Monday, September 10, 2007

No more a girl, and, well, sort of a woman

I admit I was not home during the MTV awards. I was down in Kingston, kayaking on the St.Lawrence, more worried about my boat taking on water in the waves than worried about whose public stock has risen or plummetted, or about who made a splash across the scandal-hungry media pages (bad puns, all around).

I do admit to having read about the MTV awards, though. Yeah, thirty five and still interested in the 'charts'...I was kind of hoping to see who won what award and if anyone among the performers I actually like made it to the podium. In my rather naive viewpoint, these events are still supposed to be about achievement, talent, and giving something back to the fans...and not primarily about who is wearing (or not wearing) what and who will make a stupid remark.

Now, enter the Ottawa Citizen. Their lead-up to the coverage of the said ceremonies was Britney Spears and her attempt to emulate a stripper. Point for Britney, zero for the Citizen. I had to search through the rest of the Arts section to find out who was actually awarded for what (and, yes, Shakira did win something, so the world is essentially unfolding the way it should).

Why am I so put off by the Citizen's coverage?...hmm, let me count the ways...

First, the article was a living proof that even a slightly above-the average paper in a big Canadian city will go for the obvious, albeit lame, hint of ' sleaze and scandal' instead of focusing on someone else who is actually accomplishing interesting things. Britney's slightly sagging midriff is bigger news than singers like Shakira, Kaney West and Justin Timberlake who actually have some talent, actually are recording and selling albums and happen to be in constant play across dance floors. It reminded me of huge amoung of coverage of Eddie 'the Eagle' in the ski-jumping competition, back in the Calgary winter olympics, the last-place finisher, rather than Matti Nykkanen, the winner (and one of the best ski jumpers to ever fly off the 90 m jump).

Second, there was such a palpable sense of schadenfreude in the coverage of Britney. Let her rest, don't give her any more headlines, for God's sake. The media vultures, sensing someone's reputation will fall by the wayside, are lining up to feast on the fast-cooling but still-twitching body. Speaking of body, I find it offensive that so much attention was directed at the fact Britney's bod no longer the super-buff, preternaturally toned and sleek machine but more of a 'natural' looking 25-year old woman's body. Gents, you know what I mean when I admit to liking normal girls, normal women, with a bit of flesh around the hips and some pleasing curves. Britney may not be bright but she is still sexy. To send the message that anything else than the gym-honed, traithlete-like figure is 'sexy' is to further add to the inferiority complexes that just about every young female out there seems to have...

Last but not least, she lip-synchs. The horror, the horror...Hasn't this lip-synching stuff been around for the last 20 years, ever since bands starting running around and having intricate dnace/floor shows, with acrobatic-type moves? How 'bout Janet Jackson or scores of other pop stars?

So, basically, I regret to see - yet again - a terribly shallow approach to media coverage of anything to do with pop music. And, I'd sleep with Britney, for sure. We might not sit around and talk about existentialism or the history of diplomacy, but I'd still sleep with her.


joncormier said...

But Jan, did Matti Nykkanen get to record a hit single like "Fly, Eddie, Fly"? I doubt it. Unless he was in Eurovision.

I guess my big thing about lip-synching is that it really took hold as an option for performers because Mick Jagger preferred to fake it on "Top of the Pops" so he could jump around a lot more. So the next time the Stones are released from their stasis pods for a world tour of their animated corpses and the dutiful part with their $400 and make sure to tell you that "Yep, they still got it" you can just say they paved the way for lipsynching pop stars.

The most famous result of lip synching was when Pete Townsend was watching Keith Richards spinning his arms as a warm up when the song started and thought he was playing. It led to Townsend's flying windmill on stage.

Then there was Nirvana on Top of the Pops playing their instruments backwards, stings facing in.

Jan Triska said...

Haha..stasis pods for the Stones.
You hit the nail, er, the mike, squarely on the head.

I am no longer sure what the fans are 'buying' at some of these shows. That's the problem with the whole MTV industry and also with how the media covers it. And ex-cowerker of mine went to see the Stones two years ago, on their surprise gig in Ottawa. Scalped tickets - $260, for faraway rows, too. Then there's the ageing and more and more desperate-looking Elton John (someone who I used to like); his gigs have a range of $80 to the high hundreds. Didn't pop and rock music originally start with the intent of being accessible and 'of the street'? That's why I like these local and up-and coming indie bands. Ten, fiften bucks a pop, maximum.
Rappers are even worse; it's supposed to have the 'street-cred', right/ Instead, you get these super-overproduced stage shows, with some supposedly bad-ass guys showing off their gold chains...what the hell? I would rather chuck a big chunk of change into some busker's hat.

joncormier said...

I think the MTV Video awards became irrelevant the moment MTV stopped actually airing videos.