A LOVE SUPREME

I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Eclectic?



I think not.

Somethings do NOT belong together. I like cake - it is sweet and good on my birthday. I also like mushrooms - they are good on pizza and salads. But I don't like mushroom cake.

In our culture there are violinists and there are Playboy models. But only in our culture could there be such a thing as a Playboy Bunny Violinist. Any more these days it's hard to find anyone who has not modeled for Playbody.

25 comments:

Jason Hesiak said...

Hence my previously referenced problem with bricolage and colage.
:)

Dawn said...

First, I haven't posed for Playboy...that's just an FYI.

Second, I watched an Outside The Lines on ESPN last weekend and they had Olympic medalist (swimming) Amanda Beard on...she's posed for Playboy. Now she's a gorgeous lady, but why?

When they asked what she thought her future children would think, she says they'd think she was cool. Now that's just silly...I would NOT think other folks seeing my mom's ta ta's was cool. Ick.

Jonathan Erdman said...

I don't know that I really understand why so many women in our culture are fascinated by posing for Playboy, but it definitely exists.

I met a girl several years back who worked at Applebee's who told us that she was an aspiring high school principal and that she wanted to be the first high school principal to pose for Playboy. She was very serious. Two life goals: Principal and Playboy. She was kind of short and stocky, so I don't think she will ever be a centerfold. The interesting thing, to me at the time was that porn was going mainstream. Porn in America isn't just for the dirt-bag, flea-infested, back-alley porn joints, it's something out in the open. It's mainstream and really reaches people. There's really no shame in it, anymore. For America, this has been a significant cultural shift.

Melody said...

I don't know that I really understand why so many women in our culture are fascinated by posing for Playboy,

They want men to want them.

I mean, Hugh Hephner is obviously the one who made this a glamourous and upscale thing because of his inclusion of articles on fine living a long side the photos, and that made it desirable orginally...

...Then there was the popularization of the bikini and the creation of playboy models into icons...

...but anymore, it's just this extremely pervasive belief that a womans worth hinges on how many men are attracted to her.

And being a playboy model would be a fair indicator that a lot of men are attracted to that person.

Raptor said...

One of the girls from high school posed for one of the college editions of playboy.

I always thought she (and others) pose because it is a public affirmation of their physical beauty.

Raptor said...

whoops....edited to add:

One of the girls from high school posed for one of the college editions of playboy.

I always thought she (and others)wanted to pose because it is a public affirmation of their physical beauty. If playboy picks them, then they must be pretty somehow.

Melody said...

Well yes, and what is the point of being pretty? Oh...right...

samlcarr said...

However it's dressed up, it's still a cultural cry of pain.

Though, i sort of disagree, there's really nothing wrong with being able to play the violin and have a pretty face/body. Both are a sort of exhibitionism when they go public and both can be dressed up as art if we want to...

Jonathan Erdman said...

Welcome back, Sam!

(For those of you who don't know, Sam had a "close brush with life" as he calls it.)

Sam, what about the performance of the purity of the music? I know that in a concert it is always difficult to tell who is on display, the performer or the music. However, when someone comes out on the stage dressed in a bikini and a smokin' hot body I just can't see how the music would get a whole lot of attention.

I think that Linda Brava typifies the current entertainment climate, which is to provide as much sensual stimulation as possible in the shortest amount of time. Hence the American Idol craze. The music is secondary and "star power" takes center stage. In other words, the purity of art is lost in the lights and the cameras. There may be nothing that is, necessarily, wrong with this. It is what it is. On the other hand, I don't know that there is anything right about it, either.

It seems as though we are losing sight of what it means to sacrifice and exert effort into appreciating art. Art is now pop art, which means it is not my responsibility to appreciate art, it is arts responsibility to stimulate and entertain me. Hence, if you can't make a good living as a violinist then take off your clothes, pose for Playboy, and play the violin in a bikini. Then the crowds will be sufficiently entertained and you can now be considered a successful artist.

samlcarr said...

