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February 18, 2007

The Music Post

Administrative note: it’s very possible that I’ve gone completely out of control with this whole "long introduction" thing. This post started off as a precursor to a story about the Big Sur Marathon, then took on a life of its own. So the Big Sur post will wait yet another day.

Not only that, but I actually had a couple of other “intro” items that I never got around to mentioning. My thought process is like a balloon that has been inflated and then released before it is tied – flying all over the place, changing directions at random, and difficult to follow until it exhausts itself and spirals downward onto the floor. Sometimes I just marvel at my own lack of direction or focus.

Anyway, once I finally settled down, I decided to leave this as a stand-alone post, rather than subject anyone to 3000 words all in one sitting. You can thank me later.

And if you're checking here for my reaction to recent news about a certain former pop princess: I have officially lost all hope. After this news, I'm now designating February 17, 2007 as the day Britney's recovery efforts crossed the point of no return. I simply can't hold out hope anymore, so I'm done with her. She broke my heart - and she's dead to me now. She's my Fredo Corleone.

But enough wallowing - it's time for the "post that wasn't meant to be it's own post". Don't say I didn't warn you.


OK, I’m back in the saddle. More accurately, I’m back on the laptop, but that phrase doesn’t have quite the same swagger to it. Last week was a tough one, but I guess one sure sign that you’re still alive is when you get the feeling that life is passing you by – which is exactly what I’ve been feeling over the past few days. I need to catch up on a few pressing concerns before we get to the real post.

First, I’m somewhat dumbfounded by Sports Illustrated’s decision to put Beyonce on the cover of its swimsuit issue. Even if you can set aside the crazily contrived “music issue” theme that ostensibly justifies the decision, think for a minute of the other models. Can you imagine their response?

Before you answer, consider this: most of these girls are 20-something year-olds who have scraped and clawed their way for ten years or more through the world of professional modeling, habitually starving themselves and otherwise trashing their bodies with cigarettes or hardcore drugs to stay thin. Their sense of body image is permanently distorted, and they’ve undergone plastic surgery and/or developed eating disorders from their ongoing desperation to be sexy and glamorous. It’s not an understatement to say their ambition frequently causes them great physical and emotional suffering.

Finally they’ve had their big break in becoming an SI model - but they know that the majority of those girls are tossed to the curb in 2 or 3 years, with a new crop of hotties ready to take their place. They have a very limited time frame to gain enough name (and face/body) recognition to continue a lucrative career after the SI gig is up, otherwise they’ll have to fight their way out of the trenches all over again. The easiest way get that recognition is to be selected for the cover. Every single model knows this – so can you picture how contentious and catty the situation gets in the weeks leading up to publication?

Now imagine that after weeks and months of these girls climbing all over each other and nearly killing themselves to rise above the crowd, an editor sits them down and tells them that the cover model is … a pop music singer who is already rich and famous. Do you think there weren’t some tables knocked over or chairs thrown through windows after that announcement? (Granted, it might have taken three or four of them combined to knock over a table or throw a chair, but you get the idea.)

Think of it like a championship track meet: after making it through the preliminary rounds, quarterfinals and semifinals, the remaining 10 sprinters are preparing for the 100-meter final, when the meet director comes over and tells them they’ve decided to award the title to Donald Trump - because he’s very well known, and more people might tune in to watch if he’s involved. Would anyone be shocked if that director got an immediate beatdown from the runners? And would anyone think it wasn't justified?

There’s no question that Beyonce moves the needle when it comes to popular interest, and will certainly help SI sell a few extra issues. In fact, the trickle-down effect of her stardom is mind-boggling, as I found out first hand last week.

The day that Beyonce was announced as the cover model, I received almost three times as many hits to this blog than I usually do. Almost all of the extra hits were from Google searches with the word “Beyonce”. (Additionally, I realized just how many times I’ve written about Beyonce here. Um ... wow. Maybe my wife had a point when she brought this to my attention several months ago.) Many of the Google hits were image searches, which led me to conclude that the secret to gaining high Internet traffic may be much simpler than I realized.

I’ve always thought that readers are drawn to various blogs by thought-provoking content and high-quality writing; it turns out that all I really need to do is post a couple of Beyonce pictures. If doing so generates a lot of hits, and increases the number of people coming through my cyber door, I figure I'd be foolish not to take advantage and try snaring some new readers.

Anyway, it’s not like I’m completely going against form here. I mean … I write about musicians from time to time, right? If Sports Illustrated can have a music issue, I see no reason why Running and Rambling can’t have a music post.

So that’s the post you’re reading today. And Beyonce is my featured model. In the spirit of pandering to the masses, I’m giving the people what they want. If your sensibilities are offended, I suppose you can send me a nasty letter to the editor or cancel your subscription to my blog … or better yet, just check back here later this week, when I’ll have a more substantive post for you (that is, as substantive as they ever get around here).

Finally, to anyone who has stumbled across my blog while searching for Beyonce: welcome to Running and Rambling. Take a look around, and stay as long as you like. Enjoy the Beyonce pictures. Then feel free to return anytime, and read my writings about running or triathlon training, or whatever crazy notion crosses my mind. Who knows, some of them might actually be interesting.


Andrew 2/18/07, 9:01 PM  

You know, when I heard that SI had put Beyonce on its cover, you were the first person I thought of. This probably boosts your wife's position on the matter. Sorry. (ha ha!)

Hope your running is going good.

Megan 2/18/07, 9:06 PM  

I, too, have quietly mourned BS, shaken my head in disbelief at the behaviors of such an ill-advised sad girl, and have briefly posted about it (hot mess, I believe I called her). Yeah...not so sure what the Beyonce SI hype is about and why it made CNN news, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have her on my IPod.

Keep that secret.

Journey to a Centum 2/18/07, 10:23 PM  

What? You don't think BS is hot with her new doo?

You are the MAN Donald! Toss Britney to the curb and jump on the Beyonce train!

Darrell 2/18/07, 10:37 PM  

She's dead to me - LOL, I really like that figure of speech. I guess the bigger question is why is this really news, entertaiment yes, news no.

I think I'll try posting some pictures of