I’m currently sitting in the university canteen, working on the same essay as I was yesterday. I’m actually doing the analysis now, and it’s going a lot better than I initially though. I’m at 1700 words, and I’ve only done one of the six points of analysis I need to. I’ll probably have to kill a load of decorative, typically Leah-like language once I’m done, but alas, so be it.
The canteen is pretty empty, but flocks of girls come and go, chattering and giggling, which is quite distracting. (The male students are of the silent and brooding variety, which is distracting in an entirely different way.) In order to drown out the inanity, I’m listening to some tunes.
On a whim, I put on Unplugged in NY, by Nirvana. I haven’t listened to Nirvana properly in years, and I’d forgotten how much I like this album. Why hadn’t I listened to it for so long?
Shame. That’s it, basically. I got embarrassed when I thought of the fact that I used to really like Nirvana. Oh, dear, at one point I was an angsty fifteen-year-old girl, how very dare I.
In my first proper literature seminar, I was too ashamed to admit that I like horror fiction, even though my tutor was a self-proclaimed horror buff. Up until last year or so, I stuck to a uniform of boring jeans-and-jumpers. (No offence to people who always wear jeans and jumpers; it’s just not my style.) Now I constantly talk about Lovecraft and King, I wear my almost exclusively greyscale skirts and tops, and I wear my nerd glasses. I’ve also got my ‘I want to be Neil Gaiman’ hair going on.
If the quiet, broody guy sitting on the benches over there found out that I was listening to Something in the Way, I’d probably still blush a little, but I’d get over it. The thing is, at a certain point, I realised that it really doesn’t matter if you like ‘immature’ things like angsty rock music, pulpy books, or kooky clothes. And no, not just because I also like highbrow stuff.
Sure, I can give you intellectual reasons for liking the stuff I do, and I can counter any accusation of tastelessness by pointing out that I’m also a lover of ‘fine literature’ and ‘proper culture’. I can read Latin and everything.
Liking certain types of media or culture doesn’t say anything about you as a person. I am not the fifteen-year-old bucket of angst that I was when I first listened to Unplugged in New York. Taste and expressions thereof do not determine your personal worth, nor does it say anything about your intelligence.
Some of the smartest people I know like ‘low culture’. Some of the biggest knobs I know swear by ‘great literature’.
I’m still glad I’m listening to Nirvana using headphones, though.