9.28.2014

No More Booty Songs + Moms' Night Out



My recent piece for the Huffington Post, No More Booty Songs, Please, has made waves. So many of you have voiced your support of my message, that these days, it's "much more noticeable to be a class act than a trash act".

Of course there is an opposing side to every argument, but I do know that thousands, if not millions of men and women are fed up with the increasingly lowered bar in our artistic culture. Popular music in particular has taken a backlash recently. Sure there are millions of people who have viewed Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez's new videos, but the underground movement of people who are fed-up with their shock-tactic vulgarity are making their voice heard.

Here's the thing: I'm not opposed to hip-hop music or dance. In fact, I think that hip-hop is a form of modern poetry. And hip-hop dancing is a technically challenging art that actually requires talent. What doesn't require talent is simply shaking your behind in front of a camera for 5 minutes while wearing practically nothing.

In my Huffington Post article I ask the question: what on earth has happened to pop music? Please watch this week's video to see a further discussion on this subject.

Moms' Night Out
All is not lost, however. There are so many wonderful artists out there- artists with integrity who produce quality work. Earlier this month on the plane ride from LA to New York, I watched a film called, Moms' Night Out, that had me shaking in my seat with laughter from nearly start to finish (which is quite embarrassing when you're on a plane).

So how on earth does a hilarious film like Moms' Night Out get such dire reviews, yet a film like Neighbors (remember the film I walked out on?) garner stellar reviews (It was called the comedy of the year!)? Hear my theory in this week's video.

If you are unable to watch the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel (and subscribe!) at www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur


Upcoming Events
Southern California readers: come meet me at one of my upcoming book signings:
October 8, 2014 Pages A Bookstore, Manhattan Beach, CA presentation, Q&A + book signing 7pm
October 28, 2014 DIESEL bookstore, Brentwood, CA Presentation, Q&A + book signing 7pm
November 2, 2014 Laguna Beach Books Presentation, Q&A + signing 4pm
(more venues and dates to be announced)

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Listen to classical music while you make breakfast this week. It will start off your day in a deliciously elegant way. You'll find yourself wanting to listen to it more and more.

Comment of the Week
Mimimanderly writes:
A lot of people resist the idea that you can have ten items in your wardrobe. I am currently reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series (Yes, I AM a grown-up. Actually, it is not "written down" as books for young people today usually are, and it is quite informative about how people really lived in pioneer days. If you are interested in such a subject, I totally recommend them.) People in those days may have had a total of three dresses: one for working at home, one for day wear, and one for special. When one of them wore out, it was replaced. No, not by going to a store, but by sewing it yourself. Puts things in perspective, no? This series has given me an appreciation of all the modern conveniences that we have come to take for granted. It also has stirred in me a profound admiration for the spirit that once infused people like the pioneers -- a complete self-sufficiency that we have left by the wayside.

Artistic Recommendations
Coldplay's latest album, Ghost Stories, is incredible. I can't stop listening to it. Haunting, electrifying and meaningful... if you're a Coldplay fan like me, you must check out this beautiful album (I love every song!).


This week I would love to know...

What are your thoughts on the state of popular culture? Do you have any predictions of where it's all going? What say do we have in raising the standards in our society? Have you seen Moms' Night Out? Do you have any quality music to recommend?

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26 comments:

Joy said...

I couldn't agree more! When my husband and I are looking at movies, trying to decide what to watch, we generally go against what the critics say. If they say it's terrible, we figure it will be at least good, and more in line with our values. When you talked about walking out of Neighbors, I commented on how we had walked out of The Hangover. What was so frustrating about that is that it wasn't a movie we would typically choose, but so many of our seemingly-like-minded friends had recommended it!

Anyway, this afternoon, I am planning to go see The Hundred-Foot Journey with my husband. Looks like a blend of some of my favorite things -- Indian food, France, AND rated PG so probably no vulgarity! I hope it's as good as it looks! :-)

Rose said...

Bravo Jennifer! Bravo! I haven't seen JLo's video although I have seen the other, I will pop over to your Huff Post article.

In our household we are tired of popular culture. As well as the children there are the elderly to consider, my 88 year old mother is not interested in booty songs or reality shows. As an elderly lady she is experienced in life and she remembers well the glory days of 40s & 50s movies.

