Pop Culture in drag and Richard Corey

I have tired to get in touch with pop culture, and failed.

Taking a look at this weeks Billboard top 5 it all seems so similar to what has been popular for the past 10 years.  Which is understandable because since 2001 escapism is increasingly popular. I really hate escapism in pop culture. Yuck.

Taking a look particularly at Pink and Brittany, because they have been around for the longest, their music is the SAME. Themes, style, and most strikingly attitude. As performers they are completely stagnant. Therefor, they are boring. The only person I took interest in was Beyonce’s latest song that is, at it’s heart, just about gender roles.  What bothers me about it is that it deals with it’s subject in a concrete mater of fact sort of way. However, it is a perfect song. not as far as talent but because if frames the rest of the top ten.

Note: Gender and Celebrity. I think that the reason that these sexed-up superstars maintain popularity is because we, as a society, are really into drag.  Starting with Greta Garbo through Madonna and now. The performance of femininity is flashy, bejeweled and as romantically pampered as possible. Male drag is really prominent to, but I am looking at the Billboard top 5 and most of them are women. What I think is most interesting about this is that the entertainment industry is so obviously in drag but that people then model themselves after this. Making, I think, so much of our lives performance based on gender. I noticed that anytime I put on makeup it is an act of this same gender performance.  It isn’t for me, it is an act playing to the drag.  So I quit. I am not saying that it is the same for everyone who wears makeup, but just how it is for me.

So now I am back to avoiding pop culture music, and what makes me so successful at this is that pop music doesn’t infiltrate other media.  If there is a song in a commercial it is most likely and indie pop song, same in tv, and even movies.  How curious that other pop media doesn’t use “what sells” to sell.

This all depresses me. Because of the lack of exchange between media and how dumb it all seems from the performances to stagnation. It reminded me of that poem Richard Corey and in ’66 when Simon and Garfunkel adapted the poem to music.  Something that I can’t for the life of me see happening now. This is probably because Art Garfunkel is really well read in a way that I doubt that anyone in the top ten is.  God I do love Simon and Garfunkel, in the cheesiest way possible, but all of my favorites are from around the same time.  It is so weird that I feel such a strong false nostalgia for the ’60s and ’70s.  Really, before the 50’s most popular music also = crap fest so most likely the 60’s and 70’s are an anomaly. At least until proven otherwise.

I am done rambling: here is my favorite picture of Greta Garbo in drag. A woman playing a woman:

And the poem Richard Corey by Edwin Arlington Robinson:

WHENEVER Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed, 5
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich—yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace: 10
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, 15
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Simon and Garfunkel’s rendition:  

Yes, Simon did add the orgy bit, and I love it. Now you commence making fun of me for liking missing Simon and Garfunkel.

Judith Butler was the inspiration for today’s post. Judith and my disgust with pop music. Google her and thank me later.


~ by beankat on 31 October 2008.

One Response to “Pop Culture in drag and Richard Corey”

  1. Do we really so revel in the grotesque that we place upon a pedestal only those who can thoroughly disgust and amaze us? I’m afraid, a resounding yes.

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