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Leighton Pierce, #1

In a manner now time-honored since the late 1950’s and 1960’s, the mavens of crass commercialism, be they on Madison Avenue or in the music or film biz, are still busy ripping off artists of the avant garde  –  no homage here, and no inclination to pay the laborers in the fields, as usual.   The old 60’s underground was harvested endlessly for what became advertisements, or “psychedelic” sequences in Kubrick or Dennis Hopper films.  More recently American Beauty shamelessly lifted a shot from a film of my friend Nathaniel Dorsky.  And today, detoured by a headline, I spotted the latest Lady Ga Ga and saw that my friend Leighton Pierce has now been so honored.  I would happily make a fat bet that the video-maker had a look at his #1 (see here).  And, as usual, managed to convert the sublime to the utterly crass.

No longer guided by my gonads, I pay little attention to the pop scene, which exists primarily in the service of – or more exactly, the exploitation of – adolescent hormones.   So aside from being vaguely conscious of the name and the occasional headline, I know Lady Ga Ga from Mata Hari not at all.  So when slipping into the cyber-ether of this latest post on the net of her hottest hit album, I got my dose.

So now I know that Lady Ga Ga is essentially a kind of up-date on the aging Madonna, trafficking in you-wanna-fuck-me song and dance.   As to be expected the tempo of our ever so modern times has picked up, and the video-maker has transformed Leighton’s delicate hints of sexuality into a combination of the female reproductive system, nice symmetrical vaginal canal, ovaries, and a sci-fi slit upon which our lady writhes a bit, not pole dancing, but razor-wriggling.   The primitive clitoral removal folks have nothing on us, except in our case the function is to excite and not subdue that old female hot stuff.   And then we slide into the standard song and dance routine, with our dear lady stroking her slot, kind of like, oh, Elvis, Prince, Jim Morrison, and a long list of “shocking” predecessors, including the previously mentioned Catholic slut from Michigan.

My “problem” with all this is its utter corporatization, with millions poured into extracting millions squared from the pockets of zombie teenagers, who in their utterly well-trained ignorance imagine this is something new.  Musically it is a 50 year old retread on its 10th set of rubber, with the side-walls popping hernias from wear.   Ah, but teen-rut music will sell as long as hormones rage, and guided by the scientific studies of Mad Ave, it will sell even better.  Ditto with the constant turn-over in styles, one generation’s long hair morphed to prizing baldness; “natural”  warped into urban primitive-total-tattoo.   I recall in the 60’s reading a book on Russian history and noticing that a mere 100 years earlier, the rebellious of Russia (who did manage to assassinate a Czar) looked pretty much like the hippies all around me.  What goes round, comes round.

Nothing new under….

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4 Comments

  1. Sweet Jesus. She appears to be more obsessed with her own crotch than a mess of candida might be. You may be right about the similarity to L. Pierce, though, I wonder if the, um, artists just accidentally used the same technique, but poorly applied. Whatever the case theirs is horseshit plain and simple.

    In my house I often show Pierce’s videos (and others’)to two of my young kids, ages seven and nine, respectively. They seem to enjoy it, and so confirm my suspicion that one can raise a kid up right. Feed them their veggies and one day they will despise the taste of processed cheese.

  2. What’s terrible is not only the fact that the final result is so bad, but also what happens to the original artwork: anything seen and “liked” (in the sense that one “likes” something on facebook by clicking on that button) becomes not something to savour and analyse but something to recycle.

  3. Actually, I kind of like Ga Ga.

  4. You missed the worst part, which is when later showings and editions of the initial work have to be sold as the things which inspired whatever thing ripped it off. Then there’s the inevitable PBS special full of people who blatantly ripped the person off all saying how great a guy they were. Supposedly John Cassavetes said at the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony for Orson Welles something to the effect of “They’re all pushing each other out of the way to praise this guy but none of them would actually give him the money to make a film.”

    When I was younger the Doane Stewart private middle school really wanted me to go there, so I went for one day to sample it. Herman Melville had gone there and there was a big bust of him in the main hallway. “But,” 13 year old me thought, knowing the shameful anonymity Melville had died in, “while he was alive they hadn’t done shit for him!” Such is the way of the world, the monied and powerful will co-opt the living and dead alike if there’s a profit to be made from it. It happened to Orson Welles, it happened to Herman Melville, it happened to Christ…

    @Todd: I have no children, but I completely agree with your assertion re: the Leighton Pierce films. I’ve tried to make sure my younger siblings all got a balanced exposure to the arts insofar as I was capable of providing it, and they all see right through the Hollywood/Pop bullshit. It’s not predetermined that people all are drawn fly-like to soulless garbage. It takes years of indoctrination.


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