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Last summer I had an entire month without responsibilities. Between all my sleeping and eating I managed to squeeze in a few binge sessions of Empire, a delicious hip-hop soap opera, and Dance Moms, a show where mothers of child dancers bitch each other out in ways you didn’t think were possible. It was a wonderful time. When I returned to school and told my friends about the shows, mostly because I needed someone who will freak out about #WhoPushedRhonda down the stairs in Empire, I found myself defending my entertainment choices.
Some of my friends poked fun at me, and even if they didn’t, I always felt the need to justify my viewing of “bad” shows. I either acknowledged that I was a little stupid for watching them or I changed topics to one of my more “intellectual” pursuits to let them know that I’m not a complete bozo.
The danger of falling into this trap is that you undermine your self worth, which is silly, because as a university student, you’re definitely not an idiot. I’m a firm believer that while the vast majority of people are not geniuses, everyone is also intelligent in their own way. And enjoying a piece of stupid-as-hell entertainment doesn’t diminish that.
If it makes you feel better, you’re probably not alone in the consumption of dumb things. With smartphones and the state of mainstream media (there are seven versions of The Real Housewives), there are more dumb pursuits for you to choose than ever. There’s the cat game Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector, pretty much every Seth Rogen movie and so much more. This means that pretty much everyone you know enjoys consuming something that’s dumb as balls.
Moreover, people often fail to acknowledge that not all dumb things are created equal. That is to say, to make a “good” dumb thing actually requires quite a bit of skill. Just watch Kingsmen: The Secret Service and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen back-to-back and you will see the difference. Both are absurd and crass, but only one is mind-numbingly dull and backwards. There is a hierarchy, and chances are what you enjoy has more worth in it than you give it credit for.
There’s also a good reason why you enjoy dumb things. They’re entertaining and allow you to temporarily escape from your world.
Watching something fun can take your mind off the stressors in your life. This is not to say you can’t get something from whatever dumb thing you’re doing. Good entertainment can discuss issues in society, showcase people’s talents and even introduce you to a worldview that you might otherwise not be privy to.
So next time you want to say Katy Perry is your favorite musician, let them hear you roar, because her music is catchy as hell and you don’t need to be ashamed that you’re not on the To Pimp a Butterfly bandwagon.
Photo Credit: Joel Arbaje