Friday, December 4, 2009

A Tempest in a Television Spot

The Little Cuter is my lifeline when it comes to popular culture. I try to keep up, but without regular visits to the beauty salon my exposure to People or Us! or the E! Network is nil. Tucson's not exactly a hot bed of celebrity sightings - there are not a lot of paparazzi in the spas. Unless it's on ESPN or CNBC I'm pretty much clueless.

So, when Shaunna waxed eloquently about Adam Lambert's performance at the American Music Awards and the feeding frenzy which followed, I was hearing of it for the first time. TBG and I had watched the occasional season of American Idol, but we'd skipped this last one. We always agreed with Simon, we thought Randy knew what he was talking about and the girls were just too annoying to watch any more. (Yes, girls..... 'cause that's what they were acting like.... and it's something we ought to outgrow by the time we're nearer to 50 than 15).

Shaunna writes well - since I agree with her most all the time she's obviously brilliant, too - so I followed the link (repeated here in case you didn't feel like clicking on it in the last paragraph). And I was surprised. The music was really good, in a loud, dance to it, get up from the keyboard and stomp kind of way. Adam Lambert has an impressive presence on the stage; he's not dwarfed by the scenery or the sound, he dominates it. The visuals are stunning and somewhat raunchy, and that is the right word, I think. It's not dirty or filthy or all-the-way-nasty... it's raunchy.

When he swiveled his hips my brain went to Elvis and wondered what they really felt when they saw him... or didn't see him, if you were watching Ed Sullivan, at least. The producers and directors of the award show had obviously rehearsed Adam's sequence so I join others in wondering why, if they were so outraged in the morning, they hadn't adjusted the camera angle the evening before? Ed Sullivan managed that trick of television magic in 1956, after all.

For me, the most disturbing image was not the kiss he gave to his drummer-boy (which seemed spontaneous and not at all out of sync with the lyrics or the music) - it was the men on leashes. But that's just me.

Dry humping on stage is something that annoys me but doesn't make my skin crawl - probably a good thing given all that was going on in the video (there's that pesky link again!). Snakes and swords are pretty pedestrian symbols, but music videos are a pedestrian medium, I think, so I suppose I ought to quit complaining. Pressing another's head into your crotch while you're both on stage is admittedly pretty crass, but the lyrics asked "Do you know what you got into? Can you handle what I'm gonna do?" and I suppose your answer could be NO and you could change the channel or close your eyes and just listen (of course, that's pretty old school, isn't it? Remember when you had to make up your own images for songs in the days before MTV?).

So we're on that slippery slope we began to Jack-and-Jill our way down starting with letting women bare their ankles in public. Or was it the charleston? Or how about today's Wall Street Journal??? This is the business bible, people...... did I really need to read about men's chest hair (I'm linking it again, again!) over breakfast??? You know how I feel about breakfast.

My point is that the bar is always moving. No matter how hard you try to keep up, there's always someone just a little bit further out toward the edge, someone daring you to watch and wonder what it would be like to be out there, too. Adam Lambert has a great big voice - just listen to the end of the song - and an oversized persona and he's easy to look at and for crying out loud he was completely covered except for his hands and his face. He's 27 years old and wearing eyeliner. Somehow that seems less offensive than Kellie Pickler's new body.

But that's just me.


  1. wow, my head's so big now i can't get up from this chair. :-)

    seriously, thanks a heap.

    and now the situation's evolved into repressive censorship being pushed by a special interest group.

    read all about it sometime this weekend.

  2. Poor Adam.... his 15 minutes of outrage have been truncated by Tiger's mis-behaviors.


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!