February 28, 2006

Strike a Poser

The Olympics are over, and while I have enjoyed watching them, I am enthused that I may now watch Jeopardy again. I only have a few comments on the closing ceremony, and they are entirely topical, so I apologize.

Ok, so, do you know who this is?



Oh, you know you do.



That’s right—it’s Avril Lavigne! The “teen” “sensation” that’s been hurting us with her music ever since the year we graduated high school. I never liked Avril (and neither have you, so just own it), mostly because she couldn’t pronounce “pose” correctly and only seemed to have one outfit.



This one.
And it’s not even a good tie.

But whatever, pop music is its own little microcosm and I don’t have to understand it.

This is what I have a problem with:



Now, who in the hell is this? It couldn’t be Avril Lavigne—she’s blond! She’s wearing a matching, conservative outfit! It’s not only weather-appropriate, it includes thigh-high black boots, and we know how Avril feels about the industry and sex appeal. She doesn’t care about those things! She’s punk rock! She IS! She’s not mainstream! She would never get a dye job and sacrifice her annoying, in-your-face apathy just for the chance to sing at the Olympics… would she? Was her independence and artsy, misanthropic demeanor just A BIG LIE?

Probably not. It just wasn’t selling albums anymore. So, like poor Shakira before her, she says goodbye to brunettehood for the sake of her craft (except Shakira is talented, bilingual, and could kill and eat Angsty Avril). It’s like the Olympic committee couldn’t get any pop starlets to commit, so they told Avril she could do it if she made herself look enough like Jessica Simpson that Torino would be fooled. I’m a little pissed about it, not just because apparently the way to boost your career in America is making yourself more physically attractive, but because they shoved that damned “Complicated” song down our throats forever that one summer. Look at the lyrics. Now look at this picture. It’s maddening.

I really don’t get into much of the music the kids are listening to these days (said ironically—I’m not that old yet, y’all), but the issue I have is this: if you’re going to build your empire on a bedrock of hating the institution because people are all just a bunch of followers with no sense of self and no ability to just be who they really are, and the freaks are the only people who understand what life is all about—YOU CAN’T GO BLOND AND SING AT THE OLYMPICS. It doesn’t work. It does not gel with your message. You’re all pretty now, so you can sing a song for the jocks because now we’re all friends? Um, huh? A true punk icon would have either turned down the invitation to ceremony, or shown up in the same stanky wifebeater and thrift-store tie that they have always felt most comfortable in, because life is about the art and not the image. I would have respected her more if she had gone that second road.

But if she had declined, those ten minutes she sang could have been ten more minutes of Andrea Bocelli, and there wouldn’t exactly have been rioting in the streets.

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