Everyone has a guilty pop-culture pleasure. I read Entertainment Weekly regularly and I'm not afraid to admit it. Mark Kingwell, a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and a noted magazine writer, has compiled all of his guilty pleasures into one volume: Marginalia: A Cultural Reader (Penguin). In these essays, all of which have been published in Saturday Night, Adbusters, Harper's and other magazines, Kingwell constructs flawless arguments on many aspects of popular culture. The pieces are conversational and accessible, whether he's talking about Pierre Trudeau or Quentin Tarantino, kissing or buying underwear; whether he's engaging in a feminist analysis of Ally McBeal or a classist analysis of Frasier. (When does this man have the time to write dissertations on Kant?) As the title tells us, Kingwell’s subjects are marginal in his life: "this material is what [his] life is not." But he is privileged. His topics are the stuff of mainstream American consumer culture, and as such they frame most people's daily reality and form the context for how they relate to the world, without access to irony or academic language. Marginalia is insightful cultural criticism, written with delight and without apology. In his introduction Kingwell questions whether his interests will be of any interest to other people and asks how relevant cultural criticism is. He answers that he has tried to follow an approach Karl Marx identified as "kulturkritik: careful but lively attention to the texture of daily cultural affairs, in order to expose their hidden assumptions and ideological tendencies." It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it. Speaking of dirty work, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is on the cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly, so I've got some reading to do.