By MATT SHAPIRO
I have really bad taste in music.
It's not that I don't appreciate decent music. I like the "good" stuff fine, but it's not what I love listening to. I'm supposed to like bands like Radiohead, appreciate genres like hip-hop or jazz. I don't think I've ever really listened to Beyoncé or Taylor Swift. Maybe if I cared, I could apply myself and be able to tell one Bach piece from another.
Instead I love pop-punk. And not just any pop-punk, but the chirpiest, lightest, fastest, most annoying pop-punk I can find. Or, even better, Christian pop-punk from bands that are clearly doomed to extremely short careers given how they appeal to an exclusive audience of me and five other people.
I love it. I'm always listening to this ear-poison. I come back to it after I try to improve my musical tastes with Bowie or Beck or Arcade Fire (are they still a thing?). I'm not sure I can even explain why I love pop-punk other than it brings me joy. And I'd like to defend joy.
There are strangely a lot of anti-joy advocates. Especially with social media like Twitter, there is no lack of opinion on what we should enjoy or what tastes make us good or bad people.
[lnsert Nickelback joke]
[Confession: I have no opinions on Nickelback. I'm not sure I've ever listened to them.]
Adult coloring books are a great example of something people get a lot of judgment for enjoying.
Occasionally, I see stuff like this and I instinctively want to rise up in defense of people who just simply enjoy things.
When I first heard that adult coloring books are a thing, I thought of someone sitting down for the evening. Laptop closed, phone off, they get out a set of 24 or 50 colored pencils and set them along the side of the table. With a deep breath, they let the stress of the day go and open up a book with incredibly detailed patterns or designs, likely on thick-stock paper. Carefully selecting their first pencil (probably blue), they spend the next hour simply focusing on the lines, the colors, the patterns. When they're done with a page, they have a vibrant rainbow of intricate pattern. I imagine a book, carefully colored, takes a few weeks to complete.
This was my assumption before I even saw one of these. Based on my glancing around for images for this post, I feel like this assumption was validated.
Adult coloring books are certainly not my thing. But I can see a lot of ways, a lot of frames of mind, to enjoy them.
One of my favorite pastimes is getting people to "come out" about some hobby or esoteric taste that they are quietly very passionate about. People love so many incredible things for so many unique reasons. People get incredibly passionate about things that the rest of us never think about or take for granted. And I think this passion makes the world a far better place.
So revel in your coloring while I guiltily listen to my Christian pop-punk. Let's love the movies that our friends think are terrible and the books that everyone hates. And don't let anyone make you feel bad for loving the things you love.
Matt Shapiro is a software engineer, data vis designer, genetics data hobbiest, and technical educator based in Seattle. He tweets under @politicalmath, where he is occasionally right about some things.