Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Okay Now I’m Just Upset

I saw Ashlee Simpson on TV this morning and realized I’ve gone from baffled to disturbed. Y’all know I have a solid place in my heart for pop culture, but there’s just no aspect of what’s happening here that I can get with. It’s so obviously, carefully constructed as to be upsetting, and as upsetting as anything is that this young girl truly has no idea. Well, either that or she doesn’t care, being rich and famous and all, but I think she just doesn’t realize that she is a vehicle for sales, and nothing else. I’m not really sure what I think Ashlee Simpson should be doing with her life, maybe doodling some boy’s name on her notebook during a slide show in Astro, or thinking about possible careers in fashion, like being a personal shopper, and perhaps I’m overthinking this but what I really want is for her to look into her soul and somehow become deep, and that’s probably not going to happen. In the meantime, if I were you, or her, I’d be like, Nobody’s forcing you to buy my records or to, you know, turn off the TV, Crane, I’m not interested in your stupid wordy books, like, go get a punctuation mark or whatever, at least I’m rich! I think what it really is is that Ashlee is but one blip on the map of products like this, and I’d be so bummed if my pre-teen daughters were into stuff like this as opposed to even the loudest, scariest kind of punk that makes no sense to me at all that’s around when I actually have pre-teen daughters. Because then I’d at least know they had a soul. What confuses me about, mmm, me, is that there are probably any number of musicians I’ve listened to that people would find equally as soulless, and it may even be true, but I feel like we’re reaching new levels of nothingness here.


Teodoro Callate said...

ha! laugh out loud funny, betsy.

but right on the mark as always...

mernitman said...

one so frustrating thing is that the current youth culture puts anyone over 30 in the classic Old Fogey position of going, "but the music (books, movies, et al) we listened to back in our day was so much better!"... when in fact, for the most part, well, um... it WAS. (tho for the record, that one early Ashlee single, "Pieces of Me"? Not half bad. Maybe 'cause it sounds like decent bubblegum pop from, like, you know when...)

Donny B said...

I agree with mernitman except my guilt pleasure was Ashlee's "La La." I actually bought it from iTunes. I am deeply shamed.

Anyway, I can't believe how much she has by the age of 21 and for doing what? Any time she's on TV I have to turn the channel.

It's just too damn bad she has really good songwriter/producers behind her making really good, catchy pop music. She doesn't deserve it.

Angela said...

Y'know--it hits a nerve when I see her, although I do like Jessica (not so much for her music but for her style--sad, I know) but the thing about Ashlee is that I guess it's the money--what it buys you. A good producer, a record label that will help you sound like you can sing. Here's the deal. I live with a very talented musician who is in the middle of making an album and who is producing it himself, along with their very talented bass player and it is just maddening to see people like her, who have a lot less talent (if any) getting handed these huge contracts and making scads of money in the process. It's not just about the money either, but rather artistic integrity. As in, she should get some. Sorry for rambling, but you know . . . I can't help it.

Donny B said...

the weird thing about it is...no matter how many people hate her (or, at least, have no respect for her), look at how she gets people to talk about her. Here we are, no one can really stand her, and yet we devote so much time and energy to talking about how much we can't stand her.

I know people like that in real life. The people who just drive everyone crazy and as soon as they leave the room, what does everyone do? Talk about how much that person drives them crazy.

Ashlee may have no voice, no writing talent, no skills whatsoever, except for what may the most important talent: getting everyone else to talk about you.

megan said...

And what kills me is that her father is her manager! Aren't dads supposed to guide us? Towards things that are remotely meaningful? There should be some sort of test people take to be a parent. Like,

I WILL (fill in the blank) MY DAUGHTER

A. exploit
B. educate
C. humiliate
D. love

Betsy said...

Wow, I had no idea I'd generate such a lively discussion with a post about Ashlee Simpson. I have to defend my original position by adding that I don't think her songs are catchy at all - I think they're unlistenable, and that she is as excruciating to watch for more than 30 seconds as is our current "leader". Kelly Clarkson - catchy. Hanson - catchy. Ashlee Simpson - not really anywhere near what I call "singing". More like, practiced her best Gwen Stefani in the mirror like nine bamillion other teenage girls, at least a few of whom can probably do it better, including non-teenager Stefani, who is - catchy. Music, in many ways, was better back in the day, but the thing is, there is so much interesting music out there now that, like Angela points out, just doesn't get the attention of an Ashlee Simpson because they don't have, for one thing, like Megan points out, a creepy dad selling the hell out of them. (BTW I love that test, Meg, I've thought stuff like that for a long time.) Huge hurdles to adopt - as it should be - but to have your own kid? Knock yourself out. Or up, as it were.

smussyolay said...

yeah. on a lot of counts.

don, i have/d a friend like that. she's in africa now.

megan, yeah. super creep out with the dad thing. can anyone say: gary, IN?

i've got to admit, i never see this girl. i barely know what she looks like. i don't know that i know a song by her. jessica, i can recognize and had watched some eps of 'newlyweds.' but, this ashlee? no clue. i mean, what i have seen of her, i think: she's *jessica's* sister? she looks sort of homely, if i can be a cat about it.

i'm also fascinated just by celebrity. how we love to hate certain people. how we (as a society/nation) just are obsessed with people who are so shallow and blah and lame. who virtually have no talent and are so ____. but, we seem to want to know everything about these people's lives.. why? because we're not busy enough? because we don't have enough stress? because... we ultimately want to feel superior to them while we covet their money and their fame and their jetsetting lifestyles?

it's like the opposite of 'lifestyles of the rich and famous.' instead of 'here's all these things you wish you have,' it's 'they are rich and famous, but they are fucking lame assholes. i'd never want to be like them.'

and for me, the person who just makes me want to hurl/slap her, and who has the whole media following her to see what/who she'll do next, is paris hilton.

that chick is so trash. ick.