There is a lot of bullying in the areas like art, literature, music etc. Those who like bestsellers or anything mainstream are considered stupid and inferior. While I don’t deny the lack of critical thinking in anything that is ‘mass’ produced, I don’t like the idea of people being shamed for what they like or do not like. Art is subjective and no one can decide what is ‘good’ for you. It’s YOUR life! As I am traveling to the place where my shadow self resides (read my earlier posts here and here), I realized that I have repressed something that is an integral part of my life.
In my college days, I started reading because no one read and that gave me a chance to stand out. But this is half truth. I LIKED reading. But as college progressed, others started reading as well. And I felt as if the only thing that made me different (in a positive way) was taken away. So I started reading ‘better’ books. These books were not bestsellers, they were critically acclaimed. Again, I LIKED these books. But I needed BOTH: the bestsellers as well as the ones that encourage you to question everything. This habit spread in other areas as well. To be very honest, when I exercise or walk, I like listening to mainstream music. But in other times, I like music that is meaningful. If you ask me, I cannot choose: I need both! Since I was ashamed of my liking for mainstream music, I made sure that no one caught me while listening to it! Hence this became a part of my shadow self. I suppressed these ‘inferior’ tastes of mine.
Who decides what is ‘good’ music or a ‘good’ book? I listen to mainstream music because this was an integral part of my childhood and whenever I listen to it, I go back to those times. It makes me happy. Why should I apologize for something that makes me happy? Sure, it might have stupid lyrics but the funny thing is that inspires me when I’m stuck. At the same time, why do I need to feel superior for liking meaningful music? Imagine a world where there is only one genre of music or literature? How boring! There are people who argue that mainstream music is not ‘pure.’ They will say that the music was not made with right intentions. First of all, everything in the world is corrupt and our intentions are no exception. And secondly, even if there is purity, how can you be sure if the artist has pure intentions? Let’s say the artist indeed has pure intentions..it only matters if it means something to ME! It doesn’t matter if the book that you read won the Nobel Prize..what matters is, has it made a contribution to YOUR life? Your life, your desires, your dreams, your memories are more important than the Oscars or the Grammys. If you seriously think that you need to be ‘right’ in the area of art then you are missing the point of art! Art is something personal. For me, art is a place where the things that you are ashamed of, things that make you feel like an outcast are embraced. NO ONE can decide what is right for you.
I feel very peaceful after accepting this ‘inferior’ side of me. I downloaded some stupid music yesterday and it co-exists with meaningful music. My small library is a place where bestsellers sit next to obscure books. I like Iron Man as well as that low budget Indie flick. My next step is to talk about this inferior taste with my friends and family so that the ‘shameful’ part becomes less powerful. This post is a part of the acceptance.
What are your ‘guilty’ pleasures when it comes to art? Why do you feel guilty about these pleasures? Do you talk about these things with others?