I like literature with a capital L. I like reading “good” books, partly because it’s fun to challenge yourself, and partly because I like looking smart – even when I maybe don’t actually love reading that particular book (Jane Eyre, I’m looking at you).
But these books aren’t always the ones that catch your attention or influence you in a deep way. Sometimes that comes from books (or even television shows) that you would rather not admit you were reading or watching.
And even if Honey Boo Boo doesn’t resonate with you on a deep level, is there value to that type of media consumption? Or is our world being taken over by weird interest in the daily lives of people who don’t ultimately add value to our lives?
As an avid watcher of reality television, I have to argue that guilty pleasure TV and books have their place in the world – and don’t deserve as much scorn as they get.
I used to love the Twilight series in high school. I admit it.
Looking back, I’d say there were some moral lessons about treating yourself with respect regardless of who you love that probably should have been included, but regardless, the story captivated me and my imagination.
Now, I’m not going to say it is particularly good literature or art. But it also isn’t worthless.
Stories like Twilight, and TV like Honey Boo Boo offer another view on the world, a different reality from the canonical classic literature that gets stuffed down our throats. They offer the types of stories about love that we as human beings are drawn to–the impossibly intense romantic love and the unconditional familial love, respectively.
While much of the capital L literature is beautiful and will change your perspective on the world, it’s also important to branch out, and understand what the life of a particular family in Georgia might be like – because that’s why we are interested in stories, I think. They offer us a different perspective on the world.
Now, I know some argue that reality TV is far from real – but so is fiction, and we find plenty of value in that.
By writing off those stories that don’t fit into a structured view of what is “good” you may miss out on some really interesting stories and lives that may, in their own way, change the way you look at the world.