UCLA Bear Chasing
Saturday, December 8th, 2001. 12:53AM
Playlist: Britney Spears - Stronger
Britney Spears - Slave 4u
Britney Spears - Baby One More Time
Anything by Momus
Any formulaic catchy rap song
The attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or
desires to someone or something as a naive or unconscious
defense against anxiety or guilt.
Long ago I tired of the babble of music-nazis: those
persons who place such an importance to all the music they
listen to and insult different "opposing" genres of music.
They are the ignorant who wear the 'NSUCK tee-shirts and
the "Spear Britney" patches. They are the sincerely
ignorant, those proponents of the contra-pop movement who
believe that placing an army behind a genre will allow it
to vanquish the pop demons that plague the airwaves like
barnacles on art.
I think it ridiculous.
To say that Korn, Limp Bizkit, Incubus, 2pac, Ja Rule,
Lauryn Hill, et al, are essentially more artistic than
more "pop" sounds like Britney Spears, Ricky
Martin, 'Nsync, or any other solo singer or group for that
matter, is nonsensical:
First, to compare singer/songwriter soloists and groups to
personalities that don't write their own music and lyric is
a fallacy. Apples are apples and oranges are oranges.
Second, to pit any two genres against one another, such as
goth vs. pop or pop vs. hip-hop or r&b vs. indie rock,
would fall under that same fallacy of comparing two items
that are essentialy dissimilar even in their definitions.
While one may argue that all of these forms stemmed from
Jazz, it certainly would not hold up. To stick with musical
arguments, one would not pit a violin vs. a viola vs. a
cello vs. a bass because each instrument is adapted to
serve a different purpose and to please a different ear.
The genres of music operate similarly.
It wouldn't hold up to compare the sung Sanskrit Ragas with
the polka by way of impact and aesthetics. What does make
sense is comparing two similar artists practicing in the
same genre, e.g. limp bizkit vs. korn, or two albums from
the same artist, e.g. Aquemini (Outkast) vs. Stankonia.
Third, most music-nazi-counter-pop persons tend to prejudge
the music of an artist categorically, and from a third-
person perspective outside of that category. These people
often complain about others not accepting their music, in
the case of teenagers/my generation the parents often play
this role. In this way the true hypocrisy of the anti-
"mainstream" militant can be seen: very often a fan of Hard
Rock will call Britney Spears an awful artist, but will
very often be insulted and indignant when his/her parent or
anyone judges hard rock unfairly. I do emphasize "unfairly"
here, as the parents are comitting the same sin of judging
aesthetics externally and thus unfairly.
Unfair in the sense that the Hard Rock fan has no concept
of aesthetics or detail in the Pop Music matrix operative.
How this same Hard Rock artist can then claim, after
knowing little or nothing about this operative, to have the
ability to judge ugliness in that music is incorrect. The
parent, a product of the fifties be-bop, sixties drug-pop
and drug-rock, or seventies classic-rock and disco eras,
cannot claim aesthetic dominion over a rock whose concepts
and instruments they have not grasped.
In many cases, with both the parent and the son/daughter,
these judgments are made even before listening to a full
sampling of the music of an artist or a genre. Even
further, in addition to being outside of the genre, they
even refuse to enter the genre even if only for
exploration. Thus the militant contra-pop-ist is outside of
the genre, refuses to step into the genre, and yet has the
audacity to claim aesthetic cogniscience.
To change to a similar and possibly more important topic,
often female artists are judged harshly by both male and
female music fans in a display of the hegemony of sexism
and its adjacent gender double-standard. Britney Spears, my
chosen playlist star, is probably the prime example of
this. On more than one occasion I have heard friends,
family, and acquaintances denounce her as a "slut,"
a "ho," "immoral," "unfit to be a rolemodel," and such.
I've heard this even from pop music fans who are into other
female stars and boy bands. And why?
Because she dresses sensuously, and refuses to hide her
sexuality in veiled metaphors and euphemisms and under the
guise of romantic love that many female artists choose to
hide behind due to the negative reactions received by the
few female artists who refuse to fit that mold. One would
think, by this display, that sex would be considered a
taboo topic in the music industry and radio. This is false.
It's because she's a woman.
I hate to play the "woman card," as it's been done by
feminists constantly throughout the past century. Then
again, they have five-thousand years of repression to make
up for, but that's another entry. If it weren't valid in
some way, this "woman card" would disappear. In the case of
music, the progress has been unfortunately minimal. I would
have thought that after Madonna, a woman could say anything
into a mic without hesitance, but it hasn't been so easy.
Strong women on stage tend to be placed into neat
categories by their chauvanistic opposition. A woman with
strong opinions is a bitch, and if this "bitch" has issues
with chauvanism, she's a lesbian, unless she's strong with
her sexuality, in which case she's an immoral bitch. If a
woman is strong in her sexuality, she's a whore and sleeps
around. Examples: "the Lesbian"--Ani DiFranco "The Immoral
Bitch"--Tori Amos "The Ho"--Britney Spears, Madonna, and
When looking at the music of men in the industry, this
distinction is not made. A guy with strong opinions is
political and respectable (Henry Rollins), the guy with a
problem with women isn't considered gay, but just sincere
(Hootie & the Blowfish, most neo-hard-rock bands), the guy
really into sex is just considered to be a stud (most male
rappers). It's perfectly fine for a rapper to have "hoes in
different area codes" but God forbid that Britney should
sing about sleeping with more than one guy, unless there be
deeply rooted emotions with each guy, and she has to sing
about the sadness of choosing just one. Meanwhile, girls
are expected to "back that ass up" like the girls in the
So when girls/women/young women criticize Britney Spears'
sexuality and risqué clothing while they listen to such
artists, and choose to distinguish ONLY Britney Spears as a
bad influence on little girls, I am a bit taken aback by
Young girls, bow down to your male masters who control your
sex, and don't seek to emphasize the power of your own
I think that a lot of the girls project their insecurities
onto female stars. When I asked a friend why she doesn't
care for Britney Spears, she responded that she dresses
too "hootchie" and is too sexual in her songs, especially
with the panting noise in her new single, "(I'm a) Slave
4u." She also felt disdain in Britney's statement that she
doesn't enjoy being a role model. Britney just wants to do
her thing, and do it well, without having to worry about
the clothing little girls wear.
But in my opinion, you can't blame the supplier for the
addict. The parents of the children control the cash flow
and buy the clothes, or at least provide the money and
means to buy the clothes. This friend, I believe, should be
blaming the caretakers "poor management" of their child
rather than blame Britney for existing and doing what she
As for the projection, I believe that some young women get
insecure when they see a real unafraid sex figure on stage
because it insults their vision of sexuality. Why does
Britney get to be free but the rest of the girls must stay
repressed? Why aren't they as attractive? So they lash out
at Britney to take the attention off of their own
imperfections: Classic projection.
Anyway, that's all for now. peace out.