Saturday 20 January 2018

Womanity: Drop the guilt and feel the pleasure in life

Louise McSharry
Louise McSharry

Louise McSharry

By now you've heard, of course about U2 and Apple, and the terrible awful thing they did. In fact, if you are one of the 800 million or so people who use iTunes, you were probably affected. It's difficult for you to talk about, I'm sure. You're probably still feeling violated by the intrusion. You're probably still stricken down by a bolt of fear every time you think about opening up the free computer programme to listen to a song. I know. It's tough.

Oh wait, hang on! No I don't! I don't understand it at all! And probably, neither do you. The way with which Apple's gifting of U2's latest album to their customers was received by a vocal few would make you feel like you were in the minority though, if you were happy to find Bono and the lads' latest offering on your computer or in your iPhone.

The fact is that had Songs of Innocence been launched the usual way, millions of us would have bought it, or downloaded it for free from a file sharing website. Why? Because people like U2. They're just afraid to say it.

These days, everyone has an opinion on everything and an outlet with which to express it. From Tumblr, to Twitter to good old blogs, if you want to get your strong views on Bono's pox-worthiness or the demise of Downton Abbey out there, you absolutely can. I'm not complaining, either, having made use of these avenues countless times myself, but I can't help but feel that some of these loud voice mean that more and more is getting crammed into that ludicrous category - the guilty pleasure.

U2 are now a guilty pleasure. Enjoying Coldplay is a guilty pleasure. Thinking Mumford and Sons are good, a guilty pleasure. All of these bands, which at one point, were deemed cool and worthwhile, are now apparently uncool. Well frankly, I think it's all a crock of crap.

It's not just music which is suffering. It's happening to films and television as well. Every year at around this time, the Americans roll out their big new TV programmes, and seemingly within minutes, the cool establishment have watched them all and decided what is actually good, and what is only good if you feel guilty while watching it. Orange is the New Black? Good. Revenge? Guilty. True Detective? Good. Glee? Guilty. Here's the thing. You don't have to feel guilty.

I know, it sounds crazy. However, if you just decide to enjoy what you enjoy, without feeling guilty or letting other people influence your feelings about it, you can rid yourself of all that nastiness! Suddenly you'll be free!

Imagine yourself, cloaked in joy and love, running around your neighbourhood from street to street, knocking on doors to tell people about your passions. 'I love The Real Housewives of New York City!', you'll roar, 'I listen to the Glee version of 'Don't Stop Believing' every time I get into my car, and I bloody love it!' you'll shout.

You'll feel so good about your newfound pleasure that people will remark on how fresh and young you look. 'I stayed up late last night watching makeup tutorials,' you'll gasp, 'I've learned to contour like the Kardashians!'

Soon - and hang on, because this is the truly shocking bit - you'll find that you're not alone. There's a reason Jeremy Kyle's programme is almost ten years old. People watch it. Celine Dion got a Vegas residency because millions of people love her, and dammit, she's good. 83,000 people wanted to see Garth Brooks play Croke Park!

Life is hard enough, without feeling guilty about our pleasures. So, in the words of a Disney soundtrack some people might feel guilty about finding pleasurable, let it go. Get out there and live, my friends. Play that U2 album as loud as your speakers will let you. Go and see that film which is light on content but high on cheekbones. Feel the joy in watching Kim and Kanye's weddding episode more than once. Free the guilt. You're worth it.

Irish Independent

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