Friday, April 07, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Listen, I'm no fan of Pink and from what I've read in the past she's certainly been guilty of some her own skanky behavior, but her new single "Stupid Girls", which I caught the other day on VH1, hits its right on the nail when it comes to exploring the culture war against young women that has made for a decline in public morality as well as its consequences.
IRONICALLY, it's taken a pop star to bring the debate to the fore. In her latest single, Stupid Girls, American singer Pink rips apart vacuous celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson for being the worst kind of role models. Internationally famous for their money-obsessed lifestyles, reality TV shows and desperate thinness, rather than any notable talent, Pink lambasts her high-profile victims with the lyrics: "What happened to the dream of a girl president? / She's dancing in a video next to 50 Cent / They travel in packs of two or three / With their itzy-bitzy doggies and teenyweeny Tees."
Her protest song hits the charts as a survey reveals that three-quarters of girls want to change something about their appearance while more than a quarter of 16-year-olds are considering plastic surgery. While 74% of girls aged eight to 12 wanted to alter their looks, three out of 10 said they wished to be slimmer and 15% wanted to be taller, according to research by skincare brand Dove.
The Pink video also highlights how titillation is being used as a modern alternative to talent as she spoofs socialite Hilton's infamous sex tape, as well as pouting Dukes of Hazzard star Simpson's performance for These Boots Are Made For Walking, when she washes cars in a wet bikini.
She says of women in celebrity culture: "There's a lot of ridiculousness going on today. I don't need to name names. I'm attacking the general idea that you have to be cute and dumb to be successful."
Yet despite being little more than fodder for magazines and cable shows, these super-thin, super-rich young women have a huge influence on their fanbase – which is mainly teenage girls. Some of them, such as actress Lindsay Lohan, have started out in children's movies or TV shows.
Meanwhile, home-grown celebrities such as glamour model Jordan (aka Katie Price) and former nurse turned porn-channel presenter Abi Titmuss, have become more than the objects of lad-mag desire.
In a recent UK internet survey, 50% of girls aged 15 to 19 who took part aspired to emulate Titmuss. While Pink herself has been criticised for using the easy target of Hilton and her ilk to create controversy around her current album release, she has succeeded in opening up a heated debate.
Forget being a brain surgeon or intrepid explorer. Paris Hilton is the ultimate icon, a hot, rich kid who promotes the idea that sexual freedom means choosing to become a sex object. Teenage cousins Maria and Kathleen McNally of Stirlingshire admit that watching Pink's video has made them think differently about the celebrities featured on Stupid Girls. Although both tall and slim, they, too, have felt pressure to be thinner. Kathleen, 18, is a first-year English literature student at Glasgow University. "Myself and my friends do quite admire girls like Paris Hilton for their looks. When I saw the Pink video it was the first time I had heard them being criticised."
What with today's pop culture being controlled by whatever the aesthetically-obsessed MTV defines as important and relevant, it's rare to see an artist go out of their way to do something that might provoke thought, much less attack the reality that exists today that has somehow equated being a skank with being "cool".
Indeed the culture-war cretins have taken advantage of millions of young women around the world by popularizing the asinine antics of the Paris Hilton's of the world. Of course, a host of liberals bent on forming policy around morally relative ideals that guide the principles (or lack thereof) of an entire generation should also be faulted for planting the seeds that produce so many "stupid girls". But that still doesn't absolve us all of our responsibility to educate young women in particular to the fact that you don't have to act stupid to be successful. Thankfully, Pink took it upon herself to not only broach this subject, but judging from the success of the single, and more importantly, people are listening.
Posted by Mr. Grey Ghost at 1:32 PM
Monday, April 03, 2006
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The last time "Basic Instinct" man-eater Catherine Tramell prowled the big screen, the studio erotic thriller was hitting box office heights. The first "Instinct" took the top spot when it debuted in 1992, with an opening weekend of $15.1 million, the equivalent of $20.45 million in today's dollars.
By comparison, "Basic Instinct 2" limped into 10th place upon its arrival this weekend, grossing just $3.2 million.
In the years between the two films, a string of high-profile flops, including MGM's "Body of Evidence," United Artists' "Showgirls" and Paramount Pictures' "Jade," have all contributed to the cooling off of the erotic thriller, a genre that had once sizzled at the box office.
Paul Verhoeven, director of the first "Basic Instinct" (which scored $353 million worldwide) as well as the widely ridiculed "Showgirls" (now regarded as something of a camp classic), attributes the genre's demise to the current American political climate.
"Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States," said the Dutch native. "Look at the people at the top (of the government). We are living under a government that is constantly hammering out Christian values. And Christianity and sex have never been good friends."
Scribe Nicholas Meyer, who was an uncredited writer on 1987's seminal sex-fueled cautionary tale "Fatal Attraction," agrees, noting that the genre's downfall coincides with the ascent of the conservative political movement.
"We're in a big puritanical mode," he said. "Now, it's like the McCarthy era, except it's not 'Are you a communist?' but 'Have you ever put sex in a movie?'"
So it can't be that sequels generally don't fair well or that the script was bad or that the movie just sucks or that the average movie-goer has caught on to Sharon Stone being one of the most overrated actresses in the business.
It must pertain to one thing and one thing only: Blame Bush.
Posted by Mr. Grey Ghost at 3:56 PM