The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth.
  • The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth.
Rereading it today, this Chuck Klosterman essay (about some stupid book called Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures: 1,001 Things You Hate to Love) has a little less bite than it did when it blew my 22-year-old mind up with truth in 2004, but I still think about it all the time. Because people still pull this shit all the time! Think about your words, people! I AM NOT INTERESTED IN FEELING GUILTY ABOUT MY PLEASURES.

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Ostensibly a reference guide for those who want to feel embarrassed about being engaged with life, The EGP is a compilation of everything that's been popular over the past fifty years, augmented by short essays about why we can't help but adore these terrible, terrible things. These are things like Michael Jackson's Thriller, an album that 1) was produced by Quincy Jones, 2) features guitar playing by Eddie Van Halen, 3) includes at least three singles that are undeniably awesome, and 4) has the single-best bass line from the entire 1980s (the opening of "Billie Jean"). It is a guilty pleasure, presumably, because forty-five million people liked it, and because Jackson is quite possibly a pedophile, and because two dancers had a really unfair knife fight* in the "Beat It" video. This is akin to considering Thomas Jefferson a guilty pleasure because he briefly owned two pet bears. I mean, he still wrote the fucking Declaration of Independence, you know?

And then:

And why are gumball machines indicted on page 114? It's not just that I don't harbor guilty feelings about gumball machines; I have no opinion at all about gumball machines (unless I want a gumball; then I'm briefly "pro—gumball machine," I suppose).

And then:

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What the authors of The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures (and everyone else who uses this term) fail to realize is that the only people who believe in some kind of universal taste—a consensual demarcation between what's artistically good and what's artistically bad—are insecure, uncreative elitists who need to use somebody else's art to validate their own limited worldview. It never matters what you like; what matters is why you like it.

You can read the whole thing here. Apologies for posting a just-okay six-year-old essay; my Degrassi post from yesterday got me thinking about it. Now imagine the smallest thing you can imagine, then make it way smaller. That is still like TWO ENTIRE JOHN GOODMANS compared to the amount of guilt i have about watching and liking Degrassi: The Next Generation (or any iteration of Degrassi). Stop feeling pretending to feel so guilty all the time, y'all. Just like what you like. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get back to writing this glowing review of The Tooth Fairy and I am not joking and sorry if you can't handle the tooth. Goodbye.