Sunday, April 13, 2008

In Which Belle breaks Ben Wolfson's and Paul Gowder's hearts, loses Bryan D. Brown's friendship, but delights Amber Taylor*.

I just bought this girl's album.

Hey, it was super cheap, it sounds pleasing and happy, and it's 79 degrees today and I'm stuck indoors and cleaning and doing work. I bailed on a sailing date, and I am regretting this.

Yes, yet another YouTube content-less post as a stop-gap filler. I am working on this massive aggregation of the MobBlog on Legal Education, cleaning my apartment, finishing this review of Ewick and Silbey's The Common Place of Law, and feeling disquietude about my taxonomy of people above a certain income bracket and/or education level. I may not be a faux populist, but I am certainly an uneasy elitist.

But this is a post to show that elitism and populism are not diametrically opposed. This is why academics blog on pop culture, to highlight instances of social stratification and cognitive dissonance at their own academic remove from common concerns of the laity. Pop culture is also great for reifying esoteric academic debates, or just plain giving academics a reason to be silly but not sound totally idiotic--merely pretentious and self-aggrandizing.

For one, this very attractive girl catapulted to fame through YouTube, securing a record deal faster than any of those American Idol rejects. Sometimes, the people, they choose. Not always wisely, and yes, the people, they favor the attractive and palatable. Lessons for the upcoming election and the periodic debate about direct democracy may ensue. This is also what one could call a "white," "Pat Booneish," "girl in a cafe" version of Rihanna's (who is also super attractive) much edgier one:

Although Marie Digby is actually half-Japanese, not that that really matters, or should matter, except that I am surprised that the Boonization of the song has never really been brought up. What does it mean to "sound white," in this age of Eminem, except to go "unplugged"? Incidentally, Daniel Drezner thinks that Rihanna's is the best, and he characterizes it as "siding with the professionals." For my part, I think the Mandy Moore version is just awful, maudlin and treacly, and the most Boone-like. Her needless qualifier that she doesn't like "Top 40" music sounds totally ridiculous and disingenuous and self-hating.

Which one do you like better? I love both of them. I like both hip hop (by which I mean the real stuff, I don't go "huh?" when you say "Ghostface Killah") and happy girl pop. This is perhaps not unlike supporting both the Israelis and the Palestinians, but I am a woman of great complexity and contradiction. This song reminds me of summer, because it was so big last summer, and I listened to it often with the hip-hop loving roommate.

*All to say that those with pedestrian tastes in music live in constant fear of losing the affection and friendship of the music elites (which is why it is better that I think TD's music taste is appalling and not vice-versa), and that Amber is getting a mix CD very soon of Grrrl Pop!! that will contain many of the female artists previously featured on this blog.


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