Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Discontent of My Discontent


...gotta admit, despite my reputation as a badass...the Vladimir Putin of the yoga world...my eyes kinda almost teared up watching that Susan Boyle video...repeatedly...

...the thing was, the first part of it...the interview segment...pretty much epitomized everything that’s foul and loathsome about reality TV in general and the American Idol type shows in particular...judges and audiences mocking someone who fails to fulfill their society’s incredibly narrow, superficial, and often unhealthy standards of beauty...licking their chops in anticipation of tearing her to shreds once she starts singing...all for the unforgivable crime of having the nerve to think she belongs on the same stage as the beautiful people...

To be born woman is to know-
Although they do not talk of it at school-
That we must labour to be beautiful.
William Butler Yeats

...in simpler times all a person needed to be as beautiful as the folks on magazine covers was hundreds of thousands of dollars of plastic surgery and an eating disorder...now, things have gotten more difficult...replace labour with airbrush in that Yeats quote and you’ve got it...

Now is the winter of my discontent...
Richard III (Bill Shakespeare)

we live in a culture of discontent...we’d be nothing without our discontent...most Americans are descended from people who crossed oceans because of discontent...moved west because of discontent...and now endlessly earn earn earn so they can buy buy buy because of discontent....the system wouldn’t work without it...without discontent we’d be oblivious to advertising...and, let’s face it, the economy would collapse in a way that would make these recent perturbations look like a penny falling down a sewer drain...

sometimes there’s no poison like a dream
Tanya Donnelly

...I’ve always wanted to be a rock star...can’t think of any mode of existence that could compare to that...no, not cynical yoga blogger with a small but dedicated cult following...not even Floating Glowing Being of Pure Love....really, it seems like it'd be the fulfillment of...everything...howling out my deepest anguish to a crowd of adoring millions like Kurt Cobain or Janis Joplin...lolling in Viking-like decadence backstage like Gram Parsons, Keith Moon, or Jimi Hendrix...attaining cosmic trances in an electric haze of music and spirit like Bob Marley or Jerry Garcia...and that’s precisely why it’s probably best that, in all likelihood, it's never gonna happen...

15 comments:

timethief said...

I'm so glad Y never watched the TV performance. I rarely watch the tube. I have seen Susan Boyle sing on youtube (dreams) and also her Cry Me a River, which is a song I love to sing too. I'm so glad I wasn't exposed to all the meaningless hype and bullshit. The lady has a great voice and that should be enough for any audience.

Santhosh K Ramachandran said...

Interesting essay, I had always believed that ppl hu crossed atlantic were dreamers, adventurers, believers an likewise term, but had never had thot them as ppl hu are quite discontent..

lol..

anyways..u r proving tat u too can be a cynic..!!

but I had a gud read..!!

Aggie said...

If she wins the competition, they'll make her have a makeover for sure. I hope she sticks to her guns and tells them to naff off. What a great voice.

Well, maybe the downturn will see alot of advertising gurus go down the drain ... not a bad thing I'm sure. Time for people to reassess what they truly value in life.

I thought you were a Rock Star!!!

Drowsey Monkey said...

I'll leave the whole, "you're a badass" for now ... we all deserve our dreams.

Anyhoo... ;)

The thing is, in TV land the only time we see people like her is when we make fun of them. The reality is I see people like that all day long, every day, heck I'm one of them. So while I do think she has a great voice, I think it says way more about how TV sets us up to demean ourselves ... which is why if you want to enjoy TV, as I do, you need to remember that it's just entertainment ... something I think gets lost on this generation of reality show lovers.

Lydia said...

You sure pegged the tone and temperament of those reality talent shows. I saw the end of Brian Williams' report about Susan Boyle, heard him say it'd be out there on the website. Clicked. Watched. Again and again. Can't get enough of her voice and I think she's actually darling in her own way. She's an original......not airbrushed as you mentioned. I hope the first man to kiss her really means it. That would make him a rock star in my book. :)

Seeing Eye Chick said...

