Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Boo, Hiss; the American Way!

by Alex Dezen (writer), Living out my exile in Sherman Oaks, November 27, 2007


Though Ashlee Simpson’s 2005 Orange Bowl performance has come and gone, thanks to Youtube, Metacafe, and, of course, Wikipedia, the ire of those 72,000 spectators will be forever immortalized.

Americans boo.

As the sons and daughters of our prodigal democracy—both political and social—it is our God given right to do so.

Naturally, there are many versions of this great, vitriolic song. There is the one you hear at political rallies to disparage the opposition and unify the faithful. Thousands of them ring out like deranged mating calls every time Barry Bonds steps to the plate. There are the even more somber, but hardly less effective, murmur-and-sigh types that usually accompany the presence of a mean boss or dreaded in-law. But more significant than any of these, is the boo of the cheated and dissembled. Though Ashlee Simpson’s 2005 Orange Bowl performance has come and gone, thanks to Youtube, Metacafe, and, of course, Wikipedia, the ire of those 72,000 spectators will be forever immortalized.

I thought it might be time for a trip back down memory lane.

When Ashlee Simpson began her second performance segment on the October 23rd episode of Saturday Night Live in 2004, she had no idea she was about to make pop music history, though, she should have had an inkling. Lip-synching is nothing new to popular performers. Many claim that live singing is impossible to execute when combined with complicated dance numbers.

And what’s a pop star without complicated dance numbers?

For the most part lip-synching is widely accepted as an industry norm. That being said, artists still don’t openly admit they do it because, historically, fans have impugned against it. Two words: Milli Vanilli.

So why is it such a big deal that some ephemeral pop star should get caught with her proverbial pants down?

When Ashlee Simpson blamed her drummer, the backbone of her musical enterprise, for her embarrassing debacle on SNL, she made a fatal error (she later capriciously retracted and named Acid Reflux as the culprit). The only person on that soundstage to blame was Ashlee Simpson; that was unequivocally clear to everyone watching. Even if her drummer had “hit the wrong button,” as Ms Simpson claimed, the very existence of such a button, that can trigger a pre-recorded vocal track during a live show, puts any and all blame for the ensuing mishap squarely on that singer. Don’t kill the messenger, Ashlee. You should have palliated, self-deprecated. You should have just told the truth. It wouldn’t have raised a brow. In the end, you gave us just what we wanted: a reason to boo.

Why must we lie? The truth is always so much easier to remember and explain. If President Clinton had told the truth he would never have been impeached. (Remember, he was impeached for lying to a Grand Jury, not for having an affair.) If Ashlee Simpson had simply told the truth, she may not have faced such vituperation at the 2005 Orange Bowl, and her “vocal malfunction” on SNL (if you can even bring yourself to use such a baseless euphemism) would have been nothing more than an embarrassing blemish on the career of an otherwise successful ventriloquist.

However, let me make something very clear: Ashlee Simpson is not an innocent victim here; she is a fake. But she is a fake among a myriad of them. Lip-synching is a sham, but an accepted one.

That shouldn’t be, you say. We’re being cheated! Then go ahead and fulfill your amendment rights. Sing you troubled beast! (And if you’re not feeling up to it, just make a recording of yourself giving the ol’ American hoot and bring it with you to your next Ashlee Simpson concert. They may even have prefab ones you can download from Itunes.)

About the Writer

Alex Dezen is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Boo, Hiss; the American Way!

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By Venditto on November 28, 2007 at 01:59 am
Y ya gotta hate on Ashlee? WTF? After her nose job and highlights she's now totally hot! AND Milli Vanilli DID win a Grammy (ok, they eventually had to give it back, but they totally won it.) You r obviously a big jerk face!!! But seriously, fun article. Thanks
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By Steven Blake on December 01, 2007 at 02:23 pm
Good Points! And Ashlee blows! The only thing I would say is was clinton impeached? Or was he approved by the house for impeachment and acquitted by the senate? Oh an the Milli Vanilli comment was so uncalled for I loved them!HAHA
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By Alex Dezen on December 01, 2007 at 03:32 pm
From Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law: "Impeachment is the first step in removing an officer from office." "Because impeachment is the first step taken to remove an officer from office, 'impeach' is often used in general contexts to refer to the removal itself, but that is not its specific legal meaning." From "On December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President William J. Clinton, claiming the president had "willfully corrupted and manipulated the judicial process." The Senate trial began on January 14, 1999, and once again arguments focused on the definition of "high crimes and misdemeanors." Falling short of the necessary two-thirds vote on either article of impeachment (Article I, 55 to 45; Article II, 50 to 50), the Senate acquitted President Clinton on February 12, 1999."
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