Guilty pleasures promote interesting conversation

Soap Box Sam Williams

People suck sometimes.

Not us, obviously; you and I are totally rad. But, like, those other people? Yuck, right? Probably the worst thing about those tools is how they’ve got all sorts of opinions that aren’t my opinions.

There’s nothing worse than someone with the nerve to not like the stuff I like, because the stuff I like is obviously cool and right, which means they’re being dumb and wrong. Then I have to kick them in  the shins until they say they agree with me, which is frankly exhausting.

To avoid the swift feet of people like me, many individuals have labeled their fondness for unpopular things as “guilty pleasures.”

The problem is, these guilty pleasures never live up to their title. No one who uses the term is ever talking about how they can’t stop vandalizing nursing homes or mocking fat children; instead, it’s always something harmlessly dull, like eating two McDoubles or watching Gossip Girl.

The only reason anyone takes issue with activities like these is that they happen to fall outside the bounds of what we’ve collectively decided constitutes “good taste,” which is a phrase that only makes sense on an individual basis.

I can decide for myself whether I think someone has good or bad taste, because I can only judge whether or not I also think Kanye West’s music is the best (spoiler: I do). What I can’t do is determine whether or not Kanye West’s music is inherently good because, what with everyone rudely not being identical, that distinction can’t be realistically made.

There’s no measure of quality outside of personal opinion, and naturally, being humans, we tend to disagree. Also, due to being humans, we tend to get judgmental.

It comes from that silly mentality the hipster generation has applied to all sorts of thoroughly subjective art forms.

There’s no demonstrable reason why listening through a full album by Bon Iver or whomever is a better use of one’s time than listening to “Ignition (Remix)” fifteen times in a row, but somehow, I’m the one who’s never allowed near the stereo at that coffee shop again.

Both sides of this equation need to change things up. I call upon the highfalutin judgers to chill out with the kicking and to actually talk with fans of what they consider beneath them. Find out why they like that crap, or maybe even slum it a bit and give it a chance.

I’ve discovered that knowing that something holds a special meaning for someone else—be it a favorite song, a favorite book or even just a favorite meal—generally makes me much more appreciative of it, while also helping me better understand another person.

As for the guilty pleasure crowd, it’s time to stand proud and own your opinions.  Quit trying to pass yourself off as a TV connoisseur who just occasionally deigns to watch the Kardashians between viewings of Modern Masterpiece Theater; just buck up and admit that you like both.

That’s more interesting anyway, and if you’re open more about it you could even meet new friends with similarly schizophrenic tastes.

You’ll talk about it and fall in love and get married and have sextuplets, so you get your own reality TV show that some future person will watch, and they won’t feel guilty about it either, and they’ll meet someone too, so the cycle begins again. I’m pretty much positive all of that will happen.

Discussions of personal tastes make for lively conversation whether they’re agreed upon or not. When two people find out about their shared fandom, they can rave together for hours, especially if it’s an obscure interest or a love of EDM. When interests differ, it can be equally enjoyable to find out why.

So it’s time for us all to be civil and shameless, indulging ourselves with abandon and withholding all judgement from those who do the same. It’s bound to take time and effort though, so until I’ve mastered it you can feel free to invest in some shin pads.