When you put it that way it comes off as too cheap to be considered good art but is it really? Say you buy a CD and it just sounds great, good violin player... would the fact that she happens to be a playboy special make any difference to the sound?

If she's a mediocre violinist that uses her looks/body/youth/vivaciousness as a crutch then i agree with you.

It's often true that the video sells much better than just a CD tho sometimes the video detracts from really great sound. I'm a bit old school and like to hear and let my own imagination loose but that's less and less true of today's young people.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Good point about the quality of the music. If the violin performance is truly good art then anyone who appreciates and understand good music might purchase the CD and enjoy it. They will discover something special in the experience of listening to the CD.

But then let's say they go to a concert and she walks out in a bikini. And let's say there are some whistles and from some of the fans who are stimulated by her sex appeal. I would imagine that her sensuality would take away from the performance of the musical pieces.

The concept of "eclectic" is very interesting. We have two very good pieces of furniture, but they do not match. However, we put them together in a room and somehow they work together despite their difference. So being "eclectic" has something of a built-in contradiction between "working together" and "not matching".

But you could also throw together two pieces of furniture that do not match and it might look absolutely horrible! Why? Good question.

In the case of the bikini-clad violinist I would say that the sensuality of sex steals away from the sensuality (or even spirituality) of the music. It is not eclectic, rather, it clashes and the sexuality overpowers the musical encounter.

Jason Hesiak said...

As noted...I have a problem with ecclecticism in the first place. Historically..."style" became an architectural plaything when...or as...architecture stopped becoming a unified expression of a way of life...like, say maybe, one's natural mannerism or simple expressive gestures that everyone understands. OK, so now there is no unified way of life, much less an expression of it. But from there I can't accept colage and snap-on plastic models from the box, however strong the superglue I'm using (whether the two contrasting pieces of furniture somehow go well together or not).

The watered down image of Debbie Does Dallas and the watered down "image" (although an audible one) of Brahms or Robert Shaw just don't fit together for me. Two different worlds. I think Playboy would love to totalize everything into a sexualizing discourse, just as the economy seems to have successfully totalized everything into an economizing one. But sorry, that's a visually clangy and audibally tacky image.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Jason:
I think Playboy would love to totalize everything into a sexualizing discourse, just as the economy seems to have successfully totalized everything into an economizing one.

That is a great point. The marketplace is now no longer an economic marketplace. It is a meaning-production matrix. It is no longer about peddling nudy magazines. It is about Playboy creating reconfiguring what culture deems as meaningful experiences. If you can sexualize the culture and turn Playboy Bunnies into celebrities then you don't just sell magazines you sell a way of living and being. Then, with Playboy as the epicenter of sexuality the $$$ becomes only a secondary issue.

I think this requires the Church to dig deep. Now it is not enough to condemn Playboy, now we have to deconstruct the entire matrix of meaning that Playboy has (successfully, in my opinion) been gradually establishing.

Jason Hesiak said...

Thanks...and I agree...

Problem is...I don't think that lots of folks are even NOTICING the referenced matrix of meaning...neither the economizing nor the sexualizing ones. You have to "dig deep" to even SEE it.

And who wants to dig deep in the super-ficial world of simulacra, full of an overwhelming number of semi-audible pro-liminal messages? We just want to come home from work and relax, have a beer, turn on the TV, and "chill out." Go into our very large imaginary cave. As large as we imagine it to be. We can push the envelope of those stressful limits that are imposed upon us by the super-ficial. Do note the slight sarcasm, lol.

samlcarr said...

Since the problem of clashing metaophors and of 'what constitutes good taste' seem to come from within ourselves, is it fair to criticize others for enjoying some strange combo of expressions that we find jarring?

Jonathan Erdman said...

It may not be fair, but I'm going to do it!

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

samlcarr said...

what of our gut reactions, are these in any sense Christian? are they grounded in something gospel and if so could we try to delineate how this is so?
where does 'tastefulness' end and snobbishness or old fashionednaess or being in step with the culture begin?

chrisv said...

dude. pam anderson is old. jessica biel is where it's at. my wife disagrees, however (about biel, not anderson).

