Guilty Mainstream Pleasures – top six

April 9, 2009 at 11:01 pm (Uncategorized)

I recently came across  Rolling Stone‘s 25 guilty pleasures list (see below). Someone, Oscar Wilde(?), once said ‘there are no guilty pleasures; only pleasures.’ Maybe so, but we all have a few things, we’re a little embarrassed to admit to. Here’s a few.  

 1. The Ting Tings 

Probably the stupidest name for a band I’ve heard in a long time. What does it mean? Still, damn catchy electronica.  Like a box of smarties. Maybe you’ll just have one. Then another. then another. Then you realize you ate the whole damn box. You don’t care. The sugar rush is good.  Horrible layout for the web site though.

2. The Mentalist

Who watches this show? Apparently, it’s the breakout show of the new season, but I’ve seldom run into anyone who’s has heard of it, much less watches it. The premise is simple: ex-TV psychic Patrick Jane works with and solves cases with the California Bureau of Investigations. Jane was a fake psychic whose arragance led indirectly to the death of his family at the hands of a serial-killer Red John (my guess is it’s police chief  Gregory Itzin; hey, he was bad president Charles Logan on 24). The show is light, but is carried by the charm of Simon Baker. The danger of these shows is that if you’re not careful, you end up with something like Castle (now I like Nathan Fillion, but he just has too little to work with).  The Mentalist however has charm to spare.  Two complaints: What is CBS doing with the schudule for this show. It seems its never on. Second, what wrong with wardrobe. Find clothes that work on the female leads! (especially Robin Tunney)

3. I-Carly

My elder child is nine. And in the last six months, she’s switched from TVO Kids and Treehouse, to Family Channel and occasionally YTV. Now, all the parenting books say, if you want to know what you’re kids are watching, watch with them. So, I suffer through Hannah Montana (formerly a guilty pleasure, now mildly annoying ), Finnus and Fern, Zowie 101, the Suite life on Deck and all the rest. I’m fairly horrified about how superficial they are, how canned laughter never really died out, how obsessed with dating everyone is supposed to be and how lippy kids are (Yup – I’m old). 

Still, I do sit through  of I-Carly. It’s the story of Carly (Miranda Cosgrove who you may remember as the manager in School of Rock ), her friend Sam, and their tech support Freddie, who have their own web cast. I dunno, somehow it charmed me. It’s certainly not the dumbest thing on kids TV.

4. Neil Diamond

C’mon, I dare you, as the song builds toward the chorus, try not to sing along with Sweet Caroline. It’s irresistible. And yet, Neil Diamond is deeply unfashionable. It’s a mystery to me: The man who wrote I’m a Believer, Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon and Red Red Wine for others, and dozens of hits for himself.  A friend at work looked incredulous when I offered him 12 songs to borrow. 12 Songswas produced by Rick Rubin. C’mon, it’s a great album. Not anthematic like some of Neil’s earlier work, but quiet and introspective. Home After Dark, his latest is similarly wonderful.

5. The Battle for the Cowl.

A few years back, it became an annual event at Marvel and DC to have a universe changing series, criss-crossing over a number of titles. Marvel has had House of M, Civil War, and Secret Invasion. DC has had a series of Crisis crossovers (so many I’ve lost track). The problem with this style of comic is it seems is there’s a pressure to continually reinvent the characters. This was bad enough when we had the no-one stays dead except for Gwen Stacy and Uncle Ben rule (just wait and see how long the Wasp stays dead), but now it’s completely out of control. Continuity is continually rewritten.

This year, it’s the Battle for the Cowl. Batman is seemingly dead, and the question is who will replace him. I was never a big Batman fan, but I decided to read this series. So far so good.

6. Goop – Gweneth Paltrow

I read about this in the New York Times or somewhere. Gweneth Paltrow’s newsletter. It seems an incredible arrogance of the human species that we assume that people are just lining up to hear our opinions. Look at blogging! In celebrities, this attitude seems amplified: they are told people want to hear their voices, and we seem to want to as well. Unfortunately, not evry one has something to say.

 I signed up with Gweneth’s newsletter. And it’s somewhat weird. I certainly respect Ms. Paltrow’s acting ability, and her faux English accent, although her husband’s band, and naming her child Apple go in the other column. So, Goop is a bit of a puzzle. Let’s take  the name – did no one tell her, it’s also a slang term for cum? The overwhelming impression I’m left with is that it’s slight., and the talented Ms. Paltrow strikes me as, well, not exactly, the brightest bulb. Maybe I’m being unfair, but I read and I wait…

For what it’s worth, here’s Rolling Stone’s list.  For all but 4 and 11, I understand where the guilt comes in, but not the pleasure. They aren’t guilty pleaseures, they’re simply awful.

1 Rush
2. E.L.O.
3. Journey
5. Chicago
6. Boston
7. Foreigner
8. Bread
9. Bon Jovi
10. New Edition
11. The Monkees
12. Motley Crue
13. STYX
14. Eddie Money
15. Simply Red
16. Kelly Clarkson
17. America
18. Wham
19. R.E.O. Speedwagon
20. Poison
21. Lionel Richie
22. Kansas
23. Air Supply
24. Hall & Oates
25. Britney Spears


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