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There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers. 
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Post There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
If my blog hadn't exploded, this would have been the next topic.

I've mentioned in the past that I don't believe in guilty pleasures. The idea seems to be that you acknowledge that something is bad by most people's definition, yet you find something of value in it that you can't discount. But if it has something you value, then what does it matter if other people don't see it the same way? Your own values are all you have to go by. In short, if you like something, you like it. There's no need to feel guilty.

If you have enough money, you could eat filet mignon every day of your life. But in that situation, even filet mignon would get old after a while. You would occasionally find yourself hankering for something else--a cheeseburger, perhaps. There's nothing wrong with that. Even if it is cheaper and lower quality, a cheeseburger provides variety. It's the alternative to your humdrum life of daily fine cuisine. It fulfills a different set of values, scratches a different itch. Sometimes, a cheeseburger really hits the spot.

The palate that is only accustomed to filet mignon is no better-rounded than the palate that is only accustomed to cheeseburgers. As much as I love Taxi Driver, The Godfather, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, they're all filet mignon for the movie lover's palate. I also love Street Fighter: The Movie, the modern Batman saga, and the Jackass movies. They're cinematic cheeseburgers, one and all.

My name is Ken. I like cheeseburgers, and I do not feel the slightest guilt about it.


Last edited by Ken on Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:18 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
I am Phil, and for whatever reason, I love Spanish women. Absolutely smitten with them. I do not feel guilty. I do, however, feel like Chipotle should hire me immediately as their spokesman.


Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:21 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
Your absolutely right Ken, I don't really like using that term, why should I feel guilty for liking widely hated films like Ballistic: Ecks Vs Sever and hating critically acclaimed films like I Heart Huckabees?


Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:48 pm
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Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
Alright I'm going to come right out and admit that I completely disagree with you.

First of all, there is absolutely no right and wrong when it comes to food. That is entirely taste, so to speak. Food is not art. Food is entirely about what pleases us the most. So I'm going to discard your filet mignon vs. cheeseburgers analogy.

As to movies, there is (often) a difference between what we like and what is good. I have had fights with Phil about this before. My favorite movie is Zulu, a movie that has a host of problems with it and is certainly not the best movie ever made. But I love it. I love it personally more than Citizen Kane, even though Welles's film is better.

Okay, so if that makes sense, then why can't I have guilty pleasures? Movies that I know are bad, yet like to watch anyway. If you take away the term "guilty pleasure" and say they're just films I like, then that doesn't work for me. Something has to distinguish Commando, which is terrible and yet oh so fun to watch, from Best in Show, which is terrific and also fun to watch. I like them in different ways.

Also, the term is useful when talking to people. If I came out and said "I like Judge Dredd," that would misrepresent my tastes or (at the very least) require considerable explanation. But if I say "Judge Dredd is a guilty pleasure of mine," people understand much better what I mean.

So I may understand why you dislike the word "guilty," since I have no real guilt about Judge Dredd, but the term is useful.

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Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:40 pm
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Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
It might depend on how somebody actually likes movies as well.


Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:46 am
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
Good God, who needs porn on a forum when everyone's ejaculating over subjectivity and perception. If 'Rashomon' isn't in every single one of your Top Tens, I'm calling bullshit :)


Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:56 am
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
JamesKunz wrote:
Alright I'm going to come right out and admit that I completely disagree with you.

First of all, there is absolutely no right and wrong when it comes to food. That is entirely taste, so to speak. Food is not art. Food is entirely about what pleases us the most. So I'm going to discard your filet mignon vs. cheeseburgers analogy.

As to movies, there is (often) a difference between what we like and what is good. I have had fights with Phil about this before. My favorite movie is Zulu, a movie that has a host of problems with it and is certainly not the best movie ever made. But I love it. I love it personally more than Citizen Kane, even though Welles's film is better.

Okay, so if that makes sense, then why can't I have guilty pleasures? Movies that I know are bad, yet like to watch anyway. If you take away the term "guilty pleasure" and say they're just films I like, then that doesn't work for me. Something has to distinguish Commando, which is terrible and yet oh so fun to watch, from Best in Show, which is terrific and also fun to watch. I like them in different ways.

And isn't the whole thrust of my argument the suggestion of a different term with different connotations to describe such things in conversation? People will get the idea if you say it's a cheeseburger instead of filet mignon.

Also, the term is useful when talking to people. If I came out and said "I like Judge Dredd," that would misrepresent my tastes or (at the very least) require considerable explanation. But if I say "Judge Dredd is a guilty pleasure of mine," people understand much better what I mean.

So I may understand why you dislike the word "guilty," since I have no real guilt about Judge Dredd, but the term is useful.

Food isn't art? A bajillion master chefs would disagree.

By what standard do you judge "good"?

How is liking two things in different ways incongruent with my point?

And if you like Judge Dredd, just say so. Your reputation as a hard, pipe-hittin' movie lover will survive.

P.S. Judge Dredd is an awful movie.


Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:21 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
Evenflow8112 wrote:
Good God, who needs porn on a forum when everyone's ejaculating over subjectivity and perception. If 'Rashomon' isn't in every single one of your Top Tens, I'm calling bullshit :)

Well, I guess I do visit this forum much more often than I do porn websites...


Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:31 pm
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Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
Ken wrote:
Food isn't art? A bajillion master chefs would disagree.


Well people use the word "art" to mean fucking everything. But for me art's primary purpose is aesthetics, not function. A powerplant that looks pretty is not art, because its goal is to produce power. Similarly, the goal of food is to taste good/satisfy nutritional requirements. Everything else is secondary.

Ken wrote:
By what standard do you judge "good"?


By my own, of course.

Ken wrote:
How is liking two things in different ways incongruent with my point?


Because your major premise is that the term "guilty pleasure" is wrong. My major premise is that there is, in fact, nothing wrong with the term. And my minor premise is that the term is useful for distinguishing between the two ways I like different films, including awful films like Judge Dredd

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Fri Jul 29, 2011 6:13 pm
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Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
JamesKunz wrote:
Well people use the word "art" to mean fucking everything. But for me art's primary purpose is aesthetics, not function. A powerplant that looks pretty is not art, because its goal is to produce power. Similarly, the goal of food is to taste good/satisfy nutritional requirements. Everything else is secondary.
I challenge these assumptions. Art and functionality are inseparable. Art serves a purpose, both to the artists and to society. When people refer to the artistic impulse, they are typically referring to a need--not a want, but a need--to express themselves in a way that deals with their problems. I won't go so far as to say that aesthetics are the byproduct, but they are certainly the cart before the horse. I would also suggest that appreciation of art is often more functional than people realize. When people say that a song or a movie saved them or helped them deal with or understand something, or that a piece of music or a painting changed their life, it has gone beyond the aesthetic. Art is just as functional as psychotherapy, at the very least.

As for food, I realize this tends to vary greatly among cultures, but there are many places in the world where the presentation of the food is as carefully crafted as the food itself. Both the appearance and the taste are a matter of appreciation rather than function. If food were purely functional and had no art value, we'd all eat to fill our biological requirements. And (putting it gently) most people don't.

Quote:
By my own, of course.
And how did you arrive at a standard that exists independently of your value system?

Quote:
Because your major premise is that the term "guilty pleasure" is wrong. My major premise is that there is, in fact, nothing wrong with the term. And my minor premise is that the term is useful for distinguishing between the two ways I like different films, including awful films like Judge Dredd
My major premise is that "guilty pleasure" has a connotation that suggests that the person taking the pleasure is somehow wrong for liking something. I devised a term that serves the same purpose without such a connotation. I don't know of any definition of the word "guilty" that doesn't explicitly indicate an error on the part of the subject. By contrast, most people seem to like cheeseburgers without reservation, while understanding that they are not perfect, have things wrong with them, and are hardly the pinnacle of cuisine.

Your minor premise is the same as mine: it is useful in conversation to have such a term. I prefer the term "cheeseburger".


Fri Jul 29, 2011 6:41 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Well people use the word "art" to mean fucking everything. But for me art's primary purpose is aesthetics, not function. A powerplant that looks pretty is not art, because its goal is to produce power. Similarly, the goal of food is to taste good/satisfy nutritional requirements. Everything else is secondary.
I challenge these assumptions. Art and functionality are inseparable. Art serves a purpose, both to the artists and to society. When people refer to the artistic impulse, they are typically referring to a need--not a want, but a need--to express themselves in a way that deals with their problems. I won't go so far as to say that aesthetics are the byproduct, but they are certainly the cart before the horse. I would also suggest that appreciation of art is often more functional than people realize. When people say that a song or a movie saved them or helped them deal with or understand something, or that a piece of music or a painting changed their life, it has gone beyond the aesthetic. Art is just as functional as psychotherapy, at the very least.

As for food, I realize this tends to vary greatly among cultures, but there are many places in the world where the presentation of the food is as carefully crafted as the food itself. Both the appearance and the taste are a matter of appreciation rather than function. If food were purely functional and had no art value, we'd all eat to fill our biological requirements. And (putting it gently) most people don't.

Quote:
By my own, of course.
And how did you arrive at a standard that exists independently of your value system?

Quote:
Because your major premise is that the term "guilty pleasure" is wrong. My major premise is that there is, in fact, nothing wrong with the term. And my minor premise is that the term is useful for distinguishing between the two ways I like different films, including awful films like Judge Dredd
My major premise is that "guilty pleasure" has a connotation that suggests that the person taking the pleasure is somehow wrong for liking something. I devised a term that serves the same purpose without such a connotation. I don't know of any definition of the word "guilty" that doesn't explicitly indicate an error on the part of the subject. By contrast, most people seem to like cheeseburgers without reservation, while understanding that they are not perfect, have things wrong with them, and are hardly the pinnacle of cuisine.

Your minor premise is the same as mine: it is useful in conversation to have such a term. I prefer the term "cheeseburger".


