Monday, May 14, 2007

MONDAY MORNING NITROUS: Rewriting newspaper entertainment news stories so they actually entertain

The next piece squirmed its way to the top of the great Internet waste bin this morning, so I thought it worth reccycling before getting back to the usual dumb chemical terror experts and daily mushroom crowds.

It was written in 2004 immediately after seeing something in the Calender section of the Los Angeles Times on Hilary Duff. The Times, if you don't read it, never allows a sense of humor in its coverage of pop musicians and celebrities. Everything is taken very seriously, the tea leaves of pop social trends carefully read, the idiotic exclamations of every man or kid on the street dutifully reprinted as wisdom from the salt of the earth. Because it is like this, it is always easy to lampoon.


...from the Los Angeles Times


January 26, 2004


Duff: She's no pop tart


Thousands of preteens -- sugared up and waving glow-sticks -- were attending their first Hilary Duff concert. And accompanying, in one of the greatest rituals of modern times, were parents, embarrassedly reminiscing about their own first concerts.

"I threw up on my sneakers for Ten Years After in Long Beach in '71," said one father. "I drank so much Piels on the way to Black Sabbath/Slade at the Spectrum in '74, my buddy had to let me jump over the guard rail on the Schuylkill Expressway to take a wiz," yelled another.

It was easy to picture the kids of these parents in 20, 30, 40 years, taking their children to their first concerts, while embarrassedly reminiscing about this day. "I was so excited I wet myself," one might say. "I screamed so long I swallowed my chewing gum," another.

It could be an embarrassment party, but not too embarrassing, because -- after all --nothing can top falling unconscious in a puddle of your own sick for AC/DC or carving "Slatannic Wehrmacht" in your forearm with a razor-knife while Slayer was onstage.

Sure, Hilary Duff's popularity -- her debut album has sold three million copies in the U.S. -- springs from her Disney work.

Sure, she's a cream puff who appeared to be faking ala Milli Vanilli through the entire show.

But she also seemed the perfect star for the pre-teen crowd, and why shouldn't they have their own pop stars? Do you want your little girl etching "Slatannic Wehrmacht" on her tit or piling into the tour bus after the show to be videotaped having sex with someone from Mudvayne?

Presenting herself as a straightforward power rocker in black tank top, skin-tight pants and white knee-high boots, she looked more like Gina Gershon, that bitch who fronted Hairy Clam in "Prey for Rock and Roll" than Britney, Christina or Justin.

Her songs were uniformly robust and catchy, with state-of-the-art hack playing and production.

Most noteworthy, while the now sixteen-year-old's image has been sexualized, it was still quite wholesome, not like the Humbert Humbert-bait, Spears.

A sense of even more wholesome girl power was reinforced by the fact that with the drummer -- in a sort of dominatrix outfit, three backup singers and an onstage video-deejay, all female, Duff and her gender-mates, outnumbered males in the act six to four!

It's a symbol for superior all-American goodness, one that should be fostered by parents who could insist that if junior is to be allowed to practice Misfits covers in the basement with his gender-mates, then at least a couple girls are to be included.

"There's a whole bunch of people who look like pop stars, and there's Duff who looks like a 16-year old who is a pop star. The audience thinks she looks like them, and they love that. They love the idea that her pathological warehouse-sized closet full of shoes could be their closet, if they had a couple million dollars," says Joe Levy, music editor of Rolling Stone.

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