Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ignore the Cover - Read the Book

This started out as a post about Gilles Marini and Dancing With the Stars. After his incredible performance last night I regained my desire for him to win. For a spell I had abandoned him for Lil’ Kim or Melissa.

In considering how to explain what I saw in Gilles I started to think about appearances and beauty.

Yes I think that's a beautiful photograph but so is this ...

There has been a lot of talk on DWTS about Ty, the rodeo performer, and his drive and his work ethic. I admit to being negative toward Ty based on his distasteful profession but I do recognize that he has improved as a dancer. So what? So has Gilles. Neither has any prior dancing experience, both are athletes and they’re about the same age. Both have performed for an audience.

So is Gilles less inspiring than Ty because he’s so attractive? Is his natural grace less worthy? Gilles is dancing with a shoulder injury. Does it hurt less because he’s considered sexy? Or is it that Ty captures the American audience’s need for cheesy schmaltz. A cowboy trumps a foreigner? I find Gilles' back story to be far more interesting than pictures of Ty as a baby cowboy. He was poor, his Dad worked day and night as a baker, Gilles helped out in the family bakery. His Mom is reduced to tears when she recounts her son’s “superb” attitude. In fact Gilles is often brought to tears by his own accomplishments.

In the interest of keeping this as short as I can I’m leaving out the cheerleader and the Olympic princess. Heaven knows I could go on and on about them. And how "we" relate to them ...

Did Susan Boyle become a Youtube sensation because she could sing? Or was it because people saw an “unattractive” woman who could sing? I found the video inspiring because it started out as all reality shows do – mocking and ugly – and ended in praise and standing ovations. What if Susan had opened her mouth and gobble-de-gook came out? I shudder to think of how the audience would have felt righteous in their immediate assessment of her worth.

I think Susan is beautiful because she had the courage to put herself out there when she really wanted to stay home and mourn the loss of her Mum.

That's what shows in this photo ...

... far more than darker hair and tweezed eyebrows.

And then there is the ugliness associated with the latest beauty pageant. There is so much going on within the Miss California “controversy” that one needs GPS to get to the center. The more that happens the more I feel sorry for the silly little girl. She was clearly inarticulate in her assessment of “opposite” marriage. Then she was bamboozled by professional bigots into becoming their spokesmodel. Now she’s being attacked for being a regular teenager who took some naughty pictures. And today she is going to be judged by a disgusting old rich man with the moral fiber of monkey poop. Talk about putting American values on display.

For me it all goes back to way too much mainstream media influence. Everything is a sound byte. A picture is supposed to tell a story. Context is thrown to the wind and thoughtfulness and insight are discouraged at all costs.
Even Oprah – in all her spiritual glory – felt the need to ask Susan Boyle if she was thinking of getting a makeover. And Susan’s response was that she had “tidied” herself up as all women like to do.

I think we all need to tidy ourselves up. Take the time to read the book.

Screw the cover – it’s an illusion.

This ...

... never represented any Miss - or Ms. - that I know.

the photos of Gilles come from people.com
susan's photo is from Oprah.com
Miss CA's photo is from accesshollywood.com


Akelamalu said...

God, that Giles is a beautiful man!

gabrielle said...

I think this quote says it all.
"I'm no model lady. A model's just an imitation of the real thing."
Mae West

Dianne said...

akelamalu - indeed! and I realized in more ways than one

gabrielle - love that quote - Mae is a legend

Sparkling Red said...

Our society seems to be growing more superficial with every year. Now there's makeup etc. for men. It's disheartening.

Mrs. C said...

My opinion remains unchanged. A beauty pageant where one struts like that is no place for a Christian woman. Some of the calls about her being a bit of a hypocrite are uncalled for, though, in light of the photos.

She already *was* for participating. Maybe I'm too judgmental, but that's just how I feel about it. I will say, though, God has forgiven me for much worse things, and His grace is wonderful. Thankfully all my mistakes are not literally played out on the world stage. She is still very young and I imagine has a long life before her to grow with God. :]

Mrs. C said...

