Thursday, January 06, 2005

Wow -- A Bad Idea All The Way Around

Dang, it's only January 6, and already I've been forced to shake my head at the latest of the lame. The first "Wow" of 2005.

Ooh, I Should've Gone to College 'Cuz I Need a Day Job

I have been, and will continue to be, highly critical of that entertainment genre known as "pop." Truth be told, if I wrote a pop tune, and someone bought it, I wouldn't turn down the royalty check. However, I know what it is, and I know it ain't Music, with a capital "m." More often than not, pop stars, pop idols, pop whatevers, are formulaic and marginally talented. Technology makes them sound great. Personal trainers, stylists, and hair & makeup artists make them look great. Their label's promotions machine give them street cred. And their talent, or lack thereof, is hidden far from the public eye.

Perhaps, if you're as old as I am, you'll remember back in 2000 when Enrique Iglesias was exposed as a marginal talent, singing painfully off-key on a track that Howard Stern played on his show. Senor Sexy then went on the show to sing live and prove that the sucky voice on said tape was him goofing around. I heard both the tape and Enrique's performance, and I still think he sucks. He's lovely to look at, with the perfect 5 o'clock shadow, and wooly cap, but I'll pass on his recordings.

And then there's Ashlee Simpson. First, I'm laughing my behind off at the thought of American nursing homes in 50 or 60 years being filled with Tanishas, Shaquannas, Rayquans, Tiffanys and Ashleys (and all attendant spellings thereof), Heathers, and Ambers, but I digress. Ashlee, for those who may not know, is the sister of the third or fourth most in/famous blonde in America, singer Jessica "I pledged my virginity to my father at twelve, and he gave me jewelry in exchange for no schwing without a ring" Simpson. Ashlee has made a conscious effort to establish her own pop status, dyeing her hair black, dressing more like Avril Lavigne than Beyonce, and yes, trying to sing. Horribly.

This latest in the never-ending parade of pop-pathetiques can't even lip sync in order to hide her lack of skill. She blamed her band for her botch on Saturday Night Live, then tried to claim heartburn burned out her voice. And, she was booed, yes, booed, during her halftime performance at the Orange Bowl. Ouch. How can you not bring your A-game to a halftime show? Do you not know that every halftime show since Nipplegate has to beat that? Even Destiny's Child's halftime performance on Thanksgiving Day, as hot as it was, wasn't nearly as exciting as Janet's boob job (seconded only to that punk Justin Timberlake's exposure as a boob a few days later). Sports spectators see halftime shows as filler until the game returns. Therefore, if you've got the stones to do a halftime show, you'd better be exceptional. Your performance has to be good enough to distract me from my 2-beers-full bladder, my second bag of peanuts craving, and my ringing cell phone. You'd better be so good that I'll tell Jesus to wait a second, I'll catch the Heaven bus at the next stop. You'd better be so good that the audience at "Showtime At The Apollo" loves you. But, no. She couldn't come through, and 75,000 college football fans booed her live, with a few more booing her from the comfort of their homes.

You've got to give it to her management for pulling off the greatest entertainment con since the empty Al Capone vault incident. Nipple, anyone?

And, from the Destined To Fail Files...

The New York Daily News announced "Marry Your Baby Daddy Day" , a campaign designed to end the unwed parenting syndrome in the Black community. 10 couples, who are already living together, will receive an all expense paid wedding; dress, reception, the works. A ceremony will be performed by Rev. Herbert Daughtry, pastor of the House of The Lord Church in Brooklyn. The idea is from the mind of author Maryann Reid.

Who is Maryann Reid, you ask? She writes novels on Black relationships. With titles such as "Sex and The Single Sister," and "Use Me or Lose Me," Reid has captured, according to her, I guess, the voice of the single Black female who has a successful career and just wants a good man. I'm not a single Black female; hell, I'm not even a heterosexual, so I can't justly criticize -- perhaps she does know what she's talking about. However, I do find it curious that a still-single woman who writes freely about sex outside of wedlock (and explicitly, I might add) is suddenly on the marriage kick. She's a relationship consultant on a Lifetime show. I'm sorry, but how does a single person give me advice about marriage? And if she isn't married, why is she trying to encourage others to marry?

Don't get me wrong. I fully support informed marriages, or similar relationships, between consenting, able-minded adults. I too think the baby mama/baby daddy thing needs to stop, but as I've said in the past, we need to stop equating the wedding with the marriage. Too many women with marginal self-esteem, suffering from Cinderella syndrome, think that a wedding is the second step in their journey to complete womanhood (the first being graduating from college, with having a baby as third). If you can't make reasonable sexual decisions; i.e. making him wear a condom, what makes you think you should enter into a legal agreement with him? That's what marriage boils down to. You can draw up paperwork to cover property obtained during the course of your relationship. You can draw up paperwork indicating what will happen to your child should the two of you die, sign an affidavit saying you're in a committed relationship for purposes of health insurance. Lesbian and gay couples do it all the time. Non-married couples who have been together for 10, 15, 20 years have done it, and they're happy. Getting married is great, but not for the wrong reasons, and getting married to meet some cultural norm that isn't working is short-sighted. How about starting with responsible dating? One of the craziest lines I've ever heard is from the movie "Claudine." Shortly after the main character's man has left her, she's riding the bus to work with her female friends, talking about man troubles, and one character proclaims "I'd rather have a dirty pair of pants in the sink than no pants at all." Why don't we help women to stop believing that? And why can't we teach men to stop acting like a committed relationship is a prison sentence?

Quiet as it's kept, Ms. Reid's latest book, "Marry Your Baby Daddy" is scheduled for release in September, the same month the eponymous campaign is supposed to jump off. As with Ashlee Simpson, you've got to give it up to her management and promotions team. This isn't an entertainment con, but a cultural one, and that's even worse.

Perhaps Ms. Reid is pulling a Star Jones-Reynolds. Maybe this stunt is a way for her to get free weddingalia, but to engage the public in it is just lame. Let's see how this plays out.

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