Dig Those Groovy Tunes!

the only sound that's left after the ambulances go

In Which I Issue a Sincere Apology to Kate Moss June 16, 2012

Let me make one thing clear right here and now: I do not in any way entertain the vain delusion that Kate Moss, ridiculously famous model that she is (for better or for worse) has the tiniest inkling that this blog exists, much less that she’d actually have the time or interest to peruse it, nor that it would bear any sort of weight on her self-esteem, one way or another, if she did. So I don’t expect her ever to read this any more than I expect her to have read the mean things I posted about her some two or three years ago. Nevertheless, as a writer who began to re-embrace feminism around the same time as this blog’s genesis, I feel it’s only right (and long, long overdue) that I acknowledge how my former criticism of Ms. Moss was fraught with immature, uncalled-for, and downright unfeminist sentiments. In order to grow as a person and possible future role model, I believe that it’s my duty not to ignore the fact that I’m not perfect, and to own up to the times in the past when I said some things that were dumb and inconsistent with the viewpoints I currently hold. And so the time has come (the walrus said) to air out my dirty laundry before anyone else has any incentive to.

First of all, what the heck was I thinking when I chose that “stars without makeup” picture of Kate Moss to illustrate that first rant I posted on her, along with the caption, “The ugly side of a supermodel”?  I’ll tell you what I was thinking:  that I was being witty and edgy and being all, “Everyone thinks Kate Moss is so pretty and great, I’ll show them, I’ll show them all what she really looks like under all that makeup [maniacal laugh]!”  But now, not only do I recognize that this is a tactic the popular media use all the damn time to make celebrities – particularly female celebrities – seem absolutely heinous just for having the audacity to look like a normal human earthling in public (SCANDALOUS!), or to make us feel better about not being able to afford the resources necessary to keep others ignorant of our physical flaws or some shit, but also, the post of mine that accompanied that picture?  Yeah, it pretty much had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Kate Moss’s appearance at all.  And while it isn’t totally inappropriate to use some visual aids every now and then to make my posts all spiffy-looking and interesting, there really is no excuse for the graphic I used, and even less excuse for the caption that went with it.  Because really, all I was doing there was reinforcing the idea that women should be judged based on appearance, even while at the same time I probably thought I was combating that very notion.

While we’re on the subject of Kate Moss’s appearance, I recognize now that I was wrong to mock Kate for the way she’s supposed to be sexualized in the music video for “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself.”  To be perfectly clear, I still find the video to be an embarrassing stain on the otherwise pristine body of work that is The White Stripes’ video catalogue, and I still don’t know what the hell Sofia Coppola was thinking when she decided to go in that creative (and I use the word “creative” in the loosest sense possible) direction when it’s not like we haven’t seen shit like that going on in every other video made for less interesting bands by more amateurish directors, etc.  But that isn’t really Kate’s fault, nor is it her fault that many men (and women, I’m sure) find her to be very sexually attractive (which is not a problem in and of itself), nor is it even her fault that our media-driven society in general and her line of work in particular encourage sexual favoritism towards women who are or border on being underweight (which is a problem.  Not the part about being underweight, I mean; the part where being a certain body type is decided as superior to being otherwise.  That’s a problem).  I realize now that just because heavier women are undervalued in our society doesn’t mean that we should condemn skinny women for merely being skinny.  Not only is such thinking still sexist, it just works to breed more hatred and shame over superficial and arbitrary things.  Kate Moss may be far from an ideal role model for young women, especially ones who already have body image issues (“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is one legit reason I have to dislike Kate Moss), but it’s just plain lazy to blame the entirety of society’s fucked-up body image standards on just one woman who happens to – by some miracle – fit those standards, standards which have existed long before she came along and which will forsake her should she ever cease to epitomize those standards.  It’s lazy because it distracts us from The Bigger Picture and keeps us from questioning the values held by those we may look up to and excuses us from recognizing our own prejudices and faulty values.  And all that really does is let the real bad guy prevail, and probably even grow stronger.

Mmm…lobster tails…

So while I doubt I’ll ever really get to like Kate Moss, I no longer dislike her for stupid reasons (I reserve my right to call her out if she ever again says something like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, etc., and may even mock her for believing such stupidity to be true for anyone besides her, or even herself, since I don’t know about her, but I’ve been on the skinny side all my life and it doesn’t really “feel” like much of anything.  Also, lobster tails – the pastries, not the crustacean anatomy – are frickin’ delicious and even if eating just one would instantly cause me to gain a gazillion and one pounds with little or no detriment to my health, I’d keep right on eating them.  So bite me).  And even though I may be of the opinion that the world would be no worse off if the modeling industry (as it is now, anyway) just didn’t exist, the fact that it does exist and continues to make people think stupid things has little if anything to do with Kate’s being a successful and high-profile employee in the business.  I do think it was rather thoughtless of her to publicly encourage malnutrition and/or self-punishment in order to adhere to a narrow beauty standard that she so conveniently exemplifies, but even that kind of destructive mindset has probably been crammed into her head from the very beginning of her career, along with the constant threat that she’d lose her job if she didn’t work stupidly hard and at the expense of her own happiness and/or well-being to maintain her “look”.