Anonymous said...

Linda Brava has an impressive musical pedigree as she has studied at Sibelius Academy and with Mauricio Fuks, played as a member and concertmaster in European youth and professional orchestras around the world since the age of eight, done many head-of-state and royal concert appearances as well as solo orchestral appearances despite she is a chamber musician etc.

In addition to her classical music career, she has also been interested in modelling and acting, and as she had already gained attention as a violin sensation in Europe working with people like Lloyd Webber and appearing on the cover of The Sunday Times' culture section and the BBC, the interest in her was growing in the States, so she was offered a contract to become the celebrity cover girl of Playboy's Sex & Music issue of 1998. So as she is just an ordinary girl from Finland (known for the sauna, where men and women alike spend time in nude) she said yes.. But although there has been so many more famous female musicians, Hollywood stars and even Olympic athletes doing the cover for decades, Brava's became big news - Hypocrite.

She never does classical music looking sexy.. That's for pop music. Years back, there were reports that she performs in a bikini.. Yes, when she's modelling the range of swimsuits, not in a concert hall :D Both her parents are actors, so to her it seems to be a normal thing to have these different roles in life.

You can be a classical violinist and still rock with Hendrix or act on Baywatch. I think that sort of controversy is great!

Jonathan Erdman said...

Anonymous said:
But although there has been so many more famous female musicians, Hollywood stars and even Olympic athletes doing the cover for decades, Brava's became big news - Hypocrite.

Our society (American culture) loves this stuff. If it was "big news" it was simply for the sake of celebrating that yet another celebrity has done the Playboy cenerfold thing. It wasn't condemned, hence there is no hypocrisy. Even my post was not so much a condemnation, so much as it was a cultural observation.

For me becoming a sexual symbol and celebrating one's sexuality takes away from the celebration of one's musical talent, in the sense that it seems to cheapen it. That's just my opinion. As you say, one's cultural background makes a big difference as to what one considers "appropriate." I'm not a prude, it is just that if a person wants me to truly focus on their music, then all other issues go into the background. For example, how can I go to her myspace page and truly absorb her songs while she has sexual pictures of herself in a bikini.

The question is: What does she want the focus of herself to be. Right now she is conflicted. Is she a Britney Spears - a mixture of music and sex? Or is she truly a musician? If she wants to be appreciated as an artist, then I suggest not going the Britney Spears route. This would mean avoiding Playboy.

In our culture everyone thinks they have to be so damn sexy to get any real attention. It's a real shame, in my opinion.

Anonymous also said:
You can be a classical violinist and still rock with Hendrix or act on Baywatch. I think that sort of controversy is great!

I agree that controversy can be quite entertaining! However, a person needs to focus on who they are and be authentic. Either be a classical violinist or a Baywatch babe. For example, no one respects Pam Anderson for anything other than her ability to sexually stimulate the masses.

Anonymous said...

"For me becoming a sexual symbol and celebrating one's sexuality takes away from the celebration of one's musical talent"

I do agree, if one is unable to concentrate things one finds important (in this case, music)..
--
"if a person wants me to truly focus on their music, then all other issues go into the background. For example, how can I go to her myspace page and truly absorb her songs while she has sexual pictures of herself in a bikini."

It seems that the problem is your inability to concentrate things you are really interested in.. I mean, I can easily pass her pics and just listen the music.
--
"The question is: What does she want the focus of herself to be. Right now she is conflicted. Is she a Britney Spears - a mixture of music and sex? Or is she truly a musician? If she wants to be appreciated as an artist, then I suggest not going the Britney Spears route."

