Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Savagry of beauty.

Via Meowser and Harriet I have discovered this fantastic clip of a Brit lady named Susan Boyle.

The clip of her singing on some UK tv show, sums up much of what I think is fucking wrong with people.

Now whether you acknowledge it or not there is the going idea that if one is pretty one must be talented, or if one is talented one must be pretty.

(In this context I'm using pretty as in beauty by Western Ideals, not my personal ideas about beauty.)

Beauty is given virtue and assigned good moral values. Beauty means you must be awesome at everything you do because well look at you.

Beauty can also all to often mean if you're a fucking asshole you get excused to a point because, well look at how hot you are.

Beauty can often mean you can be a total moron, but again look how hot you are so it's okay.

If you watch the video above while enjoying Susan's amazing voice watch those judges. Now I know it's TV and exaggeration makes good ratings but, look at their faces.

Physical beauty is no indicator of talent or lack thereof. Physical beauty isn't really a good indicator of much these days given the amounts of plastic surgery and photoshopping that go around.

Models don't look like models.

That singer you think looks like the hottest bit of walking sex, probably does not roll out of bed looking that way.

What really bugs me is the Cult of Hotness that seems to have become the indicator of all things.

Now I know that somewhere someone is thinking, "Oh you're just bitter cause you're not hot" which isn't the point here.

I long ago embraced and learned to own the fact that there are probably a shit ton of people who think I'm plug ugly and that's fine. That's not what I take issue with.

I take issue with beauty ideals becoming replacements for genuine talent.

I think this makes music suck.

I think this makes art less than.

I think this disrespects all of the creative and ingenious people who have gone before us.

These things are why I developed an interest in alternative art and artists.

I devote quite a bit of my time looking for that elusive unabashed naked anti-beauty. Not ugliness in the "ew gross" kind of way but ugliness in the, "this (person/painting/music/what have you) is astonishing and wonderful" way.

There is something in me that answers to and yearns for the things that are challenging. The things that make me think or kind of freak me out in a way.

I want to see people who are visually weird. I want to see things that challenge me because they aren't easily pinned down as just pretty.

This is what has fueled my interest in fashion, art, make up, etc. Being that I am not (ever so sad about this) not an artist, things like weird clothes and make up are where I can explore these desires and express them.

Does this make any sense?

I don't know if it does or not.

This comes from a purely emotional brain place rather than a rational one.

So instead of blathering on and on about these things let me show you some things I like to look at and read that I find delicious and pleasing.

Coilhouse Magazine. Delicious on the web and even better in print.

Molly Crabapple is an artist whom I discovered completely by accident at some point and now love.

Morbid Anatomy. Weird, amazing things. Good writing too.

Haute Macabre. I think I've mentioned them before but I really enjoy that spot.

Femina Potens. I don't live in SF but if I did I would spend a large amount of time there.

For the Tongue in Chic from the folks at the House of Bias. Delicious.


Most of these kinds of things are very thin white places. Which is unfortunate and sometimes disheartening also, sometimes it's intimidating.

Also unfortunate I don't really have the resources to be involved as much as I'd like and I'm not really contributing to diversity myself so I don't complain overmuch.

It's just a fact of life that must be dealt with like everything else. Is it perfect? No. Is it exactly to my tastes and ideas? No.

But since none of those places are my sandbox I'm not going to piss in other peoples litterboxes.

Like anything else, I believe that the more diverse of an audience things get, the more diverse they can become on a small scale if people get involved.

So that means make art, love art, appreciate art.

Okay enough for the day.

I don't feel so swell right now and I need some otc pain relievers and possibly some more tea.

I also need to (really need to) look for a new pair of pants.

Homo Out.

Also..before I forget I have a crap ton of new pictures to upload to my flickr and will probably post a link to those tomorrow.


I think that's really all. Going to work on my script and write a certain editor who shall remain nameless because he's dirty.



spacedcowgirl said...

I was thinking about the Susan Boyle video tonight as I watched Miley Cyrus on American Idol. And I know she's just a teenager and works hard at what she does, and I don't wish her any ill specifically, but the contrast was so stark. Like really (and I acknowledge that it may have just been a rough performance), I could probably find somebody who could sing that well in my small town of 10,000ish, but she might not be that cute (and certainly not that well styled) and wouldn't be Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter. It just makes the whole fame and success thing seem dishearteningly arbitrary. Meowser's post really got me thinking about how many Susan Boyles are probably out there, totally unknown except to a few, and how much it sucks that one of the reasons we'll never get to hear them is because they might not be 20, white, thin, and "normal."

Meowser said...

I think this makes music suck.Geez, I wish I could get to the point as fast as you do!

And imagine, audiences used to mistrust creative people (at least in certain contexts) who were "too pretty," because gah, what did they know about being rejected by the world? (Classic example: In the mid-1960s, Mike Nichols explained to Robert Redford why he wasn't being cast in The Graduate by asking him, "You ever strike out with a girl?" Redford answered, "What do you mean?", and Nichols told him yes, that was exactly his point, that no one would ever believe Redford as poor schlubby Benjamin.)

But who knows, maybe this is the first wind of change. I hope so.

mccn said...

This video made me so angry - these people should never, ever for one minute have been ridiculing her in the first place. And people are saying that there is hope here - maybe it will cause the general population to be more tolerant and open-minded. I think I'm in a pissy mood, because I just think - no, they'll think it's the exception that proves the rule. Boyle is amazing, and I'm thrilled she's gotten some airtime now! But this video makes me hurt.

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