The Ear of the Beholder

For reasons too tedious to contemplate and therefore innumerate, I use MSN to connect to the Internet. As a result, when I long in I get to a horribly inane interface and the MSN homepage. Or maybe it is a “portal.” There is a multitude of clickable items and images, from news to weather to fashion to entertainment to. . . .

Today I happened to spot a line: “Ugliest Bands of All Time.” Which, I admit, is intriguing due to the oddity (but nowadays who can tell: who’d ever even been thinking about anthrax outside of a few metalheads or fans of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” before now?). So I clicked through and found the following list with no explanation:

· “We’re Not Going to Take It”—Twisted Sister

· “Run-Around”—Blues Traveler

· “Pet Sematary”—The Ramones

· “American Girl”—Tom Petty

· “Heaven Can Wait”—Iron Maiden

· “Search and Destroy”—The Stooges

· “No One Likes You”—Scorpions

· “My Best Friend’s Girl”—The Cars

· “Free Bird”—Lynyrd Skynyrd

· “Tearin’ Up My Heart”—’N Sync

What the hell is this all about? Is Tom Petty thought to be uglier when he sings that song? Is Iggy more attractive-post Stooges? Does the list maker have something against Germans? And why isn’t there a picture of Dee Snider’s mug if the whole thing is about profound unattractiveness?

One thing of note is that the list consists wholly of men. Which is not sexist in the way that you might think. I’d argue that with few exceptions, ugly women just don’t make it big in show biz. From Britney to Shania, from Madonna to Jessica, it is all about looks first and pipes second. Which is often audibly unfortunate and visually appropriate. Ugly men abound, which makes me think that there isn’t, perhaps, a whole lot of distance between TV newscasts and the music industry (e.g., can you image a female version of Willard Scott talking about the weather?).

6 thoughts on “The Ear of the Beholder”

  1. That’s really funny. Have to agree with your reaction, gsv…what’s up with the song titles? That being said, it’s another example of how the music industry has become so much more looks-oriented with the prominence of mtv. The fact that “ugly” men outnumber less-than-attractive women in music isn’t really surprising — it’s no different than in film or theater or society in general. Think about Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carey, Bill Murray, and I could go on, paired with beautiful women all the time…and in real life, how many times do you see an unattractive to average-looking man with a gorgeous woman?

  2. opportunities for “average” to “unattractive” women within the music industry are dismal. isn’t it ironic: after all these years, james brown is still right: this is a man’s world.

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