Saturday, January 01, 2005

Sexy Blondes and Brand Loyalty

Can anyone really tell the difference between the fleet of Jessica Simpsons now gracing music and movies today? Of course, I know that there is only one Jessica. But there must be a dozen Jessicas and Mandys and Brittanys and the like running around on television, music, and calendars these days. I’ve lost track, frankly. I was reminded of this phenomena today while at the mall. Walking past Spencer’s I saw a poster of Blond X, then I passed that calendar booth and saw a strikingly similar Blond X squared. A little later I passed the music store and saw Blond X cubed on the cover of a best-selling new album. To me they’re all Barbie. Oh, and of course, she’s a big seller too.

Sex sells in our culture. As a libertarian, that’s fine with me. I like to look at Brittany Spears plastered almost-but-just-not-quite-all-the-way nude self as much as the next guy. (And it works both ways – every woman (and a couple guys) I know has a thing for Brad Pitt.) What is disheartening to me is that these young women mean less to me than a can of Campbell’s Soup – at least with the soup I’m brand loyal. These girls are like a single red Christmas bulb one hangs on the tree. All the bulbs in that box are the same, and it doesn’t matter whether you hand this one here, or that one there. They look identical either place.

Now, don’t mistake me for a feminist apologist or moral puritan. I’m not calling for the world to sing these girls a song or for them to better clothe themselves. Quite the opposite: I’d like to see Brittany do some hardcore porn – I think she’d make a mint. What does intrigue me, though, is how nameless, faceless people can so easily become a celebrity. No gripping personality, no significant talent, no world shaping insight…just a particular look. And what occurs to me is that, in fact, only one sexy blond is famous, and has been for some time. Her name is Barbie. All the rest of them are just wearing the costume, not unlike the faceless person hiding inside a Mickey Mouse character costume at Disney World. So maybe I’m more brand loyal than I thought.

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