She has two separate careers, each existing simultaneously. Unfortunately, some people cannot see that. She lives for classical music, but enjoys playing pop and rock music, too. She has been asked to do modelling, to be part of politics, to race cars, and what else. Like I already said earlier, I think that because of her parents (renowed actors and artists in Finland), she is used to the idea of having different roles: "A sexy violin kitten playing pop music and doing modelling.." or "a sensitive classical violinist singing her emotions through the violin.." etc.
--
I certainly do understand the conflict in Linda Brava, but all I can say is that she's just like anyone else.. I must give her credit for just living her life, doing and learning new things, and not thinking what others might think about her.

In the end, the most important thing is to be able to love, right :D
--
Try to catch her in one of "Celtic Origins" shows in the States.. there's just beautiful music and no bikinis :P

One piece preview behind the Videos section
http://www.myspace.com/lindalampeniusprivate

Jonathan Erdman said...

Thanks for stopping by, Anonymous, if that's your real name. Obviously, you are acquainted with Brava in some way...or maybe you are a PR person....or maybe you are just pretending you are a PR person...in any case, it's interesting to think about her career as it relates to American (and non-American) culture. I appreciate your perspective.

"if a person wants me to truly focus on their music, then all other issues go into the background. For example, how can I go to her myspace page and truly absorb her songs while she has sexual pictures of herself in a bikini."

It seems that the problem is your inability to concentrate things you are really interested in.. I mean, I can easily pass her pics and just listen the music.


Fair enough. But if Linda really wants me to focus on her music....like, I mean REALLY focus ONLY on the music, then she wouldn't have bikini pics. Let me ask you this: Don't you think it is the nature of sexuality that it captures and dominates our attention???

I personally think that the passion and desire and lure of sexuality is such that it demands a great deal of concentration. That's why we use the term "sexy" in the way that we do. If a person is "sexy" they are stimulating and tend to draw the gazes and attention and concentration of people away from what they are doing. If a woman is extra sexy on a particular day she is going to turn heads. That is, people will stop what they are doing and pay attention.

There seem to be some things that compliment each other, and other things that don't. I don't know that a sexually stimulating woman is a compliment to being a violinist. I think the sexuality tends to trump the musical endeavor.

But, hey, that's just me.

Anonymous said:
I must give her credit for just living her life, doing and learning new things, and not thinking what others might think about her.

I agree: bravo for Bravo!

In the end, the most important thing is to be able to love, right :D

Aaaaaahhhhh!!! No cliches are allowed on my blog!

Try to catch her in one of "Celtic Origins" shows in the States.. there's just beautiful music and no bikinis :P

I will definitely try to do that!

Anonymous said...

"Obviously, you are acquainted with Brava in some way"

You know, I'm just a big music lover and she's one of my innumerable favorites :D I do have met a few people she's been working with and they had nothing but positive things to say about her as a musician and as a person.

I really think I should start blogging.. No more anonymous messages, just my "right" opinios about - everything :P
--
"if Linda really wants me to focus on her music....like, I mean REALLY focus ONLY on the music, then she wouldn't have bikini pics"

That's true. But as we all are multidimensional, it's quite natural to show those different sides, isn't it? Of course, to be honest, if we think about marketing, she really should be centred upon presenting just the classical or the pop side of her.. Split-personalities don't work in the business that well.
--
"Don't you think it is the nature of sexuality that it captures and dominates our attention???

Sexuality dominating one's attention? I hope not! It's just how people experience and express themselves as sexual beings.. One express oneself more or less..
--
"I personally think that the passion and desire and lure of sexuality is such that it demands a great deal of concentration. That's why we use the term "sexy" in the way that we do. If a person is "sexy" they are stimulating and tend to draw the gazes and attention and concentration of people away from what they are doing...."

Who decides what's "sexy"?
--
Linda Brava is a versatile musician and artist, and you can see that on her MySpace. To me, it's OK as the page presents her as an artist.

So, as long as she doesn't do classical music in a bikini or latex, I'm not going to question her doings.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Anonymous said:
I really think I should start blogging.. No more anonymous messages, just my "right" opinios about - everything :P

I agree that you should definitely start blogging!

Who is this 'mystery man'? Or woman?

Just keep in mind that my blog already gives the right opinions about pretty much everything that matters!