I love trash. I love trashy food (you will pry the gray beef stroganoff I make with cream of mushroom soup and ground-up chuck over egg noodles out of my cold dead hands, which by the by, multiple people who write here are horrified to know exists and have begged me to change my ways. Absolutely not, and I’m having it for dinner this week, suckers.) I love trashy TV (I am most definitely an expert in all things Jax Taylor-related and I have watched Rock of Love multiple times.) I love trashy books (I have an entire bookcase in my home devoted to Point Thrillers, and yes, R.L Stine and Christopher Pike have their own shelves, they deserve more honors than I can ever bestow upon them in this life.) I simply love trash, OK? It’s entertaining and allows me to turn my brain off and fully enjoy what I’m watching/eating/reading/whathaveyou, which contrary to popular belief, is a relatively hard thing to do for me, personally.
For whatever reason though, trash isn’t treated with the respect it deserves. I mean, even the name indicates disposability that isn’t bestowed on what is determined “art.” (Bestowed by whom? F*ck if I know.) The editing on Vanderpump Rules manages to cobble together a cohesive storyline based on the drunken and coked-out aimless rantings of its fickle cast who have no discernable talent and yet Bohemian Rhapsody won awards for the craft. What’s up with that?!
Then there are those among us out there who think people who like, nay, love trash are incapable of engaging with anything they deem to be on a higher level. Excuse me, but I was doing the jerk-off motion as I wrote that and I very much want that visual captured for posterity. It’s not worth getting into my (or anyone’s) specific intellectual bonafides, or the “classics” I’ve read, engaged with, and written multiple academic essays on (except for Proust. F*ck Swann’s Way with a rusty nail, man. That book f*cking sucked. Indulgent dreck.) You like what you like, and I believe you can’t help that—and more to the point, why would you want to!? Liking things is fun—far more fun than pretending to like things other people are pretending to like!
Why am I bringing this up now, though? Well, for a very simple reason—I cannot buy my beloved Tostitos Salsa Con Queso dip in stores right now. Which means that I am not alone in my profound love for this very trashy, salty, delicious foodstuff. Do a quick Google search on it, and the obnoxious phrase “guilty pleasure” will be used almost synonymously with this simple yet tasty dip. Bon Appetite even devoted a whole article about how some foodie had to ask another foodie if the dip was actually good. Guess what my man? If you like it, it’s good—it really is that simple! You don’t need an “expert” opinion to tell you it’s actually good and you don’t need to worry about how people are going to judge you for liking the shit you like. Just like it! We’d all be a lot happier if we liked the things we liked and ignored the things we didn’t if they’re not impacting us personally.
Look, we’re all guilty on some level of performatively demonstrating the sh*t we like because we like how it fits with how we see ourselves (I mean, hello, I wrote this post!), overplaying the shit we only kinda like to make people think we like it more because we assume everyone else likes it and fitting in feels good, or in the reverse, shitting on things other people like in order to show that you’re better/smarter/savvier/more cultured/whatever-the-f*ck than the thing you’re shitting on. Usually that last bit is reserved for trash, and you know what? I see the think pieces on Cousin Larry and Balki, and I’m not here for it. Perfect Strangers is, well, perfect—enough is enough. Shitting on things is easy. I should know, I write on the internet—it’s much harder to stand up and be counted among the people who really enjoyed Kangaroo Jack, because as the tagline said—“He stole the money and he’s not giving it back.” Now that’s a premise right there— a kangaroo wearing a jacket packed with money! LOL. Take my money, please, and make more movies like that!
I strongly suspect that certain things get called trash because it has no higher aim than to entertain as many people as possible and you know what? It’s f*cking hard to entertain the masses. Just ask Maximus Aurelius aka Russell Crow in Gladiator! (Side note: Gladiator is a trashy movie. It just never gets called that because of the people who were involved making it, which is a whole other can of worms I’m not gonna get into, but rest assured it’s super trashy—dudes fight tigers, a brother tries to get with his sister in a biblical way, and there’s visions of the afterlife complete with ghosts. If that ain’t trash, I don’t know what is…and friends, I know trash.) I don’t understand why the act of entertainment for entertainment’s sake doesn’t get more respect. Pleasure is f*cking hard to come by in this world—and yet things that give pleasure are derided because it serves no discernable purpose than to do the thing it does very well? How does that make sense?!
I mean, sure, trash gets dumped on as being disposable but I ask—disposable to whom? I still own every entry into the Fear Street oeuvre ever written, and yes, I will occasionally reread them because those books are magical and entertaining. It’s certainly not disposable to me, and furthermore, they taught me that anytime someone with a raspy voice calls me up on the phone, a murder either just took place or is about to take place, and I need to stay the f*ck away from the new dude who just showed up in town who happens to live on Fear Street. I’ve re-watched episodes of Vanderpump Rules more than I’ve rewatched any of the Best Picture winners since The Return of the King (a damn fine movie, btw) won in 2004. I like to be entertained. I also like to be challenged intellectually/emotionally, too—but one isn’t inherently better than the other just because someone says it is. There’s room for a lot in this crazy mixed-up world of ours, and we don’t need to shit on trashy things because its seen as less than.
If you don’t like trash, that’s fine! You don’t like trash—but my friend, it doesn’t make your palate any more refined or better than those of us who love to roll around in it and watch old episodes of Grudge Match on YouTube. (You know, that old show from the early ’90s where neighbors used to enter into a ring and beat the shit out of each other, although in retrospect, this whole show may have been staged…) Furthermore, based on the complete lack of stock of my queso dip in stores, I strongly suspect the vast majority of us like some form of trash and are hiding it from the rest of us. That’s OK! Like what you like, man. Although in the specific instance of Tostitos Salsa Con Queso dip, can you maybe chill on it for a minute, so I can get some? I miss it. It perfectly pairs with Bartles and Jaymes and the Look Who’s Talking trilogy, one of the finest trilogies of our time—it has it all, and by all I mean a talking baby voiced by Bruce Willis and John Travolta is there. Now, excuse me while I go watch my favorite scene from the movies and laugh out loud when John Travolta burps like it’s the highest form of entertainment (btw, it is!) Never fails to get me …
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