Thursday, July 29, 2004

Jim may have found his entire rise to fame completely exploitive, but we can now safely quell the rumor that William Hung has not ended his meteoric rise (and life) with an intentional heroine overdose.

see article here

You know, I can definitely see how see how folks might see William Hung's fame as a bad thing.  But I don't.  And here's why:

Jessica Simpson's sister.

I missed the whole part where Jessica Simpson became famous, but we all know that it's not exactly like Jessica Simpson worked her way up and out of the club scene, paying her dues and performing at humiliating shows at Astroworld for years before she got her lucky break.  She was a pre-packaged deal, a face for magazine covers and album jackets.  Don't mind if she can't dance at all, and she has voice as bland as Kroger brand Vanilla ice-cream.

According to certain factions, we live in a meritocracy.  But it ain't a perfect world, and that's not really how it works in certain realms.  At least in the entertainment business, it's who you know and how you know them.  Hundreds and thousands of bands can tell you: even if you do get a record deal, the chances of you getting the kind of promotion that Jessica Simpson, et al, have enjoyed is nil.  That kind of marketing is based solely on marketing research and not on years of a steady build-up of fans.  But, hey... it's America.  If that's what the record companies want to do... whatever. 

So now, riding on Jessica's coat-tails comes Ashlee Simpson.  Who, you know, is some sort of rocker.  Like Johnny Lydon and shit.  But she is still managed by mom and dad, and she has a TV show.  Never mind she's like 12, doesn't write her own music, and let's face it... she's maybe a good enough singer for a high school production of Annie, Get Your Gun.

Does this mean we should automatically dislike Ashlee?  Nah.  Again, this is America.  If Ashlee Simpson turns your crank, best of luck to you.  But at least recognize her as being as pre-packaged as a Happy Meal.

Then I think:  When Avril Lavigne was announcing Grammy nominations and misprounced David Bowie, shouldn't she have been euthanized just then?  I'm no music snob, but, I mean... holy moley.  This girl is making MILLIONS of dollars, and she's a cardboard prop.  And she can't identify one of the most important pop stars of the past forty years.

So maybe William Hung doesn't know who David Bowie is either, but he knows what he likes.  And, darn it, he at least TRIES to know something about the tunes he likes.  And he was willing to go all out at the AI auditions.   And he took his rejection with grace, which is more than you can say for most of the bozos who pass before the AI tribunal.

So William Hung sucks.  So what?  So does 90% of what comes out in any given year. 

My point is, if Ashlee Simpson is given carte blanche to make millions of dollars with her talentless self, then why can't William Hung?  Because he doesn't have a pretty, talentless sister? 

I'd like to see William Hung rewarded for daring to dream in a cynical world.  He doesn't have parents working around the clock to get him face time with record producers and record execs.  Nope.  Instead he stood in line and patiently waited his turn and gave it his all when the opportunity arose.  How many of us can say we did the same? 

So he's a little goofy and sweetly-naive?  And unsure of what to think, folks want to write their own readings onto the William Hung phenomenon.  You cannot honestly say that you think William is doing this with anything but the best of intentions.  So as long as he gets a big fat check at the end, I'm happy for the man.  I hope he makes a billion dollars.

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