Sunday, February 17, 2013

Star Bores

Why don't more people call Beyonce a "genius"? Um, because she isn't, at least not a musical genius. A genius at self-promotion and self-regard, sure. Consider just the past several weeks -- the inauguration, the Super Bowl, and now a 90-minute promotional ad for HBO. (To add insult to injury, the HBOZ channel, usually a repository of action flicks and midnight Skinemax cold-shot titty movies, just finished showing the "documentary" on a continuous loop for 24 hours straight. I wish I was making that up.)

It's always peculiar when an adult gushes over any pop star to this extent. That's really all Beyonce is, and as such, she's very competent at it -- great voice, energetic performance, standard material. From what I hear, most of the final rounds of American Idle and Teh Voice have quite a few examples along that line. Again, though, there's a difference between true genius and mere competence.

I think part of this "phenomenon", this general cultural effort to maximize the merely mediocre or even marginal, is at once a vestige of the recording industry and the result of reality-teevee marketing. Record companies always (and seemingly only) thrived on having tentpole products around which to position the rest of their catalogs. And it's hardly worth mentioning that with the proliferation of the bizarre, the mediocre, and the borderline retarded, in terms of what they will now make a "show" "about", and around whom, anyone can become a star.

And when anyone can become famous, whether or not they're talented, talent tends to marginalize as a salient factor. In other words, even if Beyonce was half as incredible a singer as she seems to think she is -- and she is a very good singer -- it wouldn't matter. Her appeal prevails among the sorts of folks who find, say, celebrity pregnancies interesting or even compelling, the sort of moron who will find the most mundane and commonplace activities enthralling, so long as someone they've heard of is doing them.

But that is the hallmark of the fairweather fan; eventually the famous person du jour gets played out, either leg-humping their latest project until everyone's sick of hearing the name (which, between the pedophilia scandals, is part of what happened to Michael Jackson), or whoring their personal life out until no one but the most ADD morlock can stand it anymore. Seriously, is there still anyone out there with an IQ over 50 who cares what any of the Kardashians are keeping up with?

This will happen with Beyonce and Jay-Z as well, as it happens to almost everyone sooner or later. Fans move on; attention spans are short; the types of "music" thetwo of them do is interchangeable and disposable, more a product of songwriting, arranging, and producing than any innate ability either of them might possess beyond brand-building.

Wealthy people who not only have the balls to complain about how rough it is at the top, but then strap on an extra pair to tell the world what photos they are allowed to publish, and who always have to be the center of attention in everything they do, wear thin more quickly than they might realize. An asshole is one thing; an asshole who has no conceivable reason to be an asshole is quite another. In the meantime, I don't spend sixteen bucks a month on HBO so some spoiled princess can commandeer time to tell us all how awesome she is. At least not willingly.


sowleman said...

C'mon, man. No thinking person pays any attention to this corporate crap "culture". You're too sharp a mind to waste on the obvious. I generally resonate with your takes on the economic/political system. That's a real deal and I'd urge you to keep hammering away thereon.

Brian M said...

I'm not cool at all...but I don't own a television and have never heard any of Ms Beyonce's processed enterteinment product. I now feel deprived.