Saturday, November 28, 2009

Why does Hollywood skank up the Millennials?

Like a lot of people, I watched the AMAs recently. And like many, many, many people, I thought Adam Lambert's performance was inappropriate and vulgar. As someone who is quite liberal in her views and someone who went to journalism school, I think Lambert should be allowed to express himself - but he seems like a smart guy and I think he should know better.

Lambert says that people are upset about his performance because he's gay. I would say it's because he simulated oral sex on stage. I don't care whose head he put to his crotch - I don't need to see it. Some people argue that kids may be watching. I argue that I AM WATCHING.

I also think that Lambert saying this is a gay issue is extremely demeaning to gays. Is he REALLY trying to tell us that this is the gay experience - orgies with whips, chains, and a lot of aggression?

Earlier in the AMA show, Carrie Underwood came out all skanked up, too. Granted, she wasn't engaging in simulated group sex, but she wore an outfit that looked like her panties were showing.

I guess I'm just not getting it. These are two really talented people. We're tuning in to hear your voice - not see your privates.

Now bear with me on this. I know I'm writing a little long today, but sometimes that's just how my brain works.

Last night my husband and I watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which starred Gen X poster boy John Cusack. That got me thinking about our own X entertainment icons. Cusack, Garofolo, Ringwald, Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Fey, Elliott, Wahlberg, Wilson, Diaz. It's not that they're squeeky clean - but getting (or giving) a BJ on stage?

I guess I'm having a hard time getting my head around this idea. Seems like if you're a talented Millennial in entertainment who's starting to get some attention then it's time to show your panties. Or your boobies. Or to gyrate the franks and beans in some one's face.

Maybe that's the 21st Century version of getting old - you don't understand why talent can't just stand its own.


charles names said...

it's a scheme to stay famous. if he could write a song or was hotter than elvis he wouldn't have to do all that.sorry your a phoney.can't write a talent loser.insult to gays and bi's everywhere and the WORST INSULT to MUSIC. manufactured crap on a stick.will people listen to him in 40 years like david bowies(transgendered character's HELLO I'M BISEXUAL/QUEER!!!)

Anonymous said...

Great post. Amen. So glad I didn't see it. Killing the TV helped kill all that crap in my house. Heck, I don't even know who this Adam Lamber fag is, and I'm glad.

Greengerg said...

Okay, I will preface by saying I've never actually seen Lambert perform; I find the whole "Idol" thing utterly boring.
But just from what I've read, I don't quite get the outrage. As he noted, how is this so different than what many of his female contemporaries do? I've seen videos by female pop stars that are way more in your face than what he apparently did.
Going back further, is this so much more outrageous than Michael Jackson repeatedly grabbing his crotch or Madonna doing all the wild shit she did onstage and in videos?
Charles mentioned Bowie...did you ever see Bowie perform at the peak of his initial stardom? He was famous for doing something very similar; he would simulate performing oral sex on the late guitar wiz Mick Ronson onstage as Ronson played his guitar solo. Watch the "Ziggy Stardust" live film, you'll see. Outrage is nothing new.
I am sure I would not be at all interested in Lambert's music, but c'mon, "can't write a song." That's a BOOMER insult if ever there was one. Talent comes in many forms (not saying Lambert is talented, I wouldn't know), but that boomer Dylan/Beatles-fed legacy of deriding singers who do not write is just...silly. Was Dionne Warwick a "no talent loser" because Burt Bacharach wrote the songs she sang? Was Frank Sinatra "crap on a stick" because he didn't write his material? Slam Lambert for being a commercial hack, but not this.
Mygenx: not sure if you intended it this way, but saying "this Adam Lamber fag" inadvertently (or not) makes you sound as hostile to the man's sexuality as he seems to be accusing his critics of.

GenXpert said...

@Greg - I see your point, but I have to say, I'm sick of other artists doing this stuff on television, too. I would be nice to tune in to a music show and see music performances. If I tune in to a sex show, I can get sex, but I don't have to see musical performances, you know?

@Charles - I like Lambert's voice, a lot. I think it's okay to be a singer rather than a singer/songwriter. You don't get to hear men with those kind of voices often because having a great voice doesn't necessarily mean you are a great song writer. But I agree he's acting like a phoney. And I don't remember what song he sang at the AMAs.

@Mygenx - but I like television :)

Srsly Me said...

My first thought, when hubby told me there was some lashback re: Lambert's performance, was, "Well so what - look at Shakira, Madonna, Michael Jackson,etc." Then I thought, "People got upset about those performers too, and their inappropriate behavior onstage at what was/should have been/etc. a "family viewing event.'"

