sweet paprika and the dangers of degeneracy

Touted as Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Sex and the City, with a pinch of The Devil Wears Prada, Sweet Paprika is the latest comic book series from Mirka Andolfo. It’s funny, fast-paced, and most of all, sexy. What it is not, however, is appropriate for children, so before I get into things, I just want to be sure that I emphasized that. (You know the routine, kids. See you in the next one!)

Sweet Paprika is a story about, you guessed it, Paprika, a young, devil woman living in a world of demons and angels. She works at Infernum, a popular publishing company, as the Chief Creative Officer (CCO), and on paper, her life seems great. She’s rich, has a nice apartment, and has a career that she loves, but her tough, girlboss exterior doesn’t fool her employees, who are all very afraid of her. She’s notoriously hard on them, expects the world from them, and lacks empathy in regards to their feelings. Although she claims that her behavior is for the good of the company, the only person that Paprika is truly hurting is herself.

Paprika grew up in a semi-conservative household. (I find it very ironic that the devils in this series are the “good” guys, but that could also be a separate blog post about the increasing inversion of society) Her father and mother, also named after herbs, Artemisio and Pepper, had conflicting views on how to raise their daughter. Artemisio is staunchly against Paprika knowing anything about sex, and Pepper thinks it’s okay to talk to her daughter about the topic. This treatment of the topic causes Paprika to become an adult who has a lot guilt and shame formed around the idea of sex. She can’t even masturbate without hearing her father’s voice (trauma is something, isn’t it?) scolding her about the dangers of teenage pregnancy.

This treatment of the topic scares Paprika from engaging in sexual relationships as an adult. No matter how much she wants to open up to other people and take chances, she doesn’t want to end up a degenerate like her father always predicted. This situation leaves Paprika with only her fantasies and her loneliness. And one thing is quite clear: Paprika is very unhappy.

The target of most of her frustration is Dill, the dreamy delivery boy whom all the women in the office absolutely adore. Paprika hates how easy-going and flirtatious Dill is, but much like her, he has a secret. The constant flirtation and one-night stands are actually a larger cover-up for Dill’s lack of intimate fulfillment. Their situation is truly a “grass is greener”-type situation, and I feel like this can be applied to most people, as well. I think when people’s natural curiosities and inclinations are suppressed, whenever they are finally able to act on them, they tend to run all the way to the other end of the spectrum. Imagine like the sheltered pastor’s kid going to college, or something. This type of scenario typically leads to degeneracy, and it can be quite hard to come back from degeneracy once the spiral starts.

Our society currently has a pervasive problem with degeneracy, and at this point, it is quite obvious. In everything from movies, to video games, to anime and more, the degenerate propaganda is unending and unyielding. That is why you have to be careful what you give your time and attention to in a world like ours. The fact that the label “degenerate” is often worn a badge of honor is quite concerning to me. I feel like all roads of degeneracy lead to one thing: destruction.

Degeneracy destroys, and is the antithesis of creation. So the next time you go to brag about how much of degenerate you are, give it some thought first. Words have power, and the labels that you attach to yourself can become self-fulfilling prophecies very fast. Do you want to lead a life of creation, or destruction? The answer’s pretty obvious, and if it’s not, in the words of Michael Jordan, “Stop it. Get some help.”

I hope that Dill and Paprika also find some sort of balance in their lives and fend off the demon of degeneracy. Only one issue of Sweet Paprika has been released so far, and I have tremendous hope for the two of them.

If you’re looking for a romantic-comedy comic that is pretty accurate to what it’s like being alive in these times, definitely give Sweet Paprika a read. It’s spicy, but it’s also quite sweet!

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