Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Popculturama Update

I often tell people I'm "boycotting pop culture", which has a properly smug and elitist ring to it. More accurately, I'm not interested enough to devote the time it would take to keep up with all the, um, exciting developments out there. Also, most entertainment news makes me feel dirty all over just for having read or watched it. And not in a good way.

However, I couldn't help but notice that Kevin Federline now has his own website, on which he apparently threatens to release an album some time next year. I can't get to his site just now; either it's beseiged by hordes of adoring fans, or the firewall won't let it through, or maybe its a DDOS attack. It's hard to say. The way the ABC article describes it, the site's loaded with Flash, which I guess just stands to reason.

[what follows stems from a breakfast table conversation last week.]

While K. Fed is the object of a great deal of mirth, the full scorn and fury of the entertainment media is reserved for the young and female: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Lindsay Lohan, Kelly Clarkson, Tara Reid, the Simpson sisters, the Olsen twins, Paris Hilton, and so forth. We're told that every single one of them is twice as dumb as a fence post, and a legendary skanky ho as well. Which, if true, would be an interesting statistical anomaly. That, or what we've really got is a window into the ugly souls of entertainment reporters. Even allegedly "serious" media spends much of its time pandering to the worst and basest instincts in the reading/viewing public. They figure that most people only pay attention because they want to have their existing prejudices reinforced. And one of the most enduring prejudices is that beautiful == stupid. Envy is an ugly, ugly thing.

Witness the cottage industry that's sprung up in the last few years, scrutinizing photos of various starlets and celebrities, looking for "suspicious" increases in breast size. I'm not going to lie to you and say the topic doesn't interest me, but I'm very well aware it's none of my business, no matter how famous someone happens to be. The really distasteful part is the "leer and sneer" reaction by the media when it decides someone's gone under the knife. They want to look, they really, really want to look, and they want to share the photos with the paying public. But at the same time they want to make it clear that the woman in question is a terrible person for having the surgery done, morally unfit, and stone dumb, never to be taken seriously.

None of this is to claim that Jessica Simpson's music or Paris Hilton's movies are enduring works of art. I'm also not claiming that either is a genius, because I have no idea, and it's impossible to get a real idea via media reports, plus it's none of my business. But even if they are dumb as sacks of hammers, I fail to see how that's such an unforgivable sin. By way of comparison, a male artist can be (or at least claim to be) a murderous, drug-dealing thug, and be considered a serious artist with important things to say. Is being a C- student really worse than gunning people down in the street? Can you say "double standard"?

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