Here, here! People often try to make me feel less sophisticated because I adore shows on the CW and books that require very little thought. I stand by by every Emily Giffin novel and Vampire Diaries episode in which I have indulged!
It’s summertime and the pop culture is easy. Beach reads and blockbusters may not challenge the mind, but they sure can be entertaining. We all have guilty pleasures, even if we don’t like to admit it (publicly, anyway).
But our friends? They’re not always so supportive. I’ve encountered it time and again: someone spies one of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series in my purse, on the side table, or riding shotgun in my car, and the pop culture-consumption shaming begins. The temptation of an e-reader grows stronger daily.
But don’t let the judgemental stares of others make you go running for a Kindle. Follow these four steps to defend your guilty pleasure, and carry your romance novels and Transformers ticket stubs with pride.
Step 1: Fess up!
Feeling guilty about something that you enjoy is uncalled for. You don’t have to send out memos about what you’re reading (although Facebook status updates are probably fair game), but you also don’t have to shove your chick lit to the bottom of your purse. You might even be surprised to discover other fans of your chosen pop-cultural vice already in your extended networks, or find you have good intellectual company elsewhere on the internet!
Step 2: Remind others that what counts as high culture is constantly changing
In his day, Shakespeare’s plays were considered low-brow entertainment for the masses. Who can tell how The Vampire Diaries will be looked back on historically? Our cultural hierarchy is a fickle thing, and if your antagonists need that documented, cultural historian Lawrence Levine has already done it for you.
Step 3: Read more
Expand your knowledge about whatever you love, and find the social usefulness in it. Anything we chose to spend time doing is worth thinking about. Need to defend your case for seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 a sixth time? Check out Smart Pop Books’ essay on The Psychology of Harry Potter, or do a little digging at Box Office Mojo first. No matter what you’re watching, Monday’s movie-centric water cooler banter is much more impressive if you can throw out what percentage of the film’s budget it recovered on opening weekend or its average per-theatre gross.
Step 4: Encourage others to try it
You want to hate on my reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels? I dare you not to love them, too. Those inclined to criticize or poke fun at your guilty pleasures often have too much pride to see themselves as hypocrites, so bringing them into your guilty pleasure is a great strategy to win them over. This doesn’t have to mean starting a book club, but it’s a great defense.
If all else fails
Counter condescension, good-natured or not, with a crestfallen admission that you thought that whomever is picking on your cultural picks was more tolerant than that. This should break them and reaffirm your right to enjoy whatever you want. You’re not hurting anyone when reading that bestseller or jamming to Rebecca Black’s new single—and you’ve definitely got company. Enjoy!