PS You are beautiful, too, and a true friend.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm still rooting for Melissa. I do think Ty is more humble than Gilles...but we shall see soon. Susan Boyle was just too awesome and I could just imagine if shit came out of her mouth when she first started singing. Sad but I think true. People judge a book by it's cover way too much in our society and it's very sad. Miss California can kiss my big white fat ass.

Ivanhoe said...

I lost my thought somewhere along the first two pics :o)

I hope Susan wins. She deserves it. And for Ms. California? Don't even get me started on that one. She needs her own brain instead of that set of fake boobs ;o)

Reb said...

Inside every person is a child that played at being a cowboy, Ty is someone that achieved that childhood dream and he has that "aw shucks" manner to go with - or at least that is what he is showing the audience, I've know to many cowboys to take that on faith.

Gilles is a beautiful man, and his enthusiasm and love of life can't be hidden behind an "aw shucks" demeanor. Average people don't like beautiful men and the homophobes of the world will automatically make that assumption when confronted with a beautiful man.

Just as the assumption was made that Susan Boyle couldn't sing because she is not attractive. Even the judges looked appalled that this woman dared to appear on their stage.

Don't know much about Ms California and don't really care! Why is it that girls are still being brought up to desire to win a beauty pageant?

Sorry, I didn't mean to go on and on like this...your posts just bring out the chatty (or verbose) in me I guess ;)

maryt/theteach said...

Dianne, a thoughtful, smart and sympathetic post! I have an award for you at Sepia Scenes blog. :)

Bond said...

I may have missed it, but I have not felt a leaning to Ty over Gilles as you describe: So is Gilles less inspiring than Ty because he’s so attractive? Is his natural grace less worthy? Gilles is dancing with a shoulder injury. Does it hurt less because he’s considered sexy? Or is it that Ty captures the American audience’s need for cheesy schmaltz. A cowboy trumps a foreigner?I think Gilles began in week one with a more graceful 'swagger' and Ty looked like a cowboy trying toavoid the cow pies.

He certainly has improved more so than Gilles, but that does not mean I favor him over my very very very distant cousin Gilles (dang, why was he not Italian!)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a GREAT Post! I haven't watched "Dancing" this year...(Or American Idol, either...I guess I am just sick of all these So Called Reality Competition Shows...) BUT, I think Giles is absolutely stunning in that picture and he sounds quite wonderful as a person from what you say, amd he should be judged on his DANCING, only, in my humble opinion....
As to Susan Boyle....I was so moved by her singing and I think I am the only person in the world who never even noticed her eyebrows---I didn't know what the hell everybody in Blogland was talking about--Complaining about her so called "bushy eyebrows"....
Your description of "Mr. Comb-over" Is PERFECT! Monkey Poop, indeed. I cannot bare him---he is a mean nasty opinionated jerk narcassistic....And Miss California? Well, PITIFUL, all the way around, including the Nude Pictures....And she is a liar, too...So, the hell with all of them..LOL! Am I too opinionated here??

I thank you for your lovely comment on my most recent Post, Diannr....The contrast of the values of all these amazing people that I met there in France and so much of what we are exposed to here, now, on TV, etc....Well, it is quite remarkeable, isn't it?

When looks "win" over everything else...We Are In Trouble.

Sylvia K said...

What a great post, Dianne! We don't have TV at all any more and haven't for some time, so for me, this was catching up on what's happening. I think the statementfrom one of your commentors that "when looks win over everything else, we are in trouble", is about as true as it gets. Unfortunately, we're closer to that than I find comfortable and it is sad.

Dianne said...

sparkling - and plastic surgery is skyrocketing for children!! absurd

mrs c - I am reading this as the news comes on that Trump is allowing her to keep her title, I could care less about that but she is blaming those of us who found her bigotry to be offensive for all her troubles. this girl is a trip as my niece would say. I'd really like to see which hand is her puppet master today. She also claims her nude photos were caused by the "wind" - how priceless is that?
you too are beautiful and a good friend, thank you :)

thom - could my fat white ass join yours!? she can kiss them both. as I told Mrs C above, I'm watching her latest statement right now and my sympathy for the little idiot is very short lived
I don't know if Ty is more humble that Gilles - Gilles often seems overwhelmed by his own good performance and in awe of the audience's reaction

ivanhoe - I had to go back and look at what photos you're referring to. Now, what were you saying? ;)

