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ISSUE 117 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/14/2003

Media meets demands

By Amanda Swanson
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 14, 2003

There is too much sex in the media. We deal with it every day. So, here’s the question: what is America buying – movies, music or pure, uncensored sex? Who else can we focus on in such a debate other than the trashy, untalented Britney Spears? She has sold more records in four years than Madonna has in 10, and this is obviously due to sex. She can’t sing. True, her beats are rhythmically appealing, and her words are catchy, not that she writes any of them, but her voice is sub-par, if that. Certainly, Britney’s voice is not what brings people to the stores. The poor, sheltered thing doesn’t even realize, or care, that her message to young people is the downfall of a nation. She is so oblivious to the real world that she doesn’t understand why mothers everywhere are disgusted that she exists. “Why are they not going at Christina [Aguilera]?” Spears asked in a recent Newsweek article attacking her for selling sex. Despite Britney’s comment, there are plenty of people going after Christina. After “Dirrty” came out, many people were groaning. The reason the masses still focus on Britney, however, is because sex appeal is all she has. At least Christina can sing. She may not be considered a wholesome performer, but almost every sweet and innocent celebrity these days eventually turns to sex because it sells. I would love to put all the blame on Britney, but much of the blame lies with us, the consumers. Why has LeAnne Rimes traded in her all-American charm for a sexier image? Why has Kelly Clarkson regressed more and more to fit in with the other pop stars in her circle? Why else? It sells. And music is not the only place where this phenomenon is prevalent. As an avid fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I was rather annoyed with the amount of sex in the last few seasons. Buffy and her once-enemy, now-soulful vampire consort, Spike, got it on frequently in episodes that didn’t necessarily call for even the smallest peck on the cheek. Why allow such a thing? To be frank, Buffy’s ratings had been declining for quite some time, and well-written episodes were few and far between, forcing them to make Willow discover her true nature as a lesbian and to give Buffy and Spike as much pillow time as they had the stamina to endure. Why is sex a tool for pop culture survival? Because we buy it. I have many good friends who devour romance novels; I myself flip straight to the “Sex on the Hill” section of the Mess every issue, and anyone who has seen “The Matrix: Reloaded” knows what I mean when I talk about the “orgy” and the “orgasm.” Did the movie need these scenes? No. But the makers certainly thought they were necessary. There isn’t a question of whether or not sex sells. It does. The question is, why? The best answer I can come up with is that we crave it because it’s forbidden. Even Eve displayed that basic human reaction. It is in our very nature to be drawn to violence, sex and moral wrongs simply because they are taboo. Adrenaline pumps through our veins, our stomachs do somersaults, and we go back for more. That doesn’t mean it is impossible to overcome such animalistic, degenerate cravings, but it certainly explains why people keep buying Britney’s albums. I know that, in certain areas of life, I am just as guilty as the rest of the world in giving in to the lure of the scandalous, but it bothers me. It sickens and scares me, and I want to do something about it. One solution is to show genuine interest in the wholesome side of music, movies and all the rest. Do I sometimes find myself reading what many would call smut? Yes. Do I also enjoy classics like “Hamlet” and “Catcher in the Rye?” You bet. The same is true for everyone in almost every example. Britney may sell, but so does Christian Rock. It is in our power to decide what sells better, faster, and longer in the years to come. My direct suggestion to you is this: go out and buy “Finding Nemo.” You won’t be disappointed, and you won’t have to hear Britney’s pitchless gasps and airy vocals while you enjoy it.

Contributing Writer Amanda Swanson is a first year from Detroit Lakes, Minn. She majors in English.

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