During my years in college, I have realized that the typical student of academia reads primarily because of their new found dedication to their professor, and for good reason. I mean, let’s face it, in a world surrounded by treacherous deadlines and lectures aimed at creating masochists, you do what you can in hopes that you’ll be able to at least manage the basic level of understanding short of drooling in class due to over-stimulation. With my new discovery of this pleasant phenomenon, I have brilliantly created two categories of reading—intellectual stimulating and pleasure stimulating. With this realization, I began to recognize that the world of academia focuses primarily on intellectually stimulating reading. Thus, the common response is a forceful neglect of pleasure stimulating reading. As a result, I have begun to ask myself: what is the purpose of “reading for pleasure?” I mean, it’s not like I’m going to ever write an academic essay titled, Challenging Social Normalcy: A Social Commentary as Presented by Buzzfeed, 30 Rock, and Twilight. So, what is the point of “reading for pleasure?”
While “reading for pleasure” is typically associated with feelings of mindlessness and viewed as catering to the lowest common denominator, who’s to say you can’t learn something valuable from pleasure stimulating activities? After all, it’s not like we have sex for the sole purpose of pregnancy. So, why are we all so Puritan when it comes to reading? A world full of mentally rigorous activity allots little time for pleasure. However, I think that if we begin to approach reading for pleasure as another medium of learning, it will become much easier to activate reading as a pleasure stimulant without being overwhelmed with guilt.
Comedians, although hilarious, also offer incredible insight into society. In my mind, comedy is way of ridiculing society’s flaws. Thus, comedy is only funny when we recognize that it is doing just this. A yo-momma joke can only have so much effect if you are completely obliviously to the issue that the joke is addressing. A perfect example of this idea is in Chelsea Handler’s book My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands where she mentions, “I was in a tailspin of confusion I hadn’t experienced since the first time I heard George W. Bush speak.” For me, an expression such as this would not serve as comedy, and fail to be humorous, if we did not understand the complexities of the Bush administration. Much like: Yo-momma so old her breast milk looks like powder, would fail to be funny if we didn’t understand the aging process of women or the social role of women as life creators. So, I think that the answer to the questions raised above can be concluded in one simple response: intellectual stimulation can result from pleasure stimulation. It just requires a new perspective of a given text that may not be so readily apparent. But, viewing things black and white just becomes boring, which is one thing academia reveals to us all.