Shame on Lambert for chalking this lashback up to a "gay thing." I don't care that Lambert is gay, he's still a talented guy. But, I'm glad I didn't let my pre-teen daughter stay up to watch the music awards and see Lambert, one of our favorites from American Idol, perform his new song. I don't want to see Lambert simulating oral sex or any other kind of sex onstage, nor do I want to see any heterosexual person simulating sex of any kind on stage.

I'm also glad I didn't bother letting my daughter tune in to check out Carrie Underwood, another one of her favorite artists. Underwood's dress looks like she's trying to wear Barbie-doll clothes. There are far too many women running around in such short skirts - if they ever have to sit down, there's not enough fabric to cover their butts. As Krusty the Clown said after Homer Simpson rode his clown tricycle and lost his pants in the process, "Burn that seat."


Let's not even talk about Shakira. She's another talented woman with a great-looking body, but. . .

Re: Lambert - I think he's going to lose a lot of his supporters over this blatant, in your face (no pun intended) shaken' the "franks & beans" performance.

Rather than singing songs, people now expect a "storyline" of some sort because they want live performances to look like music videos. Lambert gave us a music video - with some inappropriate actions, in my opinion. If he'd sung "I kissed a boy and I liked it," people would probably have been less upset.

Lambert may find it hard to regain his slightly edgy-but sweet boy next door-image with this performance. Of course, he may have been trying to shed that image.

I tend to agree with Greg's comments re: this issue - I wonder if being a parent of young kids, or being a grandparent has something to do with the level of outrage? Are X-ers more tolerant of overt sexuality but still censorious when it comes to shielding the kids until they're of an age when they can understand this stuff? Or are X-ers just plain intolerant? Are Boomers ambivalant toward overt sexual behaviors, or do they feel that "times have changed" and while they don't approve, they aren't going to say anything? Just curious.

GenXpert said...

@Kathy - I don't think Xers are intolerant. I think we came of age during the Susan Faludi-style feminism and it impacted the way we look at talent. I think we look at using sex to bring attention to your talent is a sell out. It's like buying attention.

I talk to a lot of Xers about work in my job as a marketer and trainer. I talk to Xers from all over North America. I would say that the majority of those people have come to a place where they are strong, confident, and willing to let their talent stand by itself.

Now when it comes to sex, I don't talk to people from all over North America about it. But I have friends. And their attitude is overwhelming "live and let live." And they are all either professionals or former professionals (i.e. Stay-at-home-mom). I've never heard one of them say, "I have this big presentation to do. Maybe I should show my panties - or simulate oral sex. THAT will get there attention!"

I had a friend when I was younger who used to do some skanky things when we'd go out. I distinctively remember my feminist husband (and yes, he's a man's man AND a feminist) telling her "you don't need to do that." I think that sums up the X attitude. When you have talent, you don't have to do that (and I respectively disagree with some of the commenters - I do think Lambert and Underwood have talent).

All About Dot! said...

Gosh your so right! My friends and I were talking about this last night, and where hollwood is going. It seems like they will do anything to get a rise out of people.

Kristina said...

Interesting discussion!

I agree Suzanne with your sentiment about how he doesn't have to be raunchy and it would be nice to think one could tune into a music show in primetime on a network and not see simulated oral sex. My kids aren't old enough to care and thus were not awake/watching but I can't imagine I would have enjoyed that kind of "teachable moment." Ahem.

I see your point about Lambert saying it's gay backlash being an insult to a diverse gay community.

But. I believe the backlash is worse because he's gay. If Madonna or Britney did that with a dude in a TV performance, I firmly believe a certain core group would be pissed but most of the rest would go "gross, but what else is new."

@mygenx "fag" is a slur we could do without. I know I wouldn't let my kids use that word.

Oh, interestly, I caught myself in a double-standard over this. I realized the more I thought it over, I'd have been much more upset personally if a young woman had been acting that way on stage, but actually, it's not right either for a man to debase himself, is it? Regardless of sexuality.

GenXpert said...

@Dot - "Rise"? I think you're choice of words here is poetic :)

Shelly said...

So I watched Adam's performance online, not knowing exactly what all the fuss was about. Needless to say I was shocked, and for lack of a better term, a little grossed out. No, not because he is a homosexual, I was just as grossed out by Underwoods outfit and the way she always stands with her legs wide open.

I watched his interview and he claimed the oral sex "act" and the kiss were spontaneous events that just came to him onstage. Really Adam? Really?

