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America’s Next Top Model is for Intellectuals

December 10, 2012

We all have our guilty pleasures. Some of us like forty-nine-cent pork rinds available at Midwest truck stops. Some of us have Britney Spears on repeat on our iPods. Some of us watch cat videos in our offices.

And some of us like shows like America’s Next Top Model.

I write this to reassure you that this is perfectly okay. We can’t always be eating steamed vegetables, enjoying the gentle rhythm of Vivaldi while waiting for the latest documentary of The History of Earthworms to come on. We’re human beings.

Besides, guilty pleasures inspire. Idea come from random places, and random stimulation.

And if the guilty pleasures don’t inspire, they at least entertain. I really don’t know what I would have done in law school if E! hadn’t aired round-the-clock episodes of America’s Next Top Model. What else am I supposed to watch when I’m spending an entire Sunday writing about whether or not the defendants in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia are fit to stand trial? We all need fluff to fill our days and distract ourselves from more serious projects.

And I have to admit that seasons one through eight (there are now roughly five hundred zillion) are pretty entertaining. And sad. The formula is always the same: Tyra takes high school dropouts who can’t get catalogue work and cruelly dangles the hope of a modeling contract in front of them like a carrot. (The ironic thing is that none of these girls have ever become a top model in any sense of the word). She then proceeds to put them in semi-degrading photo shoots that would never happen in real life (like the one where the girls had to pose in a meat locker, wearing meat), all the while shamelessly promoting herself, CWTV, and any sponsor that coughed up dough to put the show on the air.

Anyway. As creative people, we need guilty pleasures to keep us stimulated. I can’t read Ulysses and Catch-22 and Sense and Sensibility consecutively; there needs to be a Cosmopolitan thrown in there. Guilty pleasures give us breaks.

More importantly, guilty pleasures keep us from taking ourselves too seriously. They give us ideas we wouldn’t get from reading straight “intellectual works.” Something silly can spark an idea, like how watching Big gave me my idea for my next book (Although I in no way mean to compare Big to America’s Next Top ModelBig is wonderful). It’s important to keep our minds open, and by doing that, we have more to choose from by way of ideas. You never know where an ideas will come from, and it’s important to acknowledge that.

So don’t feel bad about partaking in guilty pleasures. John Green himself mentions America’s Next Top Model in not one, but two of his novels (The Fault in our Stars and An Abundance of Katherines). And as we know, John Green is the best writer ever. Ever.

If you don’t buy my logic, you can at least listen to John Green.


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  1. My guilty pleasure is making fun of myself and my upbringing as a funeral director’s daughter. I found you through Query Tracker Community. I am a member too. I look forward to following your blog.

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