Tuesday, April 29, 2008

excuse me while i kiss the sky.

(Joshua Masayoshi Huff)

At the JJ Collective, we like to keep it as high brow as possible. We haven't talked about Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton (though bsto jokingly named Britney Spears the most relevant musician in the world last year), nor have we delved "celebrity sex tape" phenomenon...

until now.

Don't worry, no links or anything--because I don't really care to look at them (and because it's actually more about ideas of the thing than the thing itself)

Supposedly, a company has 11 minutes of 40 year-old footage of what is purported to be Jimi Hendrix having sex with multiple women.

Obviously, I'm not a huge fan of the idea of this being released. I'm not a huge Jimi Hendrix fan, either, but I don't know--the man has passed away (quite some time ago, as well)--it just seems a bit sacrilegious.

It would be overly simplistic to say that we've become too fascinated with sex--the world has always been fascinated by it, it's just that we're more open to talking about it now than at any other point.

On one hand, it's a reproductive thing and a basic part of human life. The craze has to stem from the fact that we don't believe celebrities are "real people" like us--and these sex tapes humanize them. I don't like the argument that "they're celebrities--they give up their right to privacy by being public figures". This is ridiculous.

But, I guess what it comes down to is the fact that I'm arguing with people's psyches. We can't control what intrigues us--we just do. I can't win an argument with someone over their basic rationale.

And, in a sense, if it's getting taped, you have to see the camera--he could have stopped it, I guess. But then the argument that "he may not have known the camera was even there" or "he thought it was going to be seen only by a select group of people" comes into play. Again: privacy.


The most funny thing about the entire thing is that a "Jimi Hendrix expert" was brought in to analyze the tape--and he concluded that the man was not Hendrix because "the man had different nostrils" and "wore more rings than Hendrix would have worn".

The fact that someone could get paid to know this much about a person is incredible. Part of me thinks this man is denying it is Hendrix because he does not want to think that Hendrix could be fallen by such a modern sort of "shame".

But this sort of celebrity worship and intrigue that pays this man's bills, isn't it? How will these tapes change the way people perceive Hendrix? Will it make him relevant to people (the Perez Hilton set) who otherwise have only heard the name Hendrix but otherwise know nothing about the man?


To me, it's this simple: Hendrix was a human. He breathe, he ate, he slept, he traveled. He also happened to be a brilliant guitar player (generations beyond his time), and, for this reason, we care about the mundane things that, collectively, captured and became his existence.

And, because of this gift/talent of being able to play guitar so
prodigiously and so prophetically, all of those things immediately matter to the world. This includes his sex life.

Maybe people watch sex tapes because they want to see how crazy--or how
pediastrian--the private lives of celebrities are. People probably watch sex tapes for the same reason that people watch tmz--because we want to see how these celebrities eat and shop and walk around cities and want to feel validated that our own existences are roughly the same--that, simultaneously, these celebrities are less non-human than we think and that we are perhaps more less-ordinary than own lives lead us to believe. It diminishes them while vaunting us.

I just hope that this Jimi Hendrix "expert" isn't denying the possibility that it is Hendrix doing the deed on the tape because he doesn't want to see Hendrix as anything less than the vaulted god that he obviously sees Hendrix as (otherwise, why would he have chosen to be a Hendrix expert? at the very beginning, at least, it had to be because he idolized Hendrix).

Whether or not this is Hendrix doesn't change the basic fact that he was, in fact, a human (even if his guitar playing suggests otherwise) and that Hendrix ate and slept and breathed and had sex like the rest of mankind has always done, does now and will continue to do indefinitely.

The basic fact is this: we all know he had sex. We all know that everyone, at some point in time, will have sex. Why does being on camera distort what it all actually means? I don't get what being on camera changes. Does it make it any different? What social norm is being broken? Does it change the actual act? Why is it so appalling that this gets caught on camera when we all know we all do exactly the same?