Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

Just when I like to think I am rising above the common herd, I am slapped back among them by succumbing to one of my trashy, common indulgences. We all have them, whether they be food, cinematic trivialities, or Ronco-type tchochkes, and it's best we just get in front of them and admit to them. Okay, at least to some of them.

FOODS: Circus peanuts, Hostess sno-balls, Spam. Believe me; that list gives me no joy. Especially the Spam. Please do not even tell me how horrid Spam is or how it is made from offal, or how it is made from genetically engineered boneless, hairless creatures called Spaminals that look like dog-sized guinea pigs. I do not care. I believe it is balanced out by circus peanuts, those bright orange, gigantic peanut-shaped candies that are a cross between marshmallow and cotton candy and are inexplicably neither peanut-flavored nor circusy. So shut up.

MOVIES: Napoleon Dynamite, Imitation of Life (1934), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Birdcage, So I Married an Axe Murderer. None of these movies has a single thing that merits any cinematic kudos. But I don't think any of them is really horrible, either. Certainly none of them is, say, analagous to Spam. But a 47-year old woman should not be saying on any given night, "Honey, let's watch "_________" (insert title from list above). Yet, if one of the movies I've mentioned is on when I'm flipping through channels, I stop flipping. Or if one of my sons pops in his copy of Napoleon Dynamite, I don't object. Especially riveting is "Imitation of Life", a movie in which one underlying message seems to be women who succeed in business will ultimately ruin their lives, and miserably. Oh, and I have a special fondness for Leo di Caprio when he is all blue and shivery in Titanic.

MUSIC : No one should be embarrassed by his or her musical tastes--unless that "taste" runs to country music--and I am not embarrassed by mine. That being said, my children are constantly amused by my CD and vinyl AND cassette collection. "Mom," they often laugh, "you buy, like, one CD a year. And that one is lame." In my defense, I have absolutely no Andrea Bocelli, John Tesh, or Josh Groban. (My mother would, but she does not want to be bothered with learning how to "work a CD player.") I used to pick up the boys from summer school gym blasting The Backstreet Boys "Millennium" CD just to test their mettle. Also played at top volume was my special mix of The Tubes' "White Punks on Dope", Queen's "I'm in Love with My Car", and The Babys' "Isn't It Time", among other classics. Hey, here's one for ya: Curtis Steiger. Anyone remember him? He was good. Whatever happened to him?

T.V. : The Apprentice, Nanny 911, What not to Wear. All of these shows are pointless and cruel and terrible. They deliberately show people at their worst and most vulnerable. Often, people cry and admit weakness. Still more often, people look devious and conniving. (Okay, maybe not so much that last part on WntW.) All the more reason to watch these shows! Let's face it: we watch so-called "reality television" so that we can see other people suffer in tough situations while we are sitting on our comfy couches eating peanut M&Ms, judging them. (The people, not the M&Ms.) Now I'm wandering from my point. My point is, I shouldn't be watching these ridiculous, empty shows which are devoid of enlightenment. But I do. And, obviously, so do plenty of other people. Sigh. I should be watching a travelogue of Portugal on PBS. But I'm not. But neither are you. So there.

I'll never be Oprah, who uses $300 soap, or Martha, who only uses eggs from her very own chickens. And I can't be one of those people who says, when you remark about something on television "Oh, I never watch tv; I don't even own one." I have too many little guilty pleasures that keep me firmly planted in reality.


  1. Anonymous1:56 PM

    OK, I'll share some of my embarrassing secrets:

    Food: butter on crackers, as in Saltines. It's straight from the trailer park. No one in my house knows I eat this.

    Movies: "There's Something About Marry" "Bridget Jones" Ben Stiller movies.

    Music: Most embarrassing CDs that I still listen to are Wilson Phillips and George Michael's "Faith." My taste in music isn't particularly interesting. I like Bruce Springsteen, the Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow, Counting Crows, John Mellencamp, Neil YOung and others....

    TV: In March of this year, my husband and I bought our first TV. (We've been married for 24 years.) Now I have one but no cable or satellite; we just watch movies. But I bought all 10 seasons of Friends on DVD after I checked the first season out of the library and got HOOKED.

  2. Anonymous10:10 AM

    Don't you have any 8-track tapes? I love to make my kids laugh by starting a story of my teen years with, "We were driving around in Marie's Trans Am, listing to Deep Purple on the 8-track player...."

    I LOVE "What Not to Wear"--no shame there. What shames me is that for a season--when I didn't have cable--I watched "Two and a Half Men". When my daughter found out, I thought she would disown me!

  3. plain jane--hey, thanks for stopping by The Dept! I've read your comments at other posts, too, but wanted to respond particularly to this one. Don't be ashamed of watching "Two and a Half Men"! Even though it keeps strumming the same old plot string, it is darn funny. I find the lines written for the kid and Sheen's characters especially humorous. And Holland Taylor is good in anything she does.


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