Category Archives: Aesthetics

61st Grammy Awards: Another Great Porn Show. Music It Was NOT

Aesthetics, Art, Celebrity, Culture, Music, Sex

Other than the gorgeous Alicia Keys, host of the 61st Grammy Awards, who has talent and is certainly charming, and Dolly Parton, a total pro—the show showcased the gutter culture that is the American music scene. We are now truly in the musical sewer.

The petulant female artists, so proud of their seized power, showcased nothing much but hip movements, pelvic thrusts and tush twerking. Not one inspiring beautiful dance did these crass stompers execute on the elaborate stage.

Janelle Monáe? Sum total of her “talent” is simulating sex on stage.

‘We need a new word to do this justice … vulvic?’ Janelle Monáe’s Pynk.

Screaming? Oh yes. Good voices? Nada. The insipid Kacey Musgraves is a two-chord whiner who makes me miss Sarah McLachlan.

Great melodies? Nothing; other than a few truly great old songs botched by the newbies’ ugly warbling: it’s the custom. Nobody learns to sing properly.  For example, a screaming duo, Chloe x Halle, absolutely mutilated the exquisite, emotional song, “Where Is The Love,” performed in 1972 by Donny Hathaway and the magical Roberta Flack.

Again, not one memorable song did I hear, sporting a decent chord progression and some melodic variety; not one vaguely competent guitarist or instrumentalist: nothing.

Understandable. Why bother to acquire instrumental proficiency, instruction in composition and voice training when the swaying hips, jutting pelvises or just attitude (Dua Lipa) are what’s on sale and  in demand?

I used to have some respect for Lady Gaga. But to watch Gaga, legs permanently splayed like an arthritic hooker, traipsing around clumsily, attempting to head-bang, but getting disoriented (yeah, it takes a metal-head guy to do that), then lugging microphone and mount around like a geriatrics with a walker and Depends: this was not good, to put it mildly.

The tartlets I watched “sing” at this Grammys would have been even more inaudible and tuneless were it not for the Auto-Tune: the “holy grail of recording,” that “corrects intonation problems in vocals or solo instruments, in real time, without distortion or artifacts.”

This T & A line-up would be reduced to even more embarrassing grunts, out-of-tune yelps, and bedroom whispers, if not for the Auto-Tune.

Most of the performers were  G-d-awful as musicians. They sustain one or two pitches and exhibited little proficiency on any of the instruments they belabor.

‘Vocal Fry’ and ‘Uptalk’: On The North American Woman’s Ghastly, Gravely Voice

Aesthetics, Comedy & Humor, Feminism, Gender

Talking in “staccato tart tones” is how I’ve always described the American Woman’s gravelly voice. These days, it’s improper to suggest that the sound emitted from the gobs of tele-ditzes, and lots of other women, is just vile.

So the famous Economist column, “Johnson,” is explaining the politically proper terms for this audial assault.  Incidentally. Dr. Samuel Johnson, the ultra-conservative polymath after whom this liberal column is named, would have taken his cane to any woman who addressed him in such “staccato tart tones.

Two vocal features are associated with young women: vocal fry and uptalk. Uptalk, as the name suggests, is the rising intonation that makes statements sound like questions? And vocal fry—often said to be typical of Kim Kardashian, an American celebrity—happens at the ends of words and phrases when a speaker’s vocal chords relax, giving the voice a kind of creaky quality (a bit like something frying in a pan).
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From these descriptions, an alien observer would be bemused to learn that these harmless phenomena drive some people to scorn, or even anger. But they do. When Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, had sexually assaulted her, some viewers were so infuriated by her speaking style that they denounced it on Twitter: “Christine Blasey Ford’s little girl voice…vocal fry, and uptalk worse than clubbed toenails down a chalkboard.” …

… And men fry all the time, too. Critics of the fry-panic have discovered it in the back catalogues of George W. Bush, Kurt Cobain (who was the lead singer for Nirvana, a grunge-rock band), and Ira Glass (an American radio host). None are known as sexy babies.

Moreover, vocal fry is, in a way, uptalk’s technical opposite. It tends to happen when speakers are relaxing their voices to try to make them sound deeper than they naturally are.

THE REST: Johnson: “Women’s voices are judged more harshly than men’s: Assailed for imaginary vocal foibles, women walk a thin line between shrill and mannish.”

Barack Obama’s Kitschy Official Portrait: Looks Like Wallpaper That Has To Be Scraped Off For A Renovation

Aesthetics, Art, Barack Obama

Barack Obama’s foliage-filled portrait is bad art. Dreadful. Was it inspired by the interview the former president once gave Zach Galifianakis, host of “Between Two Ferns”? (Here Galifianakis let Barack Obama drone on, “Between Two Ferns,” about “that thing that doesn’t work.” Galifianakis is a good kind of goofy.)

Comments on art should exclude politics. I don’t care who the artist is politically. All that matters is whether his art is good or bad. That’s the issue at hand. Kehinde Wiley’s Obama art is ghastly. Like wallpaper that has to be removed for a renovation.

Kim Kardashian Clothed is More Obscene Than Playboy Nudes

Aesthetics, Celebrity, Conservatism, Left-Liberalism, Pop-Culture, Sex

If you think about it, Playboy magazine was quite innocent compared to today’s’ prime-time smut. Watching Kim Kardashian clothed is much more obscene than, say, Patti Mcguire’s Playboy spread in the 1970s.

Hugh Hefner was certainly a degenerate, but conservatives crowing like leftist feminists about his exploitation of women is worse than silly. (Although Ross Douthat, author of “Speaking Ill of Hugh Hefner,” is as good as a liberal.)