reb - I love that comments here are usually more interesting that my posts
Have you seen any of those shows about paegants for children? it's so awful, I can't stand to watch
I think you're right about Gilles enthusiasm - Ty, to me, has absolutely no personality - poor guy, I really dislike him lol

mary - thank you for the award :)
I was hoping the post got my points/questions across - beauty and perception and prejudices/judgements made based on them is a complex issue

bond - I can see your relation to Gilles, truly I can!
Gilles struggled in the middle weeks - injury, trying too hard are my assumptions yet his overcoming those struggles didn't garner the same respect as did Ty's improvement. I think that has to do with, in part, the societal assumption that things just come easier for "beautiful" people. I thought Ty made a very insulting comment about Len yet no one picked up on it. And again, I do admit - I just don't like the guy.

oldold lady of the hills - remember when Rosie O went after Donald? I adore her for that :)
I just saw Donald defending Miss CA and hugging and kissing her - it's all so disgusting. I do wonder what his reaction would have been had she been pro gay rights? He's a disgusting bigot on so many levels. I'll never forget when he said his daughter was so beautiful he'd date her if he wasn't her father. Ugh!!!
DWTS isn't like most reality shows - it's snarky at times but mildly so - mostly it's just fun and costumes and lovely dancing. I have never watched a moment of Idol, that crap is awful.

Dianne said...

sylvia - I need my TV - it's the only thing that quiets the voices in my head ;)
I agree that we're far too close to judging all based on exterior, superficial criteria and it is sad

Nessa said...

Yeah, what you said.

Linda said...

I think you are right in that mainstream media spends so much time feeding us "the perfect story" that we have completely lost sight of what reality truly is. Reality is a lot more like the Susan Boyles of this world than they are the Gilles when you get right down to it. Some people are born devastatingly attractive but most of us are born pretty average. However, when someone like Susan has a gift like her voice, she doesn't need the "pretty looks" to go along with them - though it's sad to think that a lot of people seem to think she does.

As far as not judging a book by its cover, did you see the latest "Britain's Got Talent" stunner? THAT boy could sing but you never ever would have expected what came out of his mouth, would you? I love opening a book and finding something totally unexpected between its pages - and I'm sure you do, too!

kenju said...

I like this post! I love looking at Gilles, but I'd like to see Melissa win, as a retribution for what happened to her on national TV. She's a great dancer, too. The best thing about Gilles is his obvious love for his wife and child. He is a role model for all men in many ways, but that is the most telling one.

Cherie said...

I hate it when "good looking" people are good through and through too! LOL So not fair! :) I normally can take some consolation that I use my brain and care for other people because the "beautiful people" are normally insensitive jerks. But then when I'm faced with someone like Gilles (or his female equivalent), I feel like I want to bury myself in a hole. So. Not. Fair! LOLOL

Travis said...

Ty has a natural power and awkwardness that isn't suited to dance, yet he overcame it. Gilles has a natural grace, and that lends itself more to learning these dances.

I don't think either of their achievements is any better or worse than the other. I think they've both done well.

I'm still voting Melissa.

Matt-Man said...

Mizz Cali is HAWT...But stupid turns me off. Cheers Di!!

Hilary said...

I still fail to understand why everyone did pre-judge Susan Boyle. Even if the classic reaction is to assume that her looks (which I don't find particularly unattractive) will determine her level of talent, they've ALL been around these shows long enough to know that's just not how it works. It just never seemed real to me.

Liberality said...

It is disheartening when people are always judging other people--who are we to judge anyone?

Linda Reeder said...

Obviously beauty attracts attention, but it is performance that keeps it.

the walking man said...

When all that is shown is the cover how can you judge by any other criteria?

I don't know the cowboy from the beauty queen, one "foreigner" from another ergo I can't judge a damn thing about anyone. I mean even a rattle snake makes a pretty picture but I don't know what its intent is going to be if we were live and up close. I am of a mind though that it wants to get away from me as much as I want to get away from it. It is hard for me to hate a snake just because it is a snake.

Donald Trump on the other hand has put himself out there for so long and in so many ways his opinions and tactics are easy to judge...whatever adds to the bottom line.

