Michael Stuart Kelly

Was Beyoncé Super?

46 posts in this topic

Was Beyoncé Super?

I watched the half-time show at this year's Superbowl with a tinge of nostalgia for my younger days in Brazil.

During my pop music phase, I often went to São Paulo strip clubs (on business, of course! :) ).

Dizzy lights. Gaudy visuals. Broad brushed sin-themed scarlet and sable settings. Loud--really loud--chuga-chuga-chuga electro-beat. Endless mirror reflections, now holograms at the show. Voluptuous women in sleek black leather and lingerie. Hungry-look poses galore.

I never thought I would see strip club aesthetics as well produced as I saw at the football game.

beyonce_super_bowl_650_430_17.jpg

Ah... America the beautiful...

How your majestic purple mountains and fruited plains have morphed in metaphorical meaning.

Super-sex me baby with your super-steam!

Let's call it super family entertainment

And piously proclaim, "God bless America!""

:smile:

Michael

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What a beautiful girl exemplifying the glories of America.

I'd still prefer Roger in his tux however, after a proper classical warmup. on one of those few nights way back when that the Leafs beat the Habs.

Carol

Curmudgeon

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I misread the title. "What is Beyond Super?" I thought that this going to about a Hyperbowl or something. This Beyonce person comes up on my comnputers every now and then. I have my Windows homepage set to CNN.com and my Macintosh homepage set to Reuters. That way I do not miss the major elements of pop culture like Dancing with the Stars, Baby BooBoo, and Beyonce. I seldom follow the links, but just seeing the headlines lets me understand what other people around me are talking about. This Beyonce person has been in the news for about five or ten years for singing, dancing, and dating gangsters or athletes (I don't remember which).

In my whole life, I have not totalled enough minutes of football to make a Superbowl. We all have our interests, of course. The link MSK provided was a video. What you see depends on where it stopped last. This is what I saw: A demon backed up by a moron.

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I really think our country is going down the drain. Isn't there anything that shouldn't be shown during family time television?

-Neil Parille

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To think, I may live long enough to see the Super Bowl's first half-time gang-bang...

Or has that already happened?

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Jonathan,

I don't mind the eroticism. Not even the strip club aesthetics. It's the context of presenting this stuff on the most viewed show on earth during family time in America.

You're usually one to pick up on hypocrisy.

Imagine all those religious people--and their kids--watching the show after having gone to church that morning and having a good ole' time shaking it out with Beyoncé while pretending to not notice what's in their face as they scarf down Superbowl beer and barbecue. :smile:

But, on an erotic aesthetics note, to my taste, the dance sequences in the movie Showgirls are far superior in concept to any of the bumps and grinds I saw the child of destiny do. Incidentally, the critics hated that movie, which made it all the more dear to me.

I can think of a few other presentations, too.

I guess I went to too many strip clubs when I was younger to fully appreciate the lady's show in that setting.

I'm not a big fan of Madonna, either. for the same reason.

(But for those who like this stuff, I say go for it.)

Michael

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Only OLers watched the half-time show. Everybody else went to the bathroom and the hot dog/beer stands.

--Brant

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It looks like I'm not the only one who noticed what I noticed.

S.E. Cupp did, too:

A plea to Beyonce

From the commentary:

Beyonce dazzled millions of viewers on Sunday with a high-energy performance of some of her best-loved songs. She sang (live!) and danced well. And she punctuated the performance with aggressively sexual gyrations, crotch grabs and a suggestiveness that wouldn’t look out of place in a strip club.

She isn’t alone in her approach. Madonna, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson–they all offer skimpily clad lap dances, and whether we asked for it or not, we are the collective lap.

Fun for some, I’m sure. But Super Bowl producers should know that women are also watching. So are dudes who like dudes. So are old people. And so are children.

Sex appeal is all some performers have. But Beyonce is no half-talent pop tart. It struck me as odd that someone so immensely talented would choose to make her sex appeal the main attraction.

Watching her sing “Single Ladies,” her ode to female empowerment and self-worth, while humping the stage and flashing her lady bits to the camera, was a strange, sad commentary. Doesn’t she know that she’s too good for that?

