And Now For Something A Little Different…
As you probably have deduced by my previous blog posts and the overarching themes my posts tend to always circle back to, I tend to stick to media quirks and media-related subjects in my writing and thought processes. And why not, when it’s something that both fascinates me and pisses me off royally? Write what you know…or, rather, not what you KNOW, but what you feel, at least.
Today, I wanted to write something different, but had no ideas. I found a charming little list of blog topic suggestions written by a fellow blogger from the opposite corner of the blogger’s realm. Blog, blog, bloggidy blog, just to add the word in a few more times for good measure.
Anywho, he listed 100 blog topic suggestions. And damned if 75 of those 100 weren’t media-related. Social media, global politics and media, media this and that. So, while I’ve accepted that I feel like I can’t wholly back away from my standard media-rant postings, I can, however, take them in a different direction. Instead of picking on a modern media concept and rip it to shreds, or take a specific person, place, film, or book and rip IT to shreds, I’m going to apply it to a very personal subtopic: guilty pleasures.
Essentially the opposite of what I like talking about, guilty pleasures are those little things that EVERYONE has in some form or another that they are quite fond of, but alas, are ashamed for one reason or another to talk about. Maybe it’s because their friends are a group of pretentious hipsters who’ll ditch you for liking something mainstream, or it’s because your friends ARE mainstream and will ditch you for liking something ‘oddball.’ For me, it’s neither. I can’t really pinpoint why my guilty pleasures are my guilty pleasures, but I guess I can attribute some of them to the idea that not many of my friends would see me as someone who buys into half this shit period. Yes, I, who wails on Disney, tells MTV to go to hell, and rolls her eyes whenever some media-standard ‘hot person’ tries to sell me tampons, toothpaste, or deodorant (except the guy on a horse), do, in fact, secretly enjoy some very media-approved films, music, and activities.
Today, I am coming out of the closet. I will state my case and reveal, for the very first time, five of my innermost guilty pleasures that I’m not sure many people, if ANY people, know about. I will say WHY I like them, but I will not make a defensive case FOR them. Just because these media brainchildren indulge my interests behinds closed doors does not mean that I think they’re quality entertainment or intellectually stimulating. You can adore something and still think it’s crap. And some of these guilty pleasures of mine are, indeed, crap.
Oh, and yes, I really like these things. If anyone has a problem with that, then they can go take a long walk off a short cliff.
*Taking a deep breath* Here we go…
1- Biographies and Memoirs of currently-living celebrities. I was one of the first people to jump on the bandwagon and openly express my annoyance that Justin Bieber, who is possibly in the running to set the record as the oldest pre-pubescent superstar in history, was penning a memoir at the age of sixteen. Oh, and a biopic film. I thought that was just ridiculous as hell.
But not every celebrity is a shallow image-riding piece of tabloid-fodder. Believe it or not, some are actually people who think as normal humans do, ans see their job as just that, a job. I know I stated this in my mega rant at Taylor Swift, but that’s something I do admire, and it’s the memoirs of these people, who tell their stories as if they’re telling us about their day around the dinner table, that I just love. Currently I’m thumbing through a chapter a night of John Barrowman’s first autobiography, Anything Goes (It also helps when I love the celebrity who’s the subject of the book. And if I believed in a male god, he would be John Barrowman). Of course, a lot of Anything Goes is the story of his coming-out and his life fighting the anti-gay crap that’s always floating around. But it’s also about his family, his husband, and his dogs! I mean, he wrote a lot about his everyday life, and while that would be boring to most people, I really enjoyed it.
I enjoy a lot of these. You don’t have to be dead to have a great biography. Just have the soul of a storyteller, and you’re good to go. And if you’re a genuinely good actor, you’ll have the soul of a storyteller. Still, Justin Bieber telling us of the infinite wisdom I’m sure he has in his sixteen years is too extremely stupid for even me to grasp.
2- American football. AND hockey. I’m not going to take a long time to justify this one. In my case, it’s really a matter of two worlds colliding. I am an indie artist to the core, and yet professional sports not only entertain me, but my parents were both athletes, my boyfriend is an athlete, and a few of my friends actually watch sports with me sometimes. Football and hockey have been a part of my existence since birth. Its something you would not expect a drama geek like me to enjoy, but I do. And not just for the strapping young lads in tight knickers throwing balls around. Some people would be surprised to find that a lot of thinking and strategy goes into these games. Unlike high school, your standard dumbass wouldn’t be able to make it too far into the pros. I appreciate that sports can, in fact, be an exciting form of entertainment.