I’m not even mad anymore about the whole thing that started my bizarre Kate Moss rage-fest:  the “throwing-the-laptop-into-the-swimming-pool-and-making-me-wait-even-longer-for-the-next-Kills-album” thing.  Because you know what?  I have that album now.  And the fact that Kate Moss’s carelessness with other people’s electronics made me wait like two frickin’ years or however long it was does not take away from the fact that the finished product flipping rocks.  The stunt may have inconvenienced The Kills themselves, what with having to re-record all those tracks lost in the incident, but really, it was quite foolish of Jamie Hince to store important work-related files on only one device without backing them up at all.  I’m sure what with being a rock star and everything, he could maybe afford to invest in a flash drive or two.  I mean, jeez.  And yes, while it is till kind of stupid to throw electronic equipment around in a fit of rage, Kate isn’t even the only person surnamed Moss ever to have done so (she may, however, be the only non-fictional one).  So once again, Kate, if you are by some miracle reading this, I am truly sorry for saying mean things about you that you’ve probably also never read, and that as long as you remain Jamie Hince’s partner in nothing more than marriage (by which I mean that those rumors about you replacing Alison Mosshart in the Kills never become actualized), I have no reason to blame you for having a detrimental effect on The Kills’ music.

While I’m at it, I might as well go ahead now and apologize to Pamela Anderson for that time in ninth grade when I insisted that she was ugly, which spurred a shallow “yes she is, no she isn’t”-type argument with a male acquaintance who thought she was hot.  I still think it was wrong of said acquaintance to suggest that I only said she was ugly because I was jealous, because I wasn’t envious so much as I was a shallow, close-minded hypocrite.  I reserve my right to question Pamela’s good sense when it comes to her romantic partners, as Kid Rock has a tendency to make me want to barf and/or throw things, but I guess that’s just a matter of (very) personal taste.

Advertisements
 

Of all the things to bash Gov. Christie about… February 20, 2012

…I don’t understand why it’s apparently such a scandal that he’s flying the flags at half staff for Whitney Houston.  Wait, let me rephrase that:  I do understand the concern that the half-staff tradition is technically supposed to be reserved for our servicemen and servicewomen who’ve given their lives for our state and/or country and/or freedom, and that flying the flag at half staff for a mere celebrity sort of trivializes that.  That much I understand.  What I don’t understand is, why wasn’t everyone all up in arms when Clarence Clemons’s passing was honored in the same manner?  Apparently we as citizens of New Jersey are supposed to be absolutely appalled that our governor has chosen to respect the legacy of a — gasp! — drug addict.  Won’t someone please, please think of the children?!

 

See, the thing is, we can’t be too sure that no one else for whom the bell tolled flag was lowered has ever had a problem with drugs.  If one of our late servicemen/women just happened to have struggled with an addiction at some point in their life before they died heroically, would we give a crap?  Would we negate what good they’ve done for their country and their state just because they happened to have moments of weakness that proved them to be less than angelic?  Hell no.  And let’s just imagine for a second that Clarence Clemons, being the high-profile musician that he is, maybe had a brief period in his career during which he struggled with some addiction or other.  Would we suddenly forget that he played a pivotal role in the E-Street Band if we ever discovered that he once had a serious drug problem?  I don’t think so.  So why do we care that Whitney Houston, another of New Jersey’s undisputed musical gifts to the world, had a long, meticulously documented struggle with drugs?

 

Oh, wait, the answer’s in the question.  The difference between Whitney Houston and every other person who ever made a difference in New Jersey is that her weaknesses were publicized about as often as her strengths, and what’s more, they were held under a disproportionate amount of scrutiny.  See, the tabloids just love it when talented, successful people — particularly beautiful, talented, successful women — are spotted acting like flawed human beings because it gives them license to twist and embellish the details for their own profit.  Really, though, Whitney’s drug addiction is much less relevant to her career and her fame as the trash media wants us to believe.  The only reason why we make a big deal about it is because it’s well known, and the only reason why it’s well known is because that’s what all the magazines have been screaming at us while we stand captive in the check-out line at the supermarket, and it’s what the TV’s been telling us while we sit in wait for the actual news, or whatever show’s on next.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t care that Whitney had a serious drug problem, just as I don’t think we shouldn’t care if we know for a fact that someone is cutting themself or suffering from an eating disorder.  What I am saying is that we shouldn’t act as though Whitney was a horrible person for doing something that — let’s face it — hurt her more than it hurt anyone else.  And we certainly shouldn’t make the mistake as defining her as an addict rather than as the superstar she was.  I recognize that not everyone is going to be a fan of Whitney Houston’s music, but we should all at least give her the respect of seeing her as an artist and a significant human being before we scrutinize how she may have chosen (or not chosen; felt as though she had to) to spend her personal life.

 

So in short, all I really have to say is this:  LEAVE WHITNEY ALOOOOOOONE!  Or, as a really smart guy in a book a whole bunch of people have read once said, whoever is without sin, etc., etc.