We have taken to watching entire series of DVDs. In the summer it was "All Creatures Great and Small", this winter it has been "The West Wing". Both are enthralling, entertaining, brilliantly acted and leave you hungering for more.

Thanks for the tip on Coldplay -- I love them.

Madeleine Lawrence said...

Oh, Jennifer, this topic causes me to despair! I have a 14 year old daughter, and most kids her age don't see anything wrong with those videos, they are so used to vulgarity.

This is disturbing because of course these are not the values we have promoted in the home. I know if I persist in demonstrating my values and putting the boundaries in place all will be well in the long run, but I cannot help feeling angry that there is nothing we can do to completely prevent our kids seeing this stuff - short of locking them up with no technology.

I try to show my kids your video each week, and put other positive role models in front of them. They have also both been given books on etiquette. I know for sure that these images were not so prolific when I was growing up, nor were there thousands of images of starving models for girls to look at and try to emulate. It is a challenge, for sure!

Madeleine.x

mimimanderly said...

It seems that American culture as a whole has set the bar of standards too low to limbo under. You can see it with the movies and tv shows that neither challenge the mind nor engage the heart. As you pointed out, you can see it in the music. They appeal to the baser instincts in human nature rather than our higher selves. But it goes beyond the entertainment industry. People settle for gigantic portions of processed food rather than real, nourishing food. They fill their closets with clothes made cheaply in third world countries by children instead of having fewer clothes of superior quality. Our society has become geared toward the lowest common denominator.



Annette Robinson said...

You have wisdom beyond your years! I so appreciate your stepping up to the plate and standing up for what is right!!

katooshie said...

Jennifer,
THANK YOU for speaking up about this very important topic. We are so proud of you for spearheading this movement in our society. Your voice (which is really our collective voice) is so sorely needed in a culture that is literally falling into the booty trash. We have all had enough of this crass vulgarity that is invading our culture, and slowly we are becoming acclimatized and desensitized to it. Keep speaking up, writing articles, and informing us about what's going on. We will stand with you, comment on the Facebook pages of artists who cross the line, and maybe we can slowly turn the TItanic around and head back to safer waters. WIth respect and admiration, Katooshie

Michelle The Heart Mom Chronicles said...

Hi Jennifer, I have been a fan of your blog from way long ago and have enjoyed your book thoroughly and look forward to your next. I am a mother of four children, two boys, two girls; I also could not agree with you more about pop culture. I try to follow the principle found in the book of Psalms 119:12 that says: "Turn my eyes away from looking at what is worthless." This means being very selective in our choice of entertainment. For example, I choose not to watch rated R movies and other questionable PG 13 films. From my study of the bible I have come to understand that these are a sign of the times and that things will only go from bad to worse as is so obvious by the news and state of the world today. The bible says that the "whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19) and this includes it's pop culture. You are wise to be selective in your choice of entertainment and not just see take in whatever the system churns out. Instead, the bible admonishes us: "Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well-spoken-of, whatever things are virtuous, and whatever things are praiseworthy, continue considering these things."(Philipians 4:8) These are the principles I try to instill in my children. Yes, it is hard because we are bombarded by trash, but just like a piece of fruit that is rottening, we can choose to discard the whole thing, eat it all as is, or a more reasonable approach would be to cut off/out the rotten part and enjoy the good. Much love to you and your family. I invite you to visit jw.org for more info.

Busy Pottering said...

Thank you so much Jennifer. I have just googled both videos and I'm agog. I despair that the bar has been lowered so far. It's such a shame that those two talented ladies are so desperate for the next rush of attention and applause and cash that they have to shake their bottoms like that! Ironically it's not sexy. What's sexy if building anticipation and mystery, subtlety....building respect for the talent....
I feel for all the young girls who are left feeling that their owns bodies are not up to that standard of artificial air-brushed, tanned perfection.
Please continue with the message Jennifer, you will always have my support.

CAM said...

I love "Mom's Night Out"! It was so refreshing to see a clean, classy, funny, heart-warming film. My husband watched it with me and he laughed as hard as I did! Love your blog! Keep encouraging others to set the bar high!

Evaline said...