I’ll keep watching, and you can’t stop me. So there.
3- 80s and 90s Teen ‘Dramas.’ This applies to both movies and TV serials. In a way, I’m cheating by saying this is a guilty pleasure of mine, because I don’t always take pleasure in watching shows like Saved by the Bell, Beverly Hills 90210, or movies like Teen Witch (all examples, for the record, I find flat-out silly). I watch them more for the fact that every episode is like a bad social experiment I’m trying to unravel. I could write an entire book on how insulting the media is to young adults, and yet the core demographic for these programs and films are the young adults that are consistently mocked and/or overdramatized. The casts mainly consist of middle to upper-class white teenagers from relatively good homes who either set out to conquer the world with their strange quirks and chain pot-smoking, or make their really quite random and/or whiny problems out to be the end-all of existence.
I also like watching the effects these shows have on their core demographic. It’s like a half-hour hypnotizing session you get for free over the airwaves. Shows and films that oversimplify the teenage experience tend to alter the minds of their audience, if they’re aware of it or not, and changes their priorities. For instance, as a twelve-year-old, I thought very little of romance until I was hooked onto That 70s Show, where every teen character was hooking up with one another, and these pairings provided the backbone for most of the plot for the series. After, I couldn’t wait to get a boyfriend. It was all I thought about for a long time. What kind of person would I have turned out to be had I used those formative years of my youth to obsess over something other than the sex I was attracted to? Would I have taken up rocket science? Biochemistry? Law? I guess now I’ll never know.
But for what they’re worth, teen dramas, especially those from the campy 80s and the grody 90s are fascinating (sometimes) and like watching a car wreck. You don’t want to, but you can’t help but stare, and by then, it’s too late. I think now that the nostalgia factor is kicking in with a lot of these, they’ll also take on the fossil effect, making their popularity rise again.
4- Life in a Northern Town (by Dream Academy). This is about as specific as you’re going to get with me on this topic, and here’s why: this song is one I will literally put on Window Media Player in a loop and have it play nine or ten times when I go to sit down and write something. It’s not a particularly incredible song that leaves you in tears, like practically anything by John Lennon, but there’s some quality to the song that I can’t put my finger on that keeps me listening over, and over, and over, and over. And a lot of people have this song, but for most people their repeat song is something more pop-ish, or catchy, or mainstream.
This song is none of those. I can’t even really put a genre to it (um…80s?). It’s something that you’d hear on one of those old ‘Pure Moods’ albums. And I also don’t just put it on for background music. I will sometimes lose track of my writing when the song gets to a particular place and focus just on the song itself, and this will be the fifteenth time in a row without a break I’ve listened to it in this sitting alone. Call me weird, but Life in a Northern Town is just…my song.
But not the remake. For the record, the remake blows.
And, probably the biggest reveal/shock of all..
5- Lady Gaga.Yes, my friends, I am a Lady Gaga fan. Some of her songs, while not necessarily great pieces of music, are highly catchy. But why I’m such a fan of hers is her balls. Yes, my friends, her balls. She’s got guts coming out the whazoo. She’ll put on a suit of red meat and go claim her Grammys. She’ll shoot a music video surrounded by a bunch of half-naked dancing Hitlers. And she does it all to simply be a testament to the weird. She lets the critics step all over her and shrugs them off, because at the end of the day, she does it all for her causes.She’s vocal about her issues and even treats her fans humanely. That’s nothing short of admirable.
The woman has genuine singing talent, as evidenced by early videos of her performing, but she doesn’t let her career unfold through her talent, but her image, which, sadly, is how one gets ahead in the music biz these days. If the just were true and image was nothing and talent was everything, Justin Bieber would still be a nobody, and Clay Aiken wouldn’t have dropped off the face of the planet. But the Gaga is smart and bends the media to her will. And unlike most of Hollywood, she uses her forces for good.
And with that, ladies and germs, is where I leave you. Before this post gets any longer.