Spring: The flirt of the seasons, in turns coquettish and bold and shy, is now upon us — at long last! Though loath to be disparaging of any such earnest enthusiasm (and respectful of the very real impacts of seasonal affective disorder), I cannot number myself among those rejoicers.
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In the words of 2000s pop icon Hannah Montana, “Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.” In my case, days were entire semesters spent sorely mistaken. This fortnight I’m shedding light not on the greatness of “Hannah Montana” (2006–2011) and other such defining shows of Disney Channel’s golden age — they need neither defense nor endorsement to be enthusiastically and unapologetically appreciated — but on the naivety of first-year me, who on any given day unhesitatingly answered with undue confidence “Dewick” to the age-old question of one’s dining hall preference.
After last column’s celebration of the middle grade novel — in my humble opinion, the pinnacle of children’s (and possibly all) literature and the perfect blend of escapism and relatability — this week, I’d like to turn to an appreciation of something decidedly less… innocent.
The Tufts English Society Instagram lies. Contrary to what the account’s introduction of me as the society’s public relations manager claims (and setting aside the question of whether a play can rightfully be considered a book), Sophocles’ “Antigone” (circa 441 B.C.) is not my favorite written work. The objective of this column is to uplift the practices that spark joy in us, to remove guilt from the equation of pleasure-partaking. Yet in the previous context, and most other ones, I won’t publicly profess my love for “The Seems: The Glitch in Sleep”(2007) — my actual favorite book and possibly the closest thing I have to religion. It’s smart, clever, punny, begins with an NDA, raises philosophical queries about metaphysics and faith and is written for 10- to 14-year-olds.
Stemming from my New Year’s resolution to practice more empathy and, partly inspired by the protagonist of Elaine Hsieh Chou’s “Disorientation” (2022) — who abstains from the act because “She [i]sn’t a Republican!”— is my intent to stop kink-shaming. Regardless of your political affiliation, I hope this column can convince you to join me in this endeavor. My broader aim, though, is twofold: one, to dismantle the concept of “guilty pleasures” and explore why we shouldn't be ashamed of the things that bring us joy and to advocate for the small and oft overlooked innocent pleasures that can add light to our lives if we know to let them.