Look, I don’t need to see Beethoven’s 9th symphony performed at the Super Bowl. But are my only options aging rock stars or nearly-naked strip teases?

Now I know what else has been bothering me.

Collectivism!

Collective lap, indeed...

:)

Michael

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Jonathan,

I don't mind the eroticism. Not even the strip club aesthetics. It's the context of presenting this stuff on the most viewed show on earth during family time in America.

You're usually one to pick up on hypocrisy.

Imagine all those religious people--and their kids--watching the show after having gone to church that morning and having a good ole' time shaking it out with Beyoncé while pretending to not notice what's in their face as they scarf down Superbowl beer and barbecue. :smile:

I guess that when it comes to resolving hypocrisy, I tend to like the idea of people being encouraged to lose their uptight puritanism, rather than their being encouraged to embrace their notion that sexuality is dirty or sinful. And I really dislike the idea of Objectivish freedom-lovers joining in on the uptight puritanism and accepting the premise that a sexy woman is something to fear and hide the children from. I think it's a good thing that the "Overton window" has been moved to the point that most religious people didn't even realize that they were supposed to be shocked by Beyonce's performance.

You provided excerpts from S.E. Cupp:

Sex appeal is all some performers have. But Beyonce is no half-talent pop tart. It struck me as odd that someone so immensely talented would choose to make her sex appeal the main attraction.

Watching her sing “Single Ladies,” her ode to female empowerment and self-worth, while humping the stage and flashing her lady bits to the camera, was a strange, sad commentary. Doesn’t she know that she’s too good for that?

Look, I don’t need to see Beethoven’s 9th symphony performed at the Super Bowl. But are my only options aging rock stars or nearly-naked strip teases?

I don't accept any of Cupp's premises. Sex appeal wasn't Beyonce's main attraction. She didn't "flash her lady bits," and she wasn't anywhere close to being "nearly naked." She remain clotheded and showed significantly less of her private regions than Olympic gymnasts do, including very young ones. I don't accept Cupp's religion-based premise that an artistic presentation which includes confident female sexuality is somehow degrading, or that it contradicts the concept of female empowerment and self-worth. Rather, I take the position that Beyonce's sexual expressiveness and confidence is the embodiment of female empowerment and self-worth. The mindset of accepting and promoting the social pressure of sexual puritanism and the attempt to impose a sense of guilt about the female libido is what's actually in opposition to female empowerment and self-worth.

Does Cupp think that only men are interested in sexual pleasure, and that a woman who expresses sexuality must therefore be surrendering her own interests and submitting to theirs? It sounds to me as if that's what she's saying. If so, I would suggest that her mistake might be in taking her own frigidity as the standard of what is normal for women. And that's a common mistake. People usually think of themselves as normal and automatically assume that their tastes and appetites are naturally the universal standard, including when they're actually a very small minority, and maybe even quite freakish.

J

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MSK, let me add that I understand that you're not an uptight puritan. My reaction is to the idea that expressions of sexuality are shameful, and to people's absorption of that mindset -- their belief that our culture is being damaged by it and that our country is "going down the drain" because of it. Cupp's attempt to shame Beyonce is what's destructive, and I think that the shaming can be even more damaging when imposed on children. I personally experienced and witnessed a few very vicious examples of it when I was a child.

J

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Jonathan,

Are you looking forward, as much as I, to the half-time gang-bangs?

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I guess that when it comes to resolving hypocrisy, I tend to like the idea of people being encouraged to lose their uptight puritanism, rather than their being encouraged to embrace their notion that sexuality is dirty or sinful.

Jonathan,

Suppose this isn't the issue at all?

It certainly isn't with me.

I suspect it isn't with Cupp (although I will give you it probably is in part with her).

Suppose the issue is more like the following, maybe without the intense hatred Rand put into it (from The Fountainhead), but instead with a feeling of distaste:

Stepping back, Roark brushed against a table loaded with junk. Something clattered to the floor. Mallory jerked forward, trying to reach it first. Roark pushed his arm aside and picked up the object.

