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1/15/2013

Guilty! Pleasure!


What, Mesdames et Monsieurs, does a guilty pleasure consist of? Wikipedia says it is something one enjoys despite feeling guilty for enjoying it. It's an activity that entails both a feeling of joy and shame, pleasure and pain. Those two complement each other rather well don't you think? 

I guess everyone who ever managed to eat a whole cake all by his or her lonesome knows the horribly wonderful feeling. As you're happily eating away, frosting to bottom, the feeling of shame usually doesn't set in until later. But once it arrives, that moment you find yourself staring at the empty platter with a few small crumbs left, it hits you, and it hits you hard, and that is what I am talking about. 

Unlike binge eating cake, the guilty pleasure I am referring to is an indulgence of brain more than it is one of stomach. Correction: lower part of brain. Shame is a big part of it, fueling the dangerous enjoyment/~embarrassment conglomerate. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit to it in writing; my rabbi should know about it, the weird and kinky that says so much about me that I don't want anyone to ever find out. It makes me feel deviant, and oh so low on the human scale that I would even enjoy such a thing... 

But I have to come clean at some point. There is some other questionable stuff I like, despite my better judgement. Let's get the other stuff out of the way, and ease into it. I like reading the Bild Zeitung (tabloid equal to The Sun), and I like that they write stuff like cars, banging into one another on the freeway. The reports are refreshingly un-journalistic and lecherous, openly affiliating news to sensationalism.

I like junk food, the extra greasy kind. I like eating salad with the salad cutlery, and drinking salad dressing with the ladle. Oh, and cake. I like all kinds of things that are supposedly bad for your health, things that make you fat and stupid. 


But it's not in the same category as admitting to that other thing, the dark spot on my conscience. Admitting that I like The Jungle Camp is as good as a full confession that I'm a murderer. Because this program, no matter how you look at it, is definitely killing something. And unlike junk food it is without any hidden nutritional value. I would feel much better and healthier if I didn't like it, but there is something about it that I just can't resist. 

It's not that different from reality shows such as Survivor, but with d-list celebrities suffering the horrors of being publicly humiliated for the camera. And I'm right there to watch them starve and make a fool of themselves. Those poor suckers do it for the money, or fame or whatever sad reasons. But hey, they are not the ones to blame here. Those sick weirdos in front of the TV, however, are. 

The concept of the show is not that different from the idea of slaves being used as humanoid torches in ancient Rome, except that the contestants on TV are burnt slower and more painfully. The modern version of panem et circenses (bread and games) is less lethal, but then again nowhere near as humane as having the relief of sweet sweet death in your near future. So why would I even like this piece of junk, me and 7 million (!) other viewers? 
Tell me. Is it morally acceptable to enjoy watching a daily broadcast of torture? I don't think so.