How much talent do we miss in the world because of our inability to see beyond the superficialities of physical appearance. Susan Boyle, Stephen Hawking, Barack Obama.

Souls like these give a person hope on many different levels.

Wildwoods Retreat said...

I am a believer in strong connection to our primitive selves in our unconscious, Itself in certain kinds of group behavior. Reality TV (which I loath and do not watch - emotional and social carnage is not my 'thing') panders to our most ancient tribal pack instincts. I don't think those innate intincts are 'bad' - but rather it is what it is... they just are...they lie just below the surface while we attempt to hold some sort of civil discourse. Circus in one fashion or another, gladiator or tv panel judge and audience, gives vent to that undercurrent of unconscious memory of our earliest days as humans. Our perception that the weak and anyone who does not look like 'us' won't, or can't, survive. It leads to attempting drive off or destroy the 'other'. Reality TV makes a sport of it.

Should the person in question have a make over if she survives the process? It likely depends on two things: her personal vision of herself and how much moeny she wants to make.

"Instinct is the nose of the mind" Mme. de Girardin

Danielle said...

I saw that item about Susan Boyle too and to my consternation became embarrassingly misty eyed. It burns, being moved to sentiment by something like "Britain's Got Talent"! But really she's beyond the beyonds of what usually turns up on those shows. Before the awesome kicked in though, it was certainly awkward to watch. The audience jeering, the judge eye-rolls, the "oh no you didn't" stuff. I mean - aren't those the feelings civilized people are supposed to try and sublimate?? (Never mind recognize, question, and then dismiss outright in one fiery second of self-awareness - even though you can't tell me that would be hoping for too much...)
It's bad news that a society generally quite comfortably off like ours still has something in them that makes it easy to be unkind. We look for opportunities, even. Can you imagine how ugly things would have gotten if S. Boyle couldn't sing a note? Bang - the razor blade would have come out of the hairdo then! (metaphorically speaking... or maybe not so much.)

Lana Gramlich said...

If you haven't seen this, you must; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoGYx35ypus

Devin said...

I can't say much about the current topic-so I won't-but it looks like you have a great blog!best to you!

Suzann said...

Beautiful writing and commentary!

Skepticaste (or, the cynic in me sees the cynic in you)

Bird said...

What I liked about Susan Boyle was the sassy way she strode onto the stage, took the mike, and answered all those questions she was asked by an oily, smirking judge with good natured unswayable confidence. She must have KNOWN they were sniggering at her and she didn't care, knew she was bigger than that. I loved how she was before she'd even taken a breath to sing.

earthtoholly said...

Great post, drjay, as I've been thinking about this, and all the hoopla over Susan Boyle has really pissed me off.

If she had been a babe with a good voice she would've been as unheard-of to the world as what I had for breakfast. The media's message that "it's amazing that someone with her looks has that voice" is rude, cruel and insulting to this woman. Actually, she looks like 99.9% of the rest of us outside the cosmetic-surgery world.

I hope she tells her exploiters to STICK IT.

And you'd make an excellent rocker...you've got the soul for it!

(Your Cobain reference reminds me that I have a Nirvana Unplugged playlist waiting in the wings...)

A World Quite Mad said...

I agree completely. I know people who absolutely have to have the latest gadget, or have to buy something the second it comes out to "keep up with the Jones'" as it were.

As for Susan Boyle, I hope, though it is not likely, that people learn a lesson from her. One should never judge a book by it's cover. I have seen people who are beautiful physically, but have a soul that is black. Those are the sort of people I prefer not to associate with.

That people should covet something that is fleeting and temporary over important things, like compassion and kindness, is something that I'll never understand.

Erin Davis said...

I was just talking about this very issue with my students yesterday. You've really said everything I wanted to say about this topic beautifully...think I'll show them your post!

By the way, I've gone back to yoga this month (I'm struggling through a "learn the basics class." I love it, but I'm definitely a remedial yogi. Your blog helps a lot! :0)