The Consequences of Fun | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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The Consequences of Fun

A member of the Algonquin Roundtable would have loved going to Vegas

smithsonian.com

Fun causes guilt, apparently.
I really love how every key word in this quote is subjective. Immoral? One man’s uncrossable line is another man’s Tuesday afternoon. Illegal? So much depends on the state (it’s probably legal in Alaska) and era you’re in (that jerk Jim Crow). Fattening? Well, any food is fattening if you eat five gallons of it.

It seems that somebody (or a committee of well-meaning busy-bodies) is always hard at work declaring things good or bad, legal and illegal, immoral or commendable. And we bristle at that sorting. We reflexively think: “Fattening? It must be delicious. Illegal? There must be something to it. Immoral? According to who?”

Our collective idea of fun then, is by definition a little naughty. The more we’re told not to do something, the more irresistible it becomes. Society makes guilt and fun into dueling emotions.

Lump those words together: immoral, illegal, fattening, and you can’t help but smile. That pile of words describes something really tempting, you just know it. But remember: tomorrow, you’ll feel awful about it.

(c) Jessica Hagy, 2011

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