Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Ain't it the truth
My State of the Gossip is in this week's Portland Mercury. Mercifully, the crummy first draft did not see the light of print, thanks to an eleventh hour chat with Beth Ditto (literally--I called her at 11:00 PM, night before deadline). About 75% of the brilliant things she said couldn't be used because of word count constraints, but I think one of them is worth bringing up here. I asked whether she and Nathan and Hannah ever feel like they have to put up with the Gwen Stefani Effect, wherein the media become so fixated on a dynamic frontlady that they forget there's anybody else in the band. She said they do, to a point, but that this doesn't stop people from clinging to tired old sexist assumptions about artistry and creative control. Meaning, the press may want to take photos of Beth and dress her up, but they still go straight to Nathan when they want to talk gear or guitar tech or music history. It's assumed that as the sole dude in the band, he must be in charge--the calculating, masculine mastermind behind the emotive feminine voice--even though obviously that isn't the way they operate at all. I guess the legacy of Phil Spector is going to be with us for a long time.