i had a little cold at the end of last week. although i wrote coherently, editing felt risky because i was on Advil, homeopathics, and diluted juice, a combination that essentially spells “intoxication” for me.
when i get sick i always think, i’m going to love every minute of staring at the ceiling while i recuperate.
then i go stir crazy.
since light reading was all i could handle, i scanned my memory for ideas and thought of a spy series i used to enjoy. they’re the “Night Soldiers” novels by Alan Furst. sure enough, he published a new one last year and i borrowed it on my Kindle.
the premise for each of the 13 books is: World War II is on or about to start and a male hero helps the war effort, balances several love interests, survives, and spends time in Paris.
they’re satisfying and fun, recognizable but a little different each time, comfortable and lightweight. they are, i dare say, my guilty pleasure.
except i don’t believe in that stupid concept.
guilt and pleasure do not belong in the same sentence.
and they definitely shouldn’t join forces to become a single term.
when people ask about my guilty pleasures i’m very clear—these are things i like. i feel no guilt about them.
why must you feel remorse about something you enjoy? admit to watching Revenge while eating Honey Bunches of Oats in bed. it happens. accept it. own it.
as Adam Sternbergh sweetly put it in The New York Times Magazine, ‘Culture is one of the last arenas of experience that can offer us unmitigated pleasure — the joy of an enveloping read; the rapture of a thrilling film. Why taint that enjoyment with apprehension about the worthiness of the enjoyment itself?’
plus, guilt is for crimes. Jennifer Szalai rightly points out in her essay for The New Yorker, guilty pleasures ‘…never involve actual transgression: the bland escapades of Bridget Jones are a guilty pleasure; the depraved orgies of the Marquis de Sade are not.’
exactly! and if i do feel genuinely repentant about something i enjoy, won’t share it as openly as people confess to (still) binging on Law & Order: SVU.
personally, i don’t understand why anyone, in this endless golden age of television, would choose to watch episodes of Law & Order: SVU ever, let alone more than once. but just because i’m grossed out doesn’t mean the participants need to be. that’s my elitism showing through.
if what you enjoy is plucking wings off butterflies or stepping on flowers, we need to talk. otherwise, give my best to Emily Thorne.
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