On the nature of guilty pleasures

Related: Mondo Cane (1962)Mondo BizarroItalian cinemaGualtiero Jacopetti

Mondo Cane (1962) – Paolo Cavara, Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco E. Prosperi

Having recently received comments by Lichanos and o. h. about the validity of guilty pleasure as a separate cultural category I show the film above, Mondo Cane (1962), by Gualtiero Jacopetti and his colleague whose name escapes me at this time.

I always feel tempted instead of arguing to cite a collection of words and concepts which will tautologically exlain the concept. I will not resist the temptation now. Here they come:

bad tastecampkitsch“low culture”trashtaboo

I continue:

See also: “body” genres”bread and circuses“low” artlowbrow (American art movement)working class cultureculturefolk culturepopular culture

Related by connotation: artificialbad tastebasic instinctcampcheapcommercialconventionalcommonderivativeentertainingephemeraexploitationformulaiclow budgetluridmassordinarypoppopularproletariatprurientsensationalismscatologyshockingstereotypetrash under-the-counterundergroundvulgar

Contrast: “high” culture

See also: low modernism

In film: B-moviesexploitation filmsgrindhouse filmsparacinematelevisionvideo nastiesviolent films

In print: comicsescapist fictiondime novelsgenre fictionmen’s magazinesparaliteraturepopular fictionpulp fictionyellow journalism

In music: discohousemusic hallpopular musicpop music

In the visual realm: advertisingapplied artscaricaturedecorative artsdesign graffitikitsch

In performing arts: burlesquecircuspeepshowstripteasevaudeville

By genre: adventure“body” genrescarnivalcomedyhorrormelodramapornographyromance

Perhaps one day I will put all of the above words in the right order, divide them into chapters, add adjectives, conjunctions, phrases and clauses and page numbers.

Furthermore, guilty pleasures are marketing categories (see the Foute CD products in the Dutch-speaking region), and marketing categories are the strongest indication of genre identity.

Notice that all links go to Jahsonic.com pages, a project which was from the outset a “guilty pleasure” in nature and purpose.

2 thoughts on “On the nature of guilty pleasures

  1. lichanos

    Ya’ know, I saw part of Mondo Cane on TV when I was a kid, and I’ve always wondered, what WAS that???

    I always feel tempted instead of arguing to cite a collection of words and concepts which will tautologically exlain the concept.
    Alas, at best this can merely illustrate a concept. Is a picture always worth a pile of words..? I think not, much as I love them.
    Can any “explanation” be tautological? Is that not a tautology of sorts?
    I have no complaint with your practice, but your method seems to be totally against explanation, criticism, or construction of meaning. It is collage – which has it’s own value to be sure – otherwise, why would I read your blog – but there is a difference. (I am not ranking them!)

    I think you hit the nub of the matter of “guilty pleasures” when you refer to them as a marketing categories. Must all values be values of consumerism? Are not other values and systems of criticism worth of consideration on their own terms, even if they are hostile to it?

    Noblesse oblige, Jahsonic…the battle between “high” culture and the disintegrated melange of culture was long ago won by your side. Give us few holdouts a break…

  2. jahsonic

    At times like these I find it a great pleasure to have you as a constant and constructive critic.

    I loved how you brought up the tautology, my main philosophic hamper. So I’ve necessarily contented myself with collage. I wish others would write the (hi)story in a way that contents me.


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