Hi Jennifer,
I am a liberal minded artistic and art-loving woman with very broad musical tastes. I watched a bit of both videos you mention and I was surprised and disappointed. But as you say, there are so many wonderful artists out there. I would love to hear recommendations from your followers re. Music or literature or others art forms that are positive, enjoyable but of a high artistic standard. A book I can recommend is by Tom Rachman about the reporters and editors of an English language newsparer in Rome. Here is a link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Imperfectionists-Random-Readers-Circle/dp/0385343671

Rayna St. Pierre said...

Gentle souls appreciate a more gentle sense of humor, and it doesn't take bottom-of-the barrel manufactured humor to make us smile and laugh. Thank you, Jennifer, for shining a light on this issue, and let's keep on supporting artists (filmmakers included!) who present viable and appealing alternatives to the mainstream junk!

gruszka w kompot said...

Hi Jennifer,
I totally agree with you. The point is that we should support artists not products. That is why I must mention Janelle MonĂ¡e – she is elegant, classy, intelligent and beautiful - and even her booty song is so ;)

Sarah said...

I really love your blog and look forward to your posts every week. Unlike your other readers, however, I wish there were fewer posts where you rant about how crass popular culture is. I come to this blog because I want to learn how to elevate my own life and enjoy simple pleasures and get a new perspective. But trying to police popular culture and expressing dismay over trashy shows and videos seems to miss the point. I'm not at all surprised or shocked by videos like these (I also don't go out of my way to watch them). I'm more disappointed by much worse things you can also find for free on the internet (you know what I'm talking about), which I'm sure young boys and girls find when they start googling and getting curious about the opposite sex. I'll keep coming back to this blog, because I know you have lots of great ideas to share. But I thought I'd point out that not all your readers may be cheering you on during these videos.

cathy carron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cathy carron said...

Bravo Jennifer - the coarsening of our culture and society has got to stop....at the very least it's tiresome and boring....this 'booty' entertainment is also ridiculous on some level and rather mindless....agreed - we must support artists who have more to offer our souls!

LadyFin said...

I don't think that standards have been lowered, but I do think that what people look to for entertainment has changed.

In the past I think that entertainment reflected the standards that were ideal in society. While a result of this from many was to mentor and look up to these personalities, many found that the standard presented was not attainable and led to feelings of guilt and a lower self worth. Also when celebrities were exposed for not living up to this standard in real life it was very shocking.

Present day things have completely swung to the other side. Celebrity scandals have evolved into entertainment to the point that they are now manufactured for profit. Enter reality television. This sort of entertainment makes people feel good about themselves because as chaotic as their life may be, they are not "that messed up".

Why this swing is such a disservice to our younger generations is because all we provide them with is shock. So much so they are not shocked anymore. Seeing our youth not shocked by such vulgarity tends to upset older generations because we think that they see this low standard as normal. I'm not sure they see it as normal, but more like that's all they have ever seen!

In our family, what's real and represents our family's values and standards is what happens when the television goes off. In today's times, it is the moments when you block out the constant stream of messaging that the opportunity to teach, inspire, and dream happens.

I have recently discovered the trend for tweens and teens to take a "screen break" where they don't blog, tweet, post. They take a break. When our children are giving themselves "screen breaks" from feelings of social media burnout, what does that tell us?

D. said...

Thank you for being a voice of reason in the public domain. I read your article last week, and I felt so grateful for it. You 'fight the good fight' elegantly and gently.

Also, I loved the mention of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books too- I have always been a huge fan.

Susan Athanasakou said...

I'm with you on this Jennifer, younger people may just laugh at us when we "older" ones complain about the vulgarity of some music videos....it has nothing to do with age.
It has to do with self-respect.
It seems a lot of people don't have any!

Carisa Montooth said...

I agree with you on this topic completely. I think people are desensitized to the vulgarity and since they don't see anyone else objecting they just go along. I want my daughter to see people in the media behaving in ways that inspire and uplift her! For the time being I am able to closely curate what she is exposed to, but she will eventually be old enough to start paying attention to the things her friends like. I hope her upbringing will influence her taste strongly enough to allow her to recognize vulgarity when she sees it. I also hope we can instill her with such a sense of herself that she doesn't feel the need to be swept along into ugliness just because "everyone else is doing it." Thanks for shining a light and showing such beautiful and practical examples of inspired and passionate living!

Ashley Diaz said...