It was a small plaster plaque, the kind sold in cheap gift shops. It represented a baby sprawled on its stomach, dimpled rear forward, peeking coyly over its shoulder. A few lines, the structure of a few muscles showed a magnificent talent that could not be hidden, that broke fiercely through the rest; the rest was a deliberate attempt to be obvious, vulgar and trite, a clumsy effort, unconvincing and tortured. It was an object that belonged in a chamber of horrors.

Mallory saw Roark's hand begin to shake. Then Roark's arm went back and up, over his head, slowly, as if gathering the weight of air in the crook of his elbow; it was only a flash, but it seemed to last for minutes, the arm stood lifted and still—then it slashed forward, the plaque shot across the room and burst to pieces against the wall. It was the only time anyone had ever seen Roark murderously angry.

What if the issue isn't some kind of Puritanism that we all can easily scapegoat, but instead a rejection of using a top event with a "deliberate attempt to be obvious, vulgar and trite" for half-time entertainment?

Is that a possibility you are open to considering, or is your hatred of Puritanism so deep you believe that is not relevant in what you perceive in others?

btw - If you honestly think "sex appeal wasn't Beyonce's main attraction" in her show, I need to take you to a few clubs...

:smile:

Michael

EDIT: Our posts crossed...

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What if the issue isn't some kind of Puritanism that we all can easily scapegoat, but instead a rejection of using a top event with a "deliberate attempt to be obvious, vulgar and trite" for half-time entertainment.

Again, I don't accept the judgment that Beyonce's performance was vulgar and trite.

btw - If you honestly think "sex appeal wasn't Beyonce's main attraction" in her show, I need to take you to a few clubs...

I think that I may need to take you to a few clubs so that you can see what "sex appeal as a main attraction" actually looks like. Beyonce is quite mild and innocent in comparison.

J

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Jonathan,

Are you looking forward, as much as I, to the half-time gang-bangs?

I don't think we'll live to see half-time gang-bangs. I think we're more likely to see women in burkas or a return to the virtues of Victorian bathing suits, at least if those who want to save the world from female sexuality have their way.

J

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Jonathan,

I can agree to disagree on taste--as I said, I am a great fan of the movie, Showgirls. To me Showgirls = Good taste in erotic dance. Beyoncés gig = Vulgar and trite.

But come on.

Simulating humping on stage in dance moves is not "sex appeal" just because it is not real humping?

Seriously?

If that's the case, we have probably reached an identification impasse.

Michael

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Simulating humping on stage in dance moves is not "sex appeal" just because it is not real humping?

I didn't say that. Beyonce obviously has sex appeal, and her dancing is sexually expressive. I'm only arguing against the position that her sexual expressiveness was her main attraction. I'm saying that it was merely an element of her show.

J

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I'm saying that it was merely an element of her show.

Jonathan,

This is a whole other discussion in itself, but here are a few brief thoughts.

There are certain deep hard-wired responses in the human brain. Sex is one. The cuteness response is another (I first became aware of this one reading A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse by Stephen Jay Gould--btw, that's a PDF link--as I was looking into primary presuasion attraction elements).

The thing about these deep responses is that if you shine the spotlight on them, they tend to be the focus of the impact of the display, thus they rob the effectivelness of the other elements. At the very least, they weaken the public's attention on everything around them.

Primal reactions are extremely easy on the conceptual mind--note, effective primal prompts are easy-peasy to produce, i.e., make it round and cuddly for cute, take your clothes off for sex--and they hog the emotional responses of any item or presentation that bears them. This is something I believe Ayn Rand felt, but could not articulate other than have Roark throw the damn baby sculpture against a wall within the context of Mallory's artistic potential.

Granted, different people have different degrees of sexual responsiveness, but mirror neurons are mirror neurons and the human race as a whole is highly motivated by sex. If you highlight it among other elements (when no other primal reaction designs to prompt cuteness, terror, etc. are present), sex is what people are going to resond to first and most.

I'll even grant you that the Puritanism you object to increases the focus on sex by making some people feel it's nasty. But that does not remove sex from its priority role in displays like that halftime presentation and make it equal to everything else.

This is a reason I believe sex appeal was a main element--if not the main element--in Beyoncé's show. Further, I believe she and her managers knew it and did it on purpose. Of course there were other ingedients, ones that demanded expert skills, and I'm sure the musicians and lighting people were not flattered by being second string to sex, but human resonse is what it is.

