This is my last column.
Which means it’s my last chance to speak directly to my adoring public through this surreal and unreasonably influential platform.
To prepare for my au revoir, I’ve been reading a lot of other columnists’ final columns for inspiration. Which is fitting, considering my column has been dedicated to pop culture — a form of culture that’s almost exclusively dependent on the appropriation of other works.
Some columnists decide to take a walk down memory lane, thanking their readers and using their words to inspire a lasting memory. Others decide to write something completely and utterly controversial, which quickly goes viral and becomes the talk of the town. Or, at least, the top search result for your name on Google.
Inspired by the sage advice given by Emma Stone in the climactic moment of the modern cinematic masterpiece “Easy A,” I’ve decided to go with the latter approach and have chosen to end my column not with a fizzle, but with a bang.
I’ve spent week after week telling you about the things I love. But I’ve never really talked about the things I hate.
Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest you take off your sunglasses, because I’m about to throw some major shade.
There is nothing I hate more than the phrase “guilty pleasure.”
A lot of people hate the words “bae” and “on fleek” and want them outlawed from the English language, but I think the real problem is the phrase “guilty pleasure.” It’s been around way longer than any of those newly popularized slang words, yet it’s far more accepted in our society. Even some of the most politically correct people I know, who are quick to preach the gospel of body positivity and radical feminism, break under the pressure of the “guilty pleasure” label and admit — in hushed tones, with blushing cheeks — that they’re “guilty” of liking a certain song, TV show or movie.
I want to go on record right now and say that I have absolutely no guilty pleasures.
Because why the fuck should I feel guilty for liking what I like?
One of the most famous lines from “The Princess Diaries” is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, stating, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” By allowing the phrase “guilty pleasure” into your vocabulary, you are giving your interests permission to make you feel inferior. When you tell someone, “My guilty pleasure is …,” you might as well say, “Hey, I like this thing. But society has told me that the thing I like is unacceptable, and so I feel guilty for liking it.”
Honestly, what kind of logic is that?
I love watching “My Little Pony,” “Toddlers & Tiaras” and any YouTube video that has a cute baby doing something dumb. My favorite movies are cheesy coming-of-age comedies made for preteen girls, which usually feature a hunky leading man who is popular but oh so misunderstood. I casually listen to the “High School Musical” soundtrack and can recite each movie line by line. Hell, I’ll even admit that I accidentally went to a Nickelback concert once and it wasn’t the worst day of my life.
And do I feel guilty admitting any of that? No. In fact, I’ve dedicated a year’s worth of columns to revealing my so-called “guilty pleasures” in an effort to destigmatize the weird and supposedly shameful things we all love to love.
So, dear reader, never feel guilty about watching “Dance Moms” or dancing to a little 5 Seconds of Summer. Tell the world about how you just finished a new anime while simultaneously listening to Pitbull (aka Mr. Worldwide, Mr. 305.)
Take what you love right by the balls (after asking for consent, of course) and say, “Yes! You’re my absolute fave!” Be bold. Be shameless. And, most importantly, be excited.
Fuck the social standard of pretending to hate things in order to be cool. Debby Ryan once said, “Apathy is so passe,” and I wholeheartedly agree — mostly because it sounds sophisticated and I don’t understand French. (Speaking of French: Mom, please pardon all the profanity.)
So my parting words to you, dear reader, are these: Always be yourself — unapologetically.
And thank you for taking the time to Read Rosemarie.
Rosemarie is the assistant arts & entertainment editor and writes Monday’s column on popular culture. Contact her at [email protected].