Today the lovely Michael J Malone is stopping by the CTG blog as part of his A SUITABLE LIE Blog Tour to talk about pleasures, guilty pleasures to be precise.
Over to Michael …
Heard the phrase “Guilty pleasures” recently? Used it yourself? The meaning of the phrase is fairly easy to compute, yeah? Something you enjoy buy feel “guilty” for doing so.
But I have a problem with that. Any guilt is apparently to do with being caught participating in an activity which is thought to be deeply un-cool by your peers.
The more I hear this phrase, the more it annoys me. One the one hand I can understand that at our deepest level we are social creatures and anything that puts us at a remove from our social group is largely to be avoided. On the other hand, we are individuals and if whatever I am doing doesn’t harm anyone else why should I care what other people think?
And who gets to decide what is cool or un-cool? Is there some arbitrary notion that hypnotises en masse? Or is it all influenced by a media that browbeats us every minute of every waking day with their choices?
The media is run my people just like us. Why do they get to decide what we should and shouldn’t watch/ read/ think/ buy? Someone gives them a job on a newspaper, magazine or TV programme and we should suddenly listen to them like they are the Great Collective Guru of Taste?
I caught and stopped myself using the GP phrase just recently when I was talking about books. I almost said Wilbur Smith was a (hangs head in shame) guilty pleasure. For the briefest of moments – I was talking to someone I wanted to impress –I worried that enjoying Smith’s books might make me look less of whatever mask I was trying to inhabit.
As I said, I caught myself and noted that I was a fan.
Are you a literary snob? Do you only read the classics? Are your shelves filled only with the likes of Atwood, Conrad, Austen and the latest Man Booker/ Pulitzer prizewinner? Do you rush to hide the latest Stephen King or James Patterson when you hear a knock at the door?
Why is popular fiction derided as somehow being unworthy?
Every year when our political leaders go on holiday it seems like they are rushing to tell the newspapers what their holiday reading will be, and it’s all very earnest. Just a couple of years back David Cameron tried to excuse his “poor judgement” in one such article by writing off his holiday reading as “trashy novels”. Which made me almost want to dig up Guy Fawkes’ grave. How dare he write off someone’s hard work as trash?!
My feeling is that there is only good writing and bad writing. If the book grips or entertains me why should I worry if the taste police look down on me?
I say, down with that all of that sort of thing. Let’s erase the phrase from our lexicon. If you find yourself kow-towing to this needless waste of energy, stand tall and announce your preference with pride and offer a biblical pox on the decision-makers of “good” taste.
Sounds like good advice!
A SUITABLE LIE is out now. Here’s the blurb: “Some secrets should never be kept … Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match … and she loves his son like he is her own. When Andy ends up in hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything. A brave, deeply moving, page-turning psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s finest crime writers, exploring the lengths people will go to hid their deepest secrets, even if it kills them …”
You can buy A SUITABLE LIE from Amazon here
And to find out more about Michael, check out his website here and follow him on Twitter @michaelJmalone1
Also, be sure to visit all the other fantastic stops along the A SUITABLE LIE Blog Tour …