I’ll say it loud and proud. I’m not ashamed. Not only does the return of November mean the close proximity of the festive season, lovely autumn walks and cosy jumpers, but it also means the return of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! For years my viewing of this light-hearted, comical programme has been the butt of numerous jokes among friends, with nicknames resurfacing such as Granny Rach, and questions being asked such as how I’m coping with the menopause. I’ve finally decided to address the sheer injustice of the situation and tell the world why I think it’s okay – if not a great idea – to indulge in some cultural fluff every now and again.
When Pokémon Go was released this year, it seemed as though half the world of smartphone users went mad for the augmented reality game, while at the same time being made fun of by the other half. I read statuses about how men who downloaded the app must immediately ‘hand in their man card,’ and how generally sad and pathetic all those adults who play the game are. Firstly, a ‘man card?’ There is so much wrong with this notion that it needs its own post. Second, why it’s so upsetting to see people outside and enjoying themselves is baffling to me. I don’t enjoy cheese, but I also don’t spout that fanatics of this oddly textured, often mouldy wedge of lard should be chastised for their preferences.
I am not here to argue that I’m a Celebrity, Pokémon Go or any other entertainment forms which are constantly thrown into the category of intellectually inept require an active mind, challenge one’s mental dexterity or address pressing issues either in history or contemporary society. However, I do believe that enjoyment of them does not automatically equate to ignorance. Perhaps, following a stressful day at work, Susan doesn’t want to immerse herself in a MENSA puzzle. Perhaps, after hearing all day about devastating news stories going on throughout the world, Mike is ready to walk the streets in the hope of finding a fantastical creature to add to the collection bobbing around in balls inside his iPhone. After all that 2016 has thrown at us and all the inevitable worries of a personal life, a bit of mental relaxation is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.
So if watching a g-list celebrity trapped in a makeshift coffin with 40 snakes and 3,000 cockroaches cheers you up of an evening, go for it I say. For your guilty pleasure feel guilty no more. You’ve got nothing to prove.