“a sweetie,” but

I totally agree with the author of the following article, Taylor Swift is a sweetheart, but I think her time has passed. And she really can’t sing, especially in person, without the help of technology, without backup. I applaud all the accolades she has garnered at such a young age. She was surely in the right place, at the right time, when all the stars in heaven were perfectly aligned. Again, good for her, her song-writing ability, her fashion style, her self-confidence, her down-home personality. But fantastic songstress, she is not. I like her, but…

In Awe of Taylor Swift–But Enough! by Joe Queenan

Like everybody else in America, I am in awe of Taylor Swift. Complete and utter awe. Even when she sings off-key with Stevie Nicks. She writes catchy tunes, makes clever, self-deprecating videos, and has an elegance rarely found among country & western artists. I really admire the way she handled that nasty incident with Kanye West at the 2009 MTV Music Video awards, and I love the way she uses her songs to turn her ever-growing pile of ex-boyfriends into chum.

And even if some of her songs seem a tad derivative–“You Belong With Me” sounds like Liz Phair channeling Suzanne Vega reworking the Bangles songbook–what’s the big deal? All New Country sounds like that Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The only thing I don’t like about Taylor Swift is that she has now become remorselessly ubiquitous. In the past few months, Ms. Swift has achieved the sort of global media saturation that was once associated with Madonna and, more recently, Lady Gaga. If you turn on the television, Taylor Swift is there, receiving yet another award. If you turn on the radio, she is there, crooning about yet another fallen swain. If you open a tabloid, she is there, the gorgeous ingenue, posing disingenuously for the paparazzi. If you pass a newsstand, she is beaming out at you from the cover of People, US Weekly, OK, Seventeen. As Entertainment Weekly, whose cover she currently graces, puts it: “Congratulations, Taylor Swift on achieving total world domination…in just 12 short months.”

When a star achieves this kind of overnight intergalactic suzerainty, the rest of us end up knowing things about them that we do not really need to know. This occurs through the process of supernoval osmosis, whereby people who haven’t the slightest interest in a famous person, and who only watch PBS and the Sundance Channel, nevertheless know that Danny Bonaduce just got married for the third time. I myself only watch sports and TV shows where people get shot or stabbed, and I only listen to radio stations that play Bela Bartok or Miles Davis, yet by paging through magazines in checkout lines and reading tabloids strewn around the diner and just generally being a sentient human being on this planet in the year 2010, I have come into possession of all sorts of minutiae regarding Taylor Swift’s daily life.

I know that she has moved out of her parents’ Nashville home. I know that her fling with Taylor Lautner ended amicably. I know that she plays Taylor guitars. I know that not everyone is crazy about her new hair style. I know that she sometimes changes outfits four times a day.

I know that the breakup call she received from one of the Jonas Brothers only lasted 27 seconds, even though I can never remember which of the Jonas Brothers made it, or why she timed it. And while I have no idea where most of my friends spent Thanksgiving, I know that Ms. Swift flew to Brooklyn to be with her new boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal. And I have it on the highest authority that while visiting Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope, Ms. Swift giggled while sipping a maple latte. Jake’s maple latte.

I do not begrudge Ms. Swift her wealth, her fame, her utter hegemony over every medium known to man, her maple latte. I simply wish that she would occasionally give the rest of us a day off.

Apparently that is not going to happen. Last week I locked myself away to see if I could get through a single day without having Taylor Swift infiltrate my consciousness. I didn’t read the papers, or watch TV, or turn on the radio, or log onto the Internet. By nine o’clock I seemed to have this thing pretty well under control. Then I called a close friend and asked if his daughter-in-law had delivered her baby, and he replied: “Yes. They named her Ashlee Taylor. They picked ‘Taylor’ because…”

Don’t tell me. I know.

Wall Street Journal, Saturday-Sunday,December 11-12, 2010

I actually feel similarly about the Kardashian sisters. They’re beautiful, but…

in small doses, maybe…hugmamma.

eclipse, the twilight saga

Saw the latest installment of the much hyped vampire series, The Twilight Saga. Eclipse did not disappoint, unlike its predecessors. Twilight and New Moon were not as appealing because the actors seemed stilted in their conversations and movements. They projected as teenagers who don’t want the world to know their true thoughts and feelings, very different from their counterparts in reality TV. Viewers know only too well what they’re about, TMI (“too much information”, as explained by my daughter).

Robert Pattinson as a vampire, Taylor Lautner as a wolf, and Kristin Stewart as their human love interest were more engaging in this, the final episode. All 3 seemed to have matured since they were last on the big screen. Their complex love triangle assumed more depth. There seemed a real possibility that Bella could be in  love with both Edward and Jacob. I wondered if the story would end in a menage a trois. I’ll have to wait and see the final, final episode. Yes, it’s a two parter.

Pattinson’s handsome face, chiseled like a Greek god’s, seemed less overwhelming, while  Lautner looked less like a high school star athlete, and more like a man. Eclipse seemed less focused upon capturing their obvious traits, Pattinson’s brooding glare and Lautner’s 6-pack, bronze abs. More filming from the neck up meant they needed to express their emotions more fully, more genuinely. Tears welled in their eyes as they spoke with angry passion or loving comfort. There were tender moments, humorous asides, and fiery encounters. The teenagers who began the journey had evolved into young adults, finally comfortable in their own skins, whatever their composition.

Leaving the theater, I announced to my daughter that, for her sake, I’d see Eclipse a second time. I’m a fan of seeing performances more than once, as I like to do when my daughter dances. The first time unleashes a floodgate of sights and sounds which overtake  my senses. (Back from exchanging bear hugs with Juneau, my other Maine Coone, mixed-breed.) Subsequent views allow me to dissect a performance, so that I become aware of details that I’d not noticed before. I leave the theater with a greater appreciation or better understanding of someone or something. I may confirm an opinion, or have a change of heart.

It’s undeniable that the casting net trolled for only the gorgeous among us. Pattinson, Lautner and Stewart are easy on the eyes, as are the other actors. Would we be as attracted to ugly vampires and wolves? Perhaps if we were paying to see a sci-fi thrillerBut The Twilight Saga is fantasy, and we want fantastic, not scary, looking creatures.

If you want to feast on “eye candy,” first love, gorgeous vampires and hunky wolves, then I suggest you “fly like a bat outta…” 

and see Eclipse  …hugmamma.