Hi Jennifer, this morning I attended a teacher's meeting (I am a piano teacher:) and one of the teachers said something that really stuck with me- We need to be influencing our children in such a way that when they are older, they will pay for tickets to go see great artists perform. There is culture and class out there, and we need to support it! Often, symphonies present children series which are specially programmed to introduce children to the lifelong pleasures of music.

We listen to classical music every morning during breakfast (after NPR news, of course:) and it does start our day in an elegant way. My three year old daughter's face lights up when she recognizes themes!

princessscout said...

I recently read an article in the Atlantic that our sense of humor changes as we age. Perhaps the vast of majority of readers of this blog (myself included) are 30 or older and appreciate a different kind of humor. Here is the link for the article: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/09/our-sense-of-humor-changes-as-we-age/380954/

Caley said...

Thank you Jennifer! I wholeheartedly agree that this dumbed-down and classless form of entertainment needs to stop, and that the only way society will get there is if we express our distaste for it and support better alternatives. Artists need to know that this is not what their fans want to see. They are talented in their own right, and it would be nice if they did not devalue themselves for the sake of rating highest on what's currently "trending". There is simply no need for it.

Contrary to what Sarah had commented with earlier, I do believe that something needs to be said. I do not view your videos as "rants" or as being negative in the slightest. I see them as speaking out and as a call to action for our society to step up its game. Sadly, this sort of thing is so commonplace that we have been desensitized to it, especially the younger generations who truly have only ever been exposed to a constantly lowered standard. Unless we start expressing what we do want with where we spend our time and money, as well as what we do not want with polite dialogue, this sort of crass and low-talent form of entertainment is going to continue to be churned out by producers and artists alike. Although one form of action may be perceived as being less positive than the other (which I think may have been Sarah's main concern), I feel both are necessary to have our voices heard over the incessant "likes" and retweets of this sort of thing in our digital world. It's far too easy for people to click the share and like buttons on this sort of trash. As a result we are bombarded with it and the world thinks this is what we want to see. Unless someone actually speaks out as you have, how are we going to compete with a high-quality response to the dreck on social media? How else will we get the message out unless we say something that can be shared and liked as well? By all means, do not support this sort of thing, but certainly do not ignore it. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”

On a lighter note, I did come across a remake of the booty song in question, and although the underlying message is the same (with cleaned up lyrics), it goes to show you how a different perspective and use of actual talent can turn something so horrid into something rather enjoyable. These people do amazing and classic remakes of pop songs, and it is delicious! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez-apj-Od1I&index=1&list=UUORIeT1hk6tYBuntEXsguLg

Gracie said...

Don't know what a booty song is and pretty sure I don't want to. Yes there are fewer and fewer role models out there for our children. I am finished raising 4 and my biggest disappointment was the bad adult role models at school. There are some great teachers out there, but like any profession, there are some horrific ones too. Some of the required reading in "honors" english would have been considered porn and grounds for firing in the work place. Had to remove mine from a class because the school refused to give him an alternative reading list. It is hard to stand alone.
Happier subject, new movie coming out Oct 3 looks really good. "The Good Lie" true story check out the trailer.

MicheleStitches said...

Poise. Etiquette. Class. Sadly, these are all character-traits that are being lost to society. It grieves me so for my children. Thanks for taking a stand! I know there are lots of things that weren't so great about "the good ol' days," but sometimes our family takes refuge and watch the real old shows like "Andy Griffith" and "Leave It to Beaver" on Netflix just to get a break from all the harsh crass-ness that is common in modern entertainment.

PS My piano-playing daughter really wants to know what is the name/composer of the song played at the end of your video during the credits.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful comments. I'm so happy to see that the majority of us are on the same page here. Some people question or complain my choosing to bring these topics up. A few people have said they wish I stuck solely to topics about style, but I cannot, in good conscience, do that. I am blessed with this platform to share my opinions and if we don't talk about these things, they will only spiral out of control. I'm grateful for this community of people with values and integrity who can come together to discuss solution. Thank YOU. Jennifer x

Linda Elliott said...

Thanks for recommending Coldplay. I'm loving Magic on their new CD and the Parachute CD! Love the lyrics, acoustic guitar and voice! You might like Gavin DeGraw's CD Free. Beautiful lyrics, guitar and piano! One of my favorites.

 
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