would most likely be grounds for an unfollow from most people, the combination of all three is probably justification for enforced sterilisation.
The problem is, supposedly these should be seen as “Guilty Pleasures”. This is the suggestion that for some reason, one shouldn’t be allowed to like certain things without a deep-seated feeling of shame. This is inherently wrong.
Sure, there are moments playing Far Cry 3 that I realise that I’ve just spent two hours driving Quadbikes off of cliffs and throwing Molotov cocktails at Komodo Dragons instead of doing grown-up things like sorting out my Tax or replying to important emails. And there are moments when watching True Blood that I think about how I’ve yet to start the next series of Breaking Bad because I’m busy watching a shirtless Werewolf with a six-pack mercilessly tearing the head off a Vampire played by a terrible actress with fantastic tits.
But I don’t feel guilty about these things. Trust me, I’ve got plenty of things I should be feeling guilty for already. Don’t tell me that I need to go to confession because I enjoy watching lycra-clad stunt men pretend to hit each other with chairs.
Guilt is a fantastic thing. It’s what makes us get important jobs done when we’d much rather waste our time staring gormlessly at our own hands trying to work out whether one thumb is larger than the other. It’s also what stops us doing bad things, even if we know no-one would find out – like shagging your mate’s mum while he’s out at a lecture (sorry Sam). So to see good quality guilt wasted on something as harmless as a terrible TV show is indicative of an incredibly low threshold for shame.
Another issue is that these ‘guilty pleasures’ are subjective. Generally they’re things that loads of people like anyway, but that you don’t want to admit to enjoying. Essentially what you’re saying is that you’re better than those people, that there is something wrong with enjoying what they enjoy. But then there are things that people aren’t at all ashamed of enjoying that they really should.
Personally, I’m astounded that a person who openly admits to liking Dubstep manages to carry on living without crumpling under the sheer weight of embarrassment. I would have thought this offence would be worthy of Seppuku, the Japanese ritual suicide through disembowelment used when the Samurai had had brought intense shame upon themselves. Turns out that’s just me though. But then I’m not particularly cool – I thought a Skrillex was some sort of particularly violent and gruesome agricultural machine used to slaughter cattle. But no, apparently it just sounds like it.
Essentially though, we are expected to feel guilty about enjoying something that we know is a little bit rubbish. Why? Surely the people who should be ashamed of themselves are those who don’t realise that the thing they enjoy is rubbish in the first place (Although I accept that there are obvious flaws in that logic).
There are people out there who genuinely take pleasure in subjecting themselves to television programmes like Geordie Shore and Made In Chelsea. For the most part, these people are aware of the sheer eye-gouging, stomach-churning, vomit-inducing, soul-sucking shitness of these programmes. And whilst I personally would happily see a new feature added in to television sets that fires white-hot laser beams to incinerate anyone who willingly tunes into things like this; most people are content to see them as the sheer escapism they represent.
We should be much more concerned with the people who genuinely think things like this are good. People (myself included) who like something in spite of its obvious flaws are idiots, but at least we’re idiots intelligent enough to judge quality. It’s the mind-bogglingly stupid people, who “had no idea The Only Way Is Essex is fake” (to quote one of my former friends, now sadly deceased in a tragic cheese-wire related accident) that we should be worried about.