Recently, a website which shall remain nameless (mostly because I don’t have a lot of respect for ’em, and I figure if you really want to find out their name, it won’t be particularly difficult) posted a long screed opining that adults who read fiction aimed at Young Adults should be ashamed of their taste in reading.  It hit a very personal nerve for me, reminding me of my teenage years when several of my comic-reading friends suddenly became ashamed of their taste in things, and began openly mocking those of us who still read comics and watched cartoons.  The label of “kids’ stuff” seemed as ridiculous in 1984 as it does 30 years later (at least to me), but I realized that there are a few segments of my media consumption that I do feel a bit of embarrassment about.  My appreciation of soap operas and professional wrestling (which are often just opposite faces of the same coin) are things that I won’t bring up in mixed company unless and until I’ve measured the audience, even though I have no problem bringing up my love of comics and nerdery.  It’s an odd juxtaposition to experience, and while I don’t like the implication that someone should HAVE to be ashamed of what they love, the cognitive dissonance leads us to today’s Judgey Von Holier-Than-Thou query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) also doesn’t mention my considerable soft spot for the works of the late V.C. Andrews, as they were fave-raves of my late mom, asking: Are there any aspects of your pop-culture consumption about which you feel shame?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. June 11, 2014 at 11:31 am — Reply

    I still like reading Spawn. The writing is so horrible, but the Kudranski art is good.

  2. Starks Scraps
    June 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm — Reply

    I was beaten up and made fun of too much in my youth to feel shame about any of the stuff I’m into. I came out the otherside proud of the things I love!

    However, I could never tell my granny that I like D&D, it would probably bring her to tears.

    • June 11, 2014 at 8:19 pm — Reply

      “However, I could never tell my granny that I like D&D, it would probably bring her to tears.”

      You should’ve heard some of the stuff my grandmother said when she found out I play D&D, including saying that it was probably the cause of my cancer (even though I was 4 years old when I was diagnosed and didn’t play D&D until many years later). I have almost passed out from laughing so hard at some of the ridiculous ideas she’s had about the game.

      • Stark's Scraps
        June 11, 2014 at 8:37 pm — Reply

        Awesome! Grannies and D&D, I swear. I won’t really get into what my Granny had convinced my mother would happen due to the nature of this site but it made my mom cry.

  3. foolsmask
    June 11, 2014 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    Is it shame when you don’t bring up a topic because you don’t think the people you are talking to would be interested? My neighbor is a real “gear-head” and when we chat and he might ask “What’d you do this weekend?” I don’t mention that I was out playing tabletop RPGs or recording podcasts, I just tell him “Went over to a buddies house for a beer.” I wouldn’t be ashamed if he knew, but I don’t want to explain something he doesn’t seem interested in. And yes, I realise he could secretly be a nerd too, but I don’t think he is as much time as he spends under the hood of his car.

  4. Ingrid
    June 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm — Reply

    While I have some guilty pleasures, I’m not ashamed of them. However, one thing that approaches shame is my fascination with some TV reality shows. I periodically am tempted to watch even though I know there are no redeeming features. But I generally only need to watch one episode. “Yep, people are still interesting and their interactions are entertaining. And I don’t need to watch this any more.” Until the next new one comes along.

  5. gary
    June 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm — Reply

    I’m ashamed of the sheer amount of procrastination I have, due to (A) a severe lack of discipline and (B) how much I’d rather do X (game, read, music, etc) than My Obligations.

    E.G., commenting on MSQOTD rather than working…

  6. Arbor Day
    June 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    To some degree, I’m ashamed that most pop-culture I indulge in is a purely consumptive hobby. It doesn’t create things like gardening or developed something in myself like jogging or carpentry.

  7. Mike
    June 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm — Reply

    No shame for me! As long as you’re not hurting anyone, you should just enjoy what you enjoy and not care what anyone says. Odds are that anyone who would make you feel ashamed for something you enjoy really isn’t worth associating with anyway.

  8. Hannah Jones
    June 11, 2014 at 6:33 pm — Reply

    I find myself mainly ashamed when I talk about music. Even though that’s probably not that big of a deal to most people, I just kind of have terrible taste. Like, everything I like is a depressing/pretentious Indie thing or stupid and girly or just kind of sucky in general. And I’ll freely admit to avoiding talking about some bands because I’m afraid someone will ruin them for me somehow.

    I also generally avoid talking about Warhammer 40,000 and Doctor Who, mainly because they’re hard to explain without sounding like an excitable 10-year-old. I’d like to hang on to whatever feeble illusion of maturity I’ve managed not to undermine.

    Also terrible 80’s and 90’s action movies and YA Novels.

    • Javier
      June 12, 2014 at 10:33 am — Reply

      That’s mine too, Warhammer is so difficult to explain that, unless someone looking at my hobby desk, I don’t talk much about it. And the barrier to entry is so high that rarely anyone will share the hobby with you, at least with boardgames you can just invite someone to play and the fun will do the talking, but warhammer is so inaccesible and hard to explain without sounding like you are just playing with toys. It is hardly a kids game with rules and the detailed painting and the pricetag, and it’s certainly not just about putting toy soldiers on the table but people won’t see this unless they see you put togather some Gyrocopters (or something more impressive that people who don’t play Dwarfs have in their army).

      • June 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm — Reply

        This is part of the reason I’ve unfortunately been unable to play Warhammer. I live practically in the middle of nowhere where nobody is interested in even trying to play because all they see is “playing with toys”, and there are no game shops or anything within reasonable distance to go play with others.

        Although this problem may only be temporary as some of my friends kids are getting older (from mid teens to early 20s) and several of them are starting to explore gaming opportunities outside of those they are used to.

  9. June 11, 2014 at 8:25 pm — Reply

    I feel a bit of shame (not much, just a little) that I like some cheesy series aimed at teens such as “Degrassi”, which I honestly can’t tell you why I enjoy it. It isn’t a spectacular show or anything, and it has some of the dumbest plots that sound like they come from a 1980’s After School Special gone wrong, but I can’t help but be amused by it.

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