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viewpoint

Guilty pleasures

| Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When I sit down and look back at my first week at Notre Dame, some 15 months ago now, a few memories stand out. Like everyone, I have great memories of serenading and Domerfest during Frosh-O and like any O’Neill guy, I will always remember my late-night, first-week interview. And, of course, it’s impossible to forget the 3:30 a.m. Grotto visit I made with my roommate that I barely knew on a balmy August night.

Perhaps, though, the memory that stands out most is being asked a seemingly simple question during the “getting to know you” part of the week.

“What is your guilty pleasure?”

I was in the middle of the room so I had some time to ponder my answer. I knew I wanted it to be thoughtful, more than a joke, but not something that would immediately weird out the people I would be intrinsically linked to for life. After a few moments, it came to me.

Musicals.

I consider myself to be a fan of a good musical – it’s fun, the tunes are typically catchy and I’ll always have a soft spot for the idea of telling a story through songs.

One of my favorite movies? “Moulin Rouge!.” It’s so perfect. I could go further into detail about how awesome it is but I have a limit on words here.

But then I realized that I have absolutely no “guilt” at all about liking musicals and “Moulin Rouge!” — and that I was simply substituting “something that isn’t masculine” for “guilty pleasure” because it happened to be a more convenient definition. Is that wrong of me? I’m not sure.

But what does it say about our society if it is so convenient to make this change, so convenient to draw a comparison between something we feel “guilty” about and simply something that we are not expected to enjoy?

So let’s go back to the question that spurned this whole train of thought.

What are my “guilty” pleasures? Well, to start, musicals and “Moulin Rouge!.” But we’ve talked about those. How about my love of Cher Lloyd’s music? Or how I, from time to time, listen to Radio Disney when I’m back home in Indianapolis. Perhaps I could talk about my love of those daytime, “tabloid” television programs — you know, “Maury” and “Jerry Springer” — because from time to time, it’s nice to be reassured that, yeah, you generally have things together.

These are all things that are a part of who I am – and to tell you the truth, no, I’m not feeling guilty in the slightest about enjoying any of these things.

If you really think about it, shouldn’t a “guilty” pleasure really be more than liking certain music or television shows? So let’s stop hiding those things that are really inconsequential, the things that make up part of who we are.

I like Cher Lloyd and musicals and watching guys dance around after being told they “are NOT the father.”

It’s not like I enjoy stealing candy from babies.

About Alex Carson

Alex Carson graduated from Notre Dame in 2017 after majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics and living in O’Neill Hall. Hailing from the Indianapolis area, but born in Youngstown, Ohio, Carson is a Cleveland sports fan convinced that he’s already lived the “best day of his life.”At The Observer, Carson was first a Sports Writer, then served as an Associate Sports Editor (2015/16) and an Assistant Managing Editor (2016/17), before finishing his tenure as a Senior Sports Writer.A man of strong convictions, he ardently believes that Carly Rae Jepsen's 2015 release E•MO•TION is the greatest album of his generation, and wakes up early on Saturday mornings to listen, or occasionally watch, his favorite least-favorite sports team, Aston Villa.When he isn’t writing, Carson spends his time counting down the days to the next running of the Indianapolis 500 and reminding people that the Victory March starts with the lyric, “Rally sons of Notre Dame,” not “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame.”

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  • Bob Zybach

    I am also a big Cher Lloyd fan, and like to emabarass my family fairly regularly with that information. I am also a guy that is 66 years old and ran a reforestation business in Oregon for more than 20 years, during which time I planted more than 2 million trees with my own hands, taught more than 100 people how to operate a chain saw commercially, and completed more than 80,000 acres of reforestation and logging contracts. Too, my family and I have regularly attended Dylan concerts for the past 50 years and my sons like heavy metal and country music. My Master’s degree was in oral histories and someday I’d like to do a documentary on Cher Lloyd’s songs in the X-Factor competition. I think it would be a great video, even better DVD, and a wonderful album. The girl has real moxie and her albums are under-appreciated. I was saying the exact same things about Dylan and the Stones in the 1960s. Not guilty! Just man enough to own up!

    • Bob Zybach

      PS I have been doing research on 1845 Oregon Trail pioneer Letitia Carson on-and-off for the past 25 years. My research was recently developed into a best-selling historical novel (of 25) by Jane Kirkpatrick: “A Light In The Wilderness.” Any relation? https://www.facebook.com/Why.is.this.Web.address.not.available