I don't think my views are a result of me getting older, I am just disappointed beacuse he has a nice singing voice, there was absolutely no reason for him to throw in all the sex stuff to get viewer attention.

Greengerg said...

@Suzanne, I thought your comment "I think we look at using sex to bring attention to your talent is a sell out" was interesting. I'm not sure I agree but it's food for thought. In music, for example, I thought X'ers's formative experiences covered a wide spectrum, from the hair metal days (which I seem to recall you being a fan of, and which certainly used sex to sell) to the more "authentic" grunge revolution, which didn't. In the Eighties, pop icons could use sex and be "outrageous" (Madonna, Prince), or not use it at all (R.E.M, Springsteen). It doesn't seem to me that most X'ers make a huge distinction between the two, perhaps instead they look at it as some artists use sex (and it either works or doesn't), and some don't. I just took my 10 and 7 year olds to see Kiss last month and practically the entire audience was X'ers and their kids.

@Kathy, I don't know if I'd want my kids to watch this performance either, but like yours, they were not aware/interested. I do find myself often in a bind where I like something but don't feel it's appropriate for my kids, despite pressure. My 5th grade son pesters me on a weekly basis as to when he'll be old enough to watch "Family Guy" or "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and I have to say, not for awhile. With music I find it hard to be so strict. He begged to put Sir Mix-a-Lot "Baby Got Back" on his iPod and after some mild reservation, I let him.

Middle-aged White Guy said...

I am a deep Boomer (born 1951), and not shocked by Adam Lambert's antics...just wonder how far people are willing to go to appear/become famous. As for the AMA, I can't/will not watch them, as they have no relevance to my life or tastes. It seems that the whole "look at me" culture we have these days perpetuates this kind of behavior. I like this blog as it seems to hook me into a Generation removed from mine, and keeps me sharp.

GenXpert said...

@Wintgerfell - Thanks for the comment. I see where you're coming from, but I would say that Madonna, Prince, and even my beloved Hair Metal bands were Boomers and that Grunge was the Gen X response to that over-the-top commercialized and sexualized stuff. You are right that to a certain extent that I'm being a hypocryte, because I do like Motley Crue and they did sing about strippers. I can say I like them better when they don't sing about strippers.

I think my point is that it's a slippery slope and that's it's just getting to be too much for me. And I'd like to see everything be where it's supposed to be. If I were to tune into a dirty show on Cinemax, it would annoy me if it was Susan Boyle singing instead. I'd like to just be able to tune into network television without someone getting a BJ while he's singing a song. I'm sure there are other Xers out there who can't wait for Lambert's next performance (shoot, maybe he'll do anal while singing the Star Spangled Banner). I just think it would be nice to tune into a music show to hear some music.

@Middle-aged-white-guy - thanks for your comment and your compliment. Boomers are always welcome here.

Greengerg said...

@Suzanne - not sure why Blogger listed me as my email address, but Greg=winterfell22.
I am not much of a hair metal fan, except for Crue actually--I was more of a punk/alternative/goth person back in the mid to late Eighties. Ironically, my first job out of college was as Assistant Editor for a prominent hair metal magazine in New Jersey (Faces), so I ended up having to interview most of those guys. I don't recall the bulk of hair metal acts being Boomers, more my age (I am 44) though here we get into that gray area (no pun intended) again---looking at bios in Wikipedia, many if not most of the guys in bands like G'NR, Poison, Ratt, Cinderella, Winger (even Tommy Lee from Crue) are born in the 1961-66 range. To me they are not Boomers at all.
You do have a point about grunge being a reaction to that excess and soullessness. They had their own bad behavior, though. I'm not sure if the drug addictions so many grunge stars fell into is any morally better than the outrageous sexual personae of the Eighties pop music celebs.

Le said...

Hello There

Being stuck in whoop whoop and not having seen this I can only agree. What worries me most about this kind of the is the inappropirate nature of it for the show's target auidience. If this was a family time slot well it should be above waist clean and squeeky.

I destest the overtly sexual nature of the tween movement, I hate the loss of childhood and the misplaced admiration the young ones have for these stars of the gyrate and thrust. It's just not cricket !

As an adult I like things erotic in the appropirate forum (art of the female form and foreign films with french accents come to mind) but would no more subject a family time slot to this kind of silliness than fly to the moon.

you go girl le

Anonymous said...

As a Gen X'er, my response to Lambert's show was "...whatever". I like his voice; he's amazingly talented. I've seen much skankier things done by female artists (in prime-time no less), and since his performance aired at 10:55 pm on a school night, I'm not so terrified about "the children, won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?!?!"