I feel like Switzerland here because I understand, and think there's merit in, the points of both sides. Unfortunately, it does come to subjectivity in the end. There are all sorts of people who eat cheeseburgers. Those that eat them and don't know that it's bad for them. There are people who know Cheeseburgers are bad but don't really care. And then there are people who think cheeseburgers are horrible but still eat them on occasion because they find them tasty. Most in the last group absolutely feel guilty after they've finished eating their cheeseburgers.

So, why can't people feel guilty liking a bad movie? Yes, they've found something good about the movie. However, the guilt comes from the fact that the movie violates what they perceived their values to be.


Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:43 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
ed_metal_head wrote:
I feel like Switzerland here because I understand, and think there's merit in, the points of both sides. Unfortunately, it does come to subjectivity in the end. There are all sorts of people who eat cheeseburgers. Those that eat them and don't know that it's bad for them. There are people who know Cheeseburgers are bad but don't really care. And then there are people who think cheeseburgers are horrible but still eat them on occasion because they find them tasty. Most in the last group absolutely feel guilty after they've finished eating their cheeseburgers.
And Kunz told me my cheeseburger metaphor was bad. Shame on him.

Quote:
So, why can't people feel guilty liking a bad movie? Yes, they've found something good about the movie. However, the guilt comes from the fact that the movie violates what they perceived their values to be.

I'm not necessarily saying people can't feel guilty. Clearly they can. I'm saying they shouldn't. Guilt is a sense that one has done wrong. I don't think people should feel wrong for honestly liking something, even if they do recognize that there are dislikable elements in with the likable ones.

If the guilt comes from the fact that people's perceptions of their own values are being violated, then isn't the trouble mainly centered around their lack of knowledge about themselves? Wouldn't it be better for both artistic appreciation and critical thinking in general if people were more self-analytical and honest to themselves about what they value? Why should I pussyfoot around the fact that I find it genuinely funny to watch a dildo glide in slow motion over a tiny model city on a collision course with somebody's face?


Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:21 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
The cheeseburger term doesn't work because people will think you are insane if you say something like "Yeah I actually like The Mummy Returns. Its a cheeseburger of mine."


Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:27 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
Porn chic is awesome. I proudly read Cinema Sewer. I am not ashamed of this "guilty pleasure".


Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:52 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
spencerworth34 wrote:
The cheeseburger term doesn't work because people will think you are insane if you say something like "Yeah I actually like The Mummy Returns. Its a cheeseburger of mine."

If the conversation stops there, why not just stop at "I like The Mummy Returns"?


Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:30 am
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
Ken wrote:
spencerworth34 wrote:
The cheeseburger term doesn't work because people will think you are insane if you say something like "Yeah I actually like The Mummy Returns. Its a cheeseburger of mine."

If the conversation stops there, why not just stop at "I like The Mummy Returns"?


Sorry bad example. The Mummy Returns is a classic.


Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:17 am
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
spencerworth34 wrote:
Ken wrote:
spencerworth34 wrote:
The cheeseburger term doesn't work because people will think you are insane if you say something like "Yeah I actually like The Mummy Returns. Its a cheeseburger of mine."

If the conversation stops there, why not just stop at "I like The Mummy Returns"?


Sorry bad example. The Mummy Returns is a classic.


Are you insane?


Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:36 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
Yeah, i've got low standards and even I thought the Mummy films were garbage.


Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:15 pm
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
I would not say garbage. But that's merely because i have almost no recollection on anything about it.


Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:52 am
Post Re: There are no guilty pleasures. There are only cheeseburgers.
JamesKunz wrote:
Ken wrote:
Food isn't art? A bajillion master chefs would disagree.


Well people use the word "art" to mean fucking everything. But for me art's primary purpose is aesthetics, not function. A powerplant that looks pretty is not art, because its goal is to produce power. Similarly, the goal of food is to taste good/satisfy nutritional requirements. Everything else is secondary.



Any art that says nothing is purposeless, an abstraction without meaning. Any art that has a message, underlying themes, or is designed to evoke a visceral or emotional response, has a purpose beyond aesthetics. Aesthetics is generally a means, not the end.

Think about this in terms of propaganda, although this is an extreme class. I once read an essay about how the Nazis used architecture to help create an aesthetic environment where citizens were more likely to be persuaded by Hitler's speeches. Also works for advertising as well, where aesthetic props are used to sell goods and services.

As for the discussion can art be objectively judged to have, humans tend to judge movies and other works of art based upon their emotional reactions. Unfortunately, we tend to judge a lot of other things (like political candidates) using emotional criteria as well, but that's another issue. In any case, depending upon those emotional reactions, we then like to say that a movie was "good" or "bad" or less likely, "mediocre".

The thing is, no two people are likely to have the exact same emotional response. Our experiences and general circumstances will all influence how we react while watching a movie. No one can claim to have an objective magic formula that will elicit only positive or negative reactions from any one who views a movie.

Furthermore, if there is an objective criteria that art can be measured against, what exactly is it anyways? Popularity? Critical consensus? That could Gone with the Wind (Box Office Mojo), The Shawshank Redemption (imdb) Citizen Kane (original AFI top 100). I'm asking, what say you?


Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:52 pm
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