The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Thought You Knew: Lines of Taste Blur After Inside Jokes Go Too Far

3 min read

If you were to visit my apartment without knowing my roommate or me (which would be really weird, by the way), you might think we have an unhealthy obsession with cats.

Actually, we do have an unhealthy obsession with cats, but only because we both hate the demonic fur-balls so much. Too much, probably.

Our hatred of the pointless creatures that some of you call pets has been a running joke for years, resulting in several instances of us going on rampages in which we’d spam each other’s Facebooks with cat pictures and videos.

So, naturally, when we moved in at the beginning of the year, we thought it would be hilarious to put pictures of cats all over our apartment.

I don’t even notice the cats anymore, but there have been several occasions where I’ve had to defend them to visitors who don’t understand why we would hang up these pictures if we don’t actually like cats.

Everyone decorates their home with pictures of the thing they hate the most, right?

I can’t be the only one who has no idea where to draw the line between real taste and ironic taste.

Actually, I’m not even sure that there is a line anymore.

I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve started off hating a song, downloaded it as a joke and then, after repeated plays, been unable to figure out if “Like a G6” is the best or worst thing that’s ever happened to music.

The cycle usually begins innocently enough when I’m sucked into the dark abyss of the Internet in the middle of the night. I never liked Shania Twain, yet somehow I found myself watching one of her old music videos, wondering where I could acquire a velvet, leopard print cape.

As soon as the upbeat, pop-country tune and Shania’s soulful twang began, I was brought back to my childhood. I realized that I knew all of the words to more than a few of Shania’s hits, thanks to my mom’s objectively terrible taste in music between the years 1998 and 2003.

In the days following, I couldn’t get the songs out of my head.

I figured I couldn’t be the only one of my friends who was familiar with Shania’s work, though they probably hadn’t thought about her in years. How funny would it be to play her songs at a party, I thought. No one would expect it, so the combination of surprise and the fact that this music is laughably awful would make it the perfect joke.
And it was.

It was such a great joke, that many of my friends also downloaded Shania. “Man I feel Like a Woman,” became an instant favorite and we all took turns playing it when we thought the others would least expect it.

As the novelty wore off, the joke died, but I’d be lying if I said we don’t still play a Shania song or two every once in a while.

I don’t like the way her music sounds, but I also clearly don’t hate it. Shania Twain represents a strange gray area in my personal tastes that I like and appreciate for the jokes it can provide, rather than any earnest enjoyment I experience while listening to it.

But, either way, I’m the one listening to Shania Twain, so does it really matter why?