Against ‘Guilty Pleasures’

I perhaps unwisely did an interview where I talk about music, opening myself up to potentially embarrassing revelations. That said, I feel strongly about this point:

What are some of your musical guilty pleasures?

I don’t believe in guilt! It’s all pleasure. But I like Katy Perry and Lilly Allen.


I know it’s just a turn of phrase, but I think the whole conceptual framework of “guilty pleasures” speaks to some weird underlying puritanical elements in American life. Despite the whole “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” thing in the Declaration of Independence, our public culture is very resistant to the idea that people should try to spend more time doing things they enjoy or that producing enjoyment for others is a good thing to do in life.