Guilty Pleasures

Confess your guilty pleasures to Josie at [email protected].





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It's late at night. No one is around. I make sure that my door is locked, and I turn the volume down on my TV. I do this every night. It's like an addiction; I can't stop, and I would never tell any of my family members or friends I do it. I get under the covers and grab the remote.

It's time for "Elimidate."

What is "Elimidate"? It's one of those cheesy dating shows that have been coming out so fast I can't keep up with most of them. You know, the kind where strangers are put in a variety of situations in hopes that two will hook up. And the winner is almost always the sluttiest competitor. I should really stop watching it, but I can't. It's one of my guilty pleasures.

What's a guilty pleasure? I'm not talking about fetishes, illicit activities or chemically-induced highs. I'm talking about the things you enjoy, but are a little embarrassed about. The ones you won't admit to anyone because they will significantly lower your "cool factor." Things like calling in to vote for who wins on "American Idol."

So, what's your guilty pleasure? Everyone has one. Maybe you sing along to "Bootylicious" when you're alone in the car or in the shower. Maybe you told your friends you couldn't hang out on Wednesday night because you were studying, but really, you were watching "Dawson's Creek." Or even worse, "Bachelorettes in Alaska."

Maybe you're the feminist who secretly thinks Eminem's lyrics are "catchy."

So, you just bought the latest volume of "Now That's What I Call Music," and afterward, you feel ashamed. You feel dirty. It's a love-hate relationship. But, live in shame no longer!

The key to fully enjoying your pop experience is acceptance, and acceptance occurs only through the traditional five-step process.

First, you're going to deny it. Quickly assert that your roommate left that Backstreet Boys compact disc in your compact disc player, or you "accidentally" left the channel on "Xena: Warrior Princess."

Then you're going to get mad, mad at the music industry for making Sugar Ray songs so catchy, mad at yourself for enjoying something mainstream when you're such a devout fan of indie music-you couldn't possibly be humming along to 'NSYNC! And you certainly aren't interested in who Justin Timberlake's dating now.

Of course, you're going to try to bargain here and there. For instance, if you are making fun of it, that can't possibly mean you're enjoying it, right? Or, if you declare to anyone who will listen to you that you've been a devout fan of a band from its start ("way before they went mainstream and before MTV and the radio destroyed them, man"), will that really make a difference?

Slowly you begin to realize that you are, in fact, enjoying it. The slow process of realization will inevitably lead to depression. Oh God, I am just like all of those squealing 14-year-olds on "Total Request Live."

But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You begin to realize that it's not so bad. It's all rather catchy/entertaining/funny-in-a-way-I-don't-have-to-think kind of way. It helps you relax after that tough midterm, or makes you feel a notch happier. At the very least, your curiosity about Mariah Carey's acting skills will be satisfied.

For some reason, it's been established here at Berkeley that mainstream = bad. Everywhere I look, there are quips about how mind-numbing and trashy it is. Since we're all so "liberal" here, I say that we should keep an open mind to anything, even high-budget, mainstream popular culture.

See, it's OK, really. You are not alone. You can keep watching your favorite soaps or even find FOX news respectable. Years later it will become an asset to have enjoyed pop culture. Who doesn't like the guy who can, in a drunken stupor, sing all of the words of "Baby Got Back" or "Ice, Ice, Baby"?

Now, say it out-loud with me:

"I want to watch 'Swimfan.'"

Good, very good.

"I also want to watch 'FearDotCom.'"

Now you're pushing it.

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