The past few weeks have been a dizzying world in entertainment news, as the TV and film industry has come to a screeching halt over COVID-19 concerns. But that’s not the only story dominating the new cycle, as the ongoing legal battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard continues to take twists and turns. There was recently a new development, one that is good news for Depp’s case.
Romance novels, associated with women, are derided as formulaic and predictable—the ultimate guilty pleasure. Mysteries and thrillers have a set structure, too, but remain popular with men so those are spared the designation. Soap operas and dating shows are coded female, so those are worthless; professional wrestling, although sometimes just as scripted, reads as male. Junk food or fast food, which anyone with a few bucks can buy, is a guilty pleasure. Haute cuisine at a Michelin-starred restaurant—even if it clocks in at triple the calories, with more grams of fat and sugar than a Value Meal—is not.
Through it all, our guilty pleasures have endured. They’re profitable—romance novels, for example, account for almost a quarter percent of the fiction market; 36 percent of adults eat fast food on any given day, The Bachelor has, for decades, been one of ABC’s top-rated prime-time shows. And yet even though they’re money-makers, guilty pleasures are always shameful. I ate a bag of Bugles before noon! I binge-watched an entire season of Love Island. I ordered Popeyes for lunch! I put ice cream on my ice cream, and crushed-up Double Stuf Oreos on top of that!
But at least on Twitter, which is the only way I can still find out what’s going on outside my own front door, it feels like things could change. As we sit at home on our couches, we are presented with a new option—the chance to uncouple harmless, social-distancing-adherent pleasure from shame, the chance to realize that rest and leisure has an important place in the rhythms of a week or a day. With two dozen or so states now under some version of a shelter-in-place mandate, the same hobbies for which we were once shunned are now model behaviors! If there were ever a time to stop beating ourselves up for loving that bad show, for following those celebrities on Instagram, for calling a bowl of cereal dinner, this is it.
Now that our couch potato-ing gleams with the patina of responsible citizenship, now that we’re home (if we can be), soothing ourselves with the same packaged snacks and globs of unbaked cookie dough, binging the same trashy shows or losing ourselves in the same YA dystopias, can our guilty pleasures just be pleasures? With a global pandemic breathing down our necks, with our healthcare workers making unimaginable sacrifices so that we can remain in our living rooms, with some much real inequality to get angry about, can we just agree not to feel bad about Nabisco?
As someone who has seen her novels categorized first as “chick lit” then as “women’s fiction” and now as “beach reads,” I’d be delighted if, when we do emerge from our quarantine, food is just food; books—some heavy and some light—are just books; television shows are just mindless, diverting fun, without the pejorative of guilt.
And if nothing else, this experience of quarantine and social isolation should leave us with the conviction that pleasure matters; that pleasure is not optional, but essential to a full life. “The goal of pleasure to me—is it allowing me to feel deep joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment rather than [giving me] a way to escape or numb?” says Dr. Schalk. “Pleasure,” she says, “makes us more alive.”
I’m taking her advice, and doing my best to embrace the fleeting joys of this moment. (Yes, even this one.) I’m letting go of the guilt. Instead of performing self-flagellation (for whom?)—I can’t believe I ate all of that—I’m choosing to savor. The news has our bodies on high alert, and the indulgences we crave—the bubble baths, the cookie dough, the naps, the long afternoons with Grey’s Anatomy—are some of the best and most responsible methods of self-soothing available to us right now. Instead of beating ourselves up, says Dr. Schalk, we should instead tell ourselves, “I accept what is happening and I am making purposeful, self-loving choices.” Doesn’t that sound nice?
Jennifer Weiner is a contributing opinion writer to The New York Times, and the author of 14 novels, including Good in Bed, Mrs. Everything, and the upcoming Big Summer.
That’s right: There’s a direct line from the pop queen to this viral true-crime show about the world of big cat parks—and, more specifically, Doc Antle, the founder and owner of The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) in South Carolina.
We all remember Spears’s famous performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U” at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, which prominently featured a large python snake and, yes, a tiger. Guess who that tiger’s handler was? One Doc Antle with long, dark hair. He was even on stage during the performance, as you can see from these photos. Look to the upper lefthand corner of the images.
In this one, he’s getting up close and personal with the tiger—which will not be shocking to anyone who has watched the Netflix docuseries. And here’s a backstage shot where you can truly see Antle’s face.
Tiger King‘s main subject, Joe Exotic, counts Doc Antle as one of his inspirations for opening his own big cat park. But both have come under fire from animal rights activists, including Carole Baskin, in Tiger King.
People on social media were blown away by the Britney Spears revelation. “This 2001 britney performance was a defining moment in my life and i’m losing my mind knowing that doc antle was there also,” one person tweeted.
“DUDE. I was watching Britney performance videos this weekend and I was like OMG ITS DOC ANTLE WITH A TIGER during her Slave4U performance! Lol,” another wrote.
This latest revelation begs the question: What will the internet discover during self-quarantine this week? And also: Does Doc Antle have a favorite Brit song? I need answers immediately.
Honestly, if you were confident in the situation, and had the flexibility, if the parks did open before June 1, it might be the perfect time to go. With many people having cancelled reservations, and nobody currently able to make new ones, the parks will likely be as empty as they’ve ever been, especially if the parks are able to rev up and open with little warning.
And with No Time to Die marking the final installment in this slate of movies, it’s no doubt going to be an emotional journey or James Bond. The movie’s trailers show Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann and Bond on a high speed car chase, with 007 claiming that something from her dark past has come back to bite them. The movie will also see the return of Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, and Ben Whishaw.
Still, it’s nice to see Neill is still trying to stay optimistic in the midst of an uncertain situation, and he’s found plenty of ways to keep busy while staying at home. He went on to tell the trade he’s been relatively content with reading, singing, gardening and even helping to raise his grandchildren, who are about 2000 miles away.
Drake has remained pretty quiet about his son, Adonis. But the rapper just shared his first photos of the little boy on Instagram—and he is so cute. In one, Adonis is sitting on his dad’s lap and in another Drake poses with Adonis and his mother, Sophie Brussaux. He also shared a photo of his own parents in the set.
It seems like the coronavirus pandemic has Drake all up in his feelings about family, because he also shared some heartfelt words of support for fans. “What is most important for you right now is to connect to your own inner light. This will create the biggest opening of all. Trust that you have all of the power within to make this happen, and in order to do that connect to the people and things that bring you a lot of joy,” he wrote.
“Remember that you are never alone, and if you need to be reminded of that ask for support and it will show up. Everything comes down to intention, and even though there are conflicting energies circling around us you must KNOW…It will rebuild,” he continued. “But in order for that to happen, you have to do exactly that. Trust. You have the biggest heart and that is your greatest gift. It’s impossible to always control your surroundings, but when you shift the focus to how you want to feel, everything will conspire to assist you. I love and miss my beautiful family and friends and I can’t wait for the joyful day when we are all able to reunite. Until then please keep your lights on. 🤍”
Whatever prompted Drake to share these photos of Adonis, we are grateful for it. That head of curls is enough to make anyone smile. And who doesn’t need to smile right now?
A host of new movies have been released on digital platforms early as a result of shuttered movie theaters. It’s been giving all of us something to watch while we’re stuck indoors. Now, however, it’s time for what might turn out to be one of the biggest digital releases of the year, because it’s currently the number one box office movie of 2020 as well. Bad Boys for Life injected some true life into the January box office, and on the eve of its digital release, it’s teasing us with special features, including deleted scenes.
Over the years, Vin Diesel has lent his talents to franchises like xXx and The Chronicles Of Riddick, where he has been a badass all over the world, the galaxy, and beyond. And between roles like Xander Cage and Richard B. Riddick, Diesel has shown up in everything from World War II epics to intimate stories about people trying to make it in the world. The man can do it all.
This article contains spoilers from the movies mentioned in this list. Read on with caution!
Staying inside is the biggest thing people can do. Don’t have play dates with your neighbors, because right now we don’t really know if children could be asymptomatic carriers, or even adults. Just because you feel okay doesn’t mean you don’t have it. Stay as isolated as you can. But, we always like food. People are sending in pizzas, cookies, things like that to emergency rooms. I think that’s a great idea because it is a strange time. Whenever we can sit around a table and maybe have a slice of pizza, it’s a break from the reality. You feel like you’re back in your normal life.
I use this fitness app called Obe for self-care. I’m now four months postpartum, and it’s helped me trying to get back in shape after the baby. These days, I’m either locked in my house or at work, so it’s been nice because the workouts are just 30 minutes. I feel like a human again, and it’s a little escape. I even use it sometimes while I’m at work on a break. It’s really the one escape from reality I have right now.
I want everyone to just stay positive. This is going to be a long stretch, but we will get through it. We’ll see the other side and stay strong.
—Bridget, an ER pharmacist at a pediatric hospital in Colorado
“The most important thing is social distancing.” —Kathleen, ICU nurse
“COVID-19 is beginning to hit our area hard, and it’s already starting to overwhelm healthcare providers. A lot of infected patients are requiring ICU care, which requires ICU nurses and ICU doctors. There are only so many specifically trained. We have already started to ration masks in preparation for the inevitable. This past weekend I received one mask for my two weekend shifts and was given a brown paper bag to place it in. The number of masks and eye shields are already dwindling in our ER. We are anxiously waiting for supplies to completely run out, and then what happens? How do we protect ourselves and our families when that happens?
The most important thing is social distancing. It’s really upsetting to be driving to the hospital and see groups of people having picnics outside or getting their nails done at the local salon despite the closure of non-essential businesses. So please, please practice social distancing and stay home! As COVID-19 continues to spread, consider donating any unused, new, and sealed gloves, masks, and goggles to your local hospital.
For us on the front line, there aren’t many moments to take break but staying well hydrated, trying to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, lots of Vitamin C, and taking a moment to just turn off our brains for a second are key. This is an unprecedented time, and our priority is to the patients. Unfortunately, as a result our own health is on the back-burner.
As nurses, we signed up for being there for our patients, their families, and the general public no matter what. We having been training for moments like this our entire careers, but only with the proper safety equipment in place. I love my career, and I am thankful to be surrounded by an amazing group of healthcare professionals.”
—Kathleen, an ICU nurse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“If we lose work, who will pay our bills?” Lee, careworker
“There’s a stigma that if you wear a mask it means you have the virus. It’s very dangerous for the elderly to be exposed. At the assisted living facility where I work, I had to have my temperature taken before entering the building. If your temp is over 100 degrees, you are sent home. When we are sent home, that means no work and no pay.
It’s really depressing for us as home care workers. Just like with nannies and house cleaners, if we lose work who will pay our bills? We have to be strong, take care of our own health, and figure out how we can make a living in other ways. We can also get referrals from other friends who might need our help.”