Whatever her name is on the other hand may have tidied herself up for a beauty pageant and all, but her singing just wasn't real coherent, yet those two minutes aren't even the length of an aria sung but that Scottish lass, so I won't judge her either now that the battle for equal rights is finally begun to be well and truly joined.

The California beauty queen made her opinion and thoughts incoherently clear. *shrug* She can go ahead and be the Anita Bryant of another generation, but kiddo don't you get a sense that the tide is finally turning away from the conservatism of the radical right and more towards the middle ground of accommodation for all as much as possible?

That's not to say we of the other side can stop speaking out but it is better to have them of all persuasions at the table when the laws are being written. There can be no backsliding then. Especially for them riding on the back of a bull.

Dianne said...

nessa - that's twice in 24 hours that you made me laugh - you said something over at Thom's that killed me ;)

linda - if you mean the adorable chubby younger boy - yes I did see him

kenju - I have never seen a moment of any of the Bachelor/ette shows - I just don't get it lol
I did read about what happened to Melissa and it was pretty awful - she definitely is resilient

cherie - but you're beautiful so cover the hole and on ya go :)

travis - I guess I feel Gilles' struggle to learn and improve has been down played. yes he has natural grace but Ty had natural strength - I wish Tony was dancing with Gilles, then I'd be so happy and wouldn't that be something!!

matt-man - but she looks so fake - it all looks like it could melt off/away in a good rain ;)

hilary - I think some people watch these shows just so they can have someone to mock -

liberality - I need to remember that for myself, I do judge when I feel someone is doing something wrong - like Ty and his bull riding

linda r - so true

mark - "incoherently clear" - that's a great assesment
I love when you call me kiddo - makes me feel young
are you saying that I'm being a wee bit intolerant? I do tend to get my Irish up when I think something/one is wrong

Daryl said...

Well said!

Do as Dianne says read the book!

And I add: dont just turn the pages, looking at the pix.

Anonymous said...

Sure can Dianne the more the merrier...and those tears that she did during her talk and the choking up....well staged if you ask me. I'm so F'ing proud of her

Raven said...

I don't' follow Dancing... so I don't have an opinion, but your guy has a very kind face to go with the bod... Miss California seems to me to be a hypocritical self-serving whiner who is very good at playing the blame game. God may have whispered in her ear during the pageant, but the devil seems to have taken over since. She didn't lose the because of her opinion, she lost because she lost and now she's playing sore loser/victim and trying to make a martyr of herself. Keith Olbermann points out that the in the windy day photos she didn't know were being taken she's looking right at the camera. Hmmm...

Susan Boyle is a delight on many levels.

Wonderful, thoughtful post as always.

Jackie said...

Damn right, Dianne. Susan has obviously had a lot of attention (and criticism) over here, being Scottish. Actually what also makes me uneasy, as well as the "oh she's so ugly" stuff (SO untrue!), is the criticism she's getting for getting a haircut and all the rest of it. It's like they're wanting to say "now we know you as the ugly bird who can sing, you've got to stay ugly cos that's your gimmick and that's how we're going to market you", and then she has to spend the rest of her life being described as ugly. What one of us wouldn't get a haircut or whatever if those things were said about us, but she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. I hope they just let her be herself, and let her voice do the talking.

SnoopMurph said...

Okay, my computer screen is overheating from those photos of Gilles. You know, it feels like you cannot be TOO beautiful and cannot be TOO ugly in this world-we are so harsh to both.

I enjoyed watching Ty and honestly felt like he really put in a lot of effort, just like the rest of the contestants. Again, I really, really wish that they wouldn't be judged by the viewers, but rather by the judges. I don't think it should be a popularity contest, but I think I am rehashing this point again, so I'll stop! Sorry!

Hope you are feeling okay and how is Mia?? Sending belated Mother's Day hugs out to you.

CG said...

Another really great and insightful post; i loved reading it. Gorgeous man was nice too!

Kay said...

Great post.

As someone who gets judged (many times unfairly) because of my looks I agree with you on all points.

I look at my sisters and I worry... but I have faith that people do really look deeper most of the time...

And yet again, another reason to love the blog world where I can be judged by what I think and feel and not by my glasses and misshapen teeth.