OGT on Guilty Pleasures

Original Post: Anime is Serious Business Because Guilt is Serious Business


Submitted on 2009/10/29 at 4:42am

The phrase “guilty pleasure” is the worst phrase in the English language and I exhort all of you to remove it from your vocabulary post-haste. If something is pleasurable to you, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. There are some things that you probably shouldn’t pleasure yourself with in public (double entendre intended), but certainly not because you feel guilty about enjoying it. One of my greatest pleasures is seeing other people relish the experience of (very obviously) enjoying something they love; one of my greatest pains is seeing other people relish the experience of hating something they dislike.

I get the feeling, in the Western world especially, that “quality” in the case of fiction is defined by intelligence being inherent to the work. It appears to be of no use to be intelligent about fiction that is not considered “intelligent” since, as there is no intelligence inherent in the work, there is nothing to be intelligent about. This is patently ridiculous, of course.

It follows, then, that you’re left with little recourse in this kind of environment: 1) and 2) above are literally all you have to work with for most of the time, and most of what you like. Simple enjoyment becomes an impossibility, and you must continually justify what you like (and what you do not like) along one of the three options given above.

Like most things pertaining to fiction these days for me, there’s a G.K. Chesterton quote for this: “It is ludicrous to suppose that the more sceptical we are the more we see good in everything. It is clear that the more we are certain what good is, the more we shall see good in everything.” (read the whole essay/chapter/conclusion, it’s my personal pick-me-up). In other words, it’s what I’ve always believed: the surest sign of maturity is being able to see the world as a child again. Adolescence has a disturbing tendency to kill off curiosity and wonder.


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