If we are classifying guilty pleasures as "things we pretend to like ironically, but that we actually just like unconditionally," my answers would be as follows: No Doubt, the movie Roadhouse, the Road Rules/Real World Challenge, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Styx, Chili's and TGI Fridays, and Miller High Life.After hearing him talk about guilty pleasures once at a reading, I changed my stance on how I view the things I like and whether or not I'll choose to be embarrassed by them. Essentially, while it's fun to talk of guilty pleasures, the thing is that there should be no guilt involved at all. I like what I like and why shouldn't I? I can, however, classify my likes into different categories of merit - like New York Magazine's Approval Matrix quadrant, there are "Highbrow," "Brilliant," "Lowbrow" and "Despicable." I personally hold in highest regard the things that might be resting on the fine line between "Lowbrow" and "Brilliant."
An example of a man whose work feeds the part of my brain that loves that type of pleasure is Neil Strauss. He is the co-author/ghostwriter of Motley Crue's The Dirt, Marilyin Manson's The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, Dave Navarro's Don't Try This At Home, and the next book on my library account queue, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson. The tales shared in these books will do me no favors as I try to go about life becoming a more evolved human being, but I sure do have a great time reading them. These books (especially The Dirt) are my simplest and most rewarding of pleasures in the times that I allow myself to be no one to anyone but myself. Or, in the words of Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, "I Am (I'm Me)."
I didn't read his 2005 release, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists (I'm imagining Tom Cruise in Magnolia), but his latest, How to Make Money Like a Porn Star, sounds like fun. It's a graphic novel with a fantastic tagline: "Featuring 72% fewer words than a book!"
Maybe one day I'll take another crack at those first few pages of James Joyce's Ulysses. But tonight, it's Miller High Life and whatever else makes me smile.