Let me try to put this delicately. On second thought...
This friend of mine is seeing this dude (or screwing, or whatever the Hell they are doing.) She was at his apartment, and was kind of surprised to see that he had DVR'd the latest episode of Jersey Shore, and was very adamant about watching it ASAP. I think part of the story is that he was a little high at the time, but he still DVR'd it. Now, I've never met this dude, but when I heard this, I laughed at him, from a great distance, but I bet he heard me. I laughed because I know no straight man who has ever watched, let alone records, Jersey Shore.
For the uninitiated, Wikipedia describes the show thusly: "The series follows the lives of eight housemates spending their summer in a summer share in Seaside Heights, New Jersey." Of course, they spent a season in Miami, and apparently there will be a season in Italy. Perhaps it will be in Jersey, Italy. Nevertheless, it is the most popular show in the long history of MTV, surpassing Real World/Road Rules and even that one about the fat teenagers. And yet, I know no one who actually watches it, mostly because I don't know any pre-teen girls. I also don't know this dude, but apparently he watches it, too.
Part Two of this story is more personal. Not long after my giggling, Jersey Shore revelation, my friend witnessed me watching (via Netflix Streaming) the X-Men animated series from the early-90's. I had remembered liking this series during its hey-day, so I wanted to see if it still held up (and I honestly didn't watch a lot of its 5-year run). It really doesn't hold up at all, but then, I am thirty-five. I just don't really get what they were going for. It was filled to the gills goofy lines and general silliness, but they killed off Morph in the first episode, I guess to illustrate that it was a "serious:" show. Probably as serious as Jersey Shore, anyway.
Which brings me to the point of this whole rigamarole. As she watched me relive my youth, my friend shook her head and said, "And you judged someone for watching Jersey Shore." I defended myself by saying that it was pure nostalgia, and she made a slight retraction by pointing out that she knew what show I was watching after seeing just a few seconds, because she watched it back then, too. Still, I was vexed.
I did judge that man for being a 30-something year-old who recorded Jersey Shore, and yet I was streaming a cartoon (and eating a grilled cheese while I watched it). In fact, I watch a lot of cartoons, and eat a lot of grilled cheeses. And I read comics and have a collection of Jokers. If someone were to laugh at me, I would probably feel wronged and laugh back at whatever silly thing they do ("You drive a car in the city? What a simp!") The big question? Is one worse than the other? And who am I to judge, having consumed hours and hours of crap television in my lifetime? It's true! While I was dating my girlfriend, I used to watch General Hospital with her, and to be honest, Luke Spencer was totally my hero. I mean, he used to go on actual adventures like some kind of modern-day Indiana Jones. How could you not think that was cool? But I digress...
I don't know even what the point is. Maybe that we all have our "things." Granted, I haven't watched X-Men since that day (mostly because I thought it was a bad show, not because I was embarrassed.), and I've never watched Jersey Shore. But if I was a little younger, or dating someone who watched it, would I be a fan? Well, no, because there's watching a show, and watching a show. I'll watch re-runs of The Simpsons, but I watch Mad Men. Maybe it's always weird when someone outside the core demographic watches anything. Maybe it's because I remember MTV before it was so terrible. Maybe this dude just gets a kick out of that "Guido" shit, and maybe I'm just a little too young at heart. Maybe there's just too much damn TV in the first place. I don't know the answer, but I do know that I did laugh at that guy, and yes, I know that saying about glass houses. Honestly, I still find it funny that a grown man would DVR a show geared towards teenage girls. So I guess I haven't learned my lesson. What's the opposite of "Judge not lest ye be judged."?
Honestly, I feel there should be rules here. Maybe we're not judged enough in today's society. I mean, I'm not saying we should all be racist bigots, but I feel like when I was younger I got made fun of for just about everything I did. True, liking any show is pretty harmless, but usually, when you give people an inch, they'll take a yard. Maybe I've been to too many comic conventions and seen too many people dressed up as Chewbacca in public to make an accurate assessment, but we may be creating a generation of weirdos. I know people who go to a yearly "writer's convention," only the writing they are referring to is actually slash fiction. I think the next one will be called Orgy-Con 2012, and yet I can't even watch X-Men in my own house. There's a problem here. Should we just be allowed to do whatever we want?
I guess as long as we're not hurting each, right? But when that day comes, will it be too late?