Beyoncé simply took the easy way out in wowing the public.

Michael

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This was the first Super Bowl I ever watched. (Well, actually, I went and did the dishes during the third quarter, but then returned.) I agree with Jonathan. After some commercial with a slender sexy young woman only slightly clad and gliding through some exciting poses, I said to Walter “I don’t know if the children should be allowed to watch the Super Bowl,” knowing in advance his reply would be “Oh Yes They Should!” This is from a father of two boys whom he and wife raised; they became wonderful men, now middle-aged (both of them straight as it worked out).


I enjoyed the visuals of the Beyoncé show. I didn’t think much of the songs. From them I would not have known what a good singer she is. Fortunately, I had learned how well she can sing from the Presidential inauguration. From a remark a couple years ago by the Pres, I had gathered she was well known to be a god-what-a-bod person, so I wasn’t surprised it figures in a big way in her popular performances.


There is some amount of flow concerning how much eroticism can enter dance before it becomes primarily arousal of sexual feelings developing on their own natural course. In his Guide to Philosophy, Cyril Joad wrote that ballet is simply “a lewd performance” in which “half-naked women make voluptuous movements, twisting themselves into various sensual wreathings” (1936, 336). Times change.

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It's about TV. Do children or adults watch half-time shows? Who do the advertisers want glued to their sets? Were there many children at the Superbowl? What do their parents do with them then? Keep them in their seats to watch Beyonce or take them to the bathroom?

So there you have it. It's all about keeping a bunch of beer-drinking guys watching TV watching TV. CBS wanted what it got from that gal and wasn't surprised.

--Brant

culture doesn't go to hell; it gets swept aside

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I'll even grant you that the Puritanism you object to increases the focus on sex by making some people feel it's nasty.

The above sentence pretty much represents where I'm coming from. To certain people, a woman who shows a little bit of ankle is acting like a whore. To others, a woman who dresses like S. E. Cupp and occasionally shows just a slight bit of cleavage is a dirty, skanky slut who is selling sex rather than ideas (after all, you never see Brit Hume or George Will flaunting any part of their bodies below their Adam's apples, so why does S. E. Cupp need to titillate viewers by teasing them with a tiny glimpse of her Cupps?). To certain people, any inclusion of a sexual element is so shocking that it is all that they see.

This is a reason I believe sex appeal was a main element--if not the main element--in Beyoncé's show. Further, I believe she and her managers knew it and did it on purpose. Of course there were other ingedients, ones that demanded expert skills, and I'm sure the musicians and lighting people were not flattered by being second string to sex, but human resonse is what it is.

Beyoncé simply took the easy way out in wowing the public.

Beyonce's inclusion of sexuality in her dancing style isn't something new. All of the ladies have been doing it for probably a couple of decades now. Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga all do it. I think Janet Jackson was doing it back in the late 80s or early 90s. If anything, Beyonce's act was probably toned down for the Super Bowl.

J

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It's about TV. Do children or adults watch half-time shows? Who do the advertisers want glued to their sets? Were there many children at the Superbowl? What do their parents do with them then? Keep them in their seats to watch Beyonce or take them to the bathroom?

So there you have it. It's all about keeping a bunch of beer-drinking guys watching TV watching TV. CBS wanted what it got from that gal and wasn't surprised.

--Brant

culture doesn't go to hell; it gets swept aside

You've misidentified the target market. It's not beer-drinking guys, but women. The NFL has been very successfully expanding its audience to women. Women tend to adore Beyonce. They see her as beautiful, charming, strong, accomplished, and yet not as a threat. They connect or identify with her.

J

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Here are some basic demographics if anyone is interested (screenshot from here and it seems to be based on Nielsen numbers):

Superbowl-demographics.jpg

The article highlights how the female viewership is growing, but I'm more impressed with how the lion's share goes to 18 to 65 year olds, divided up into approximately 3 equal groups.

80% or more Caucasian, too.

I never paid attention to this before.

Michael

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Bitch-slapping me with facts: If you people don't want me around, keep it up. They never did that to me on SLOP.

--Brant

mad as hell and not going to take it any more--and that's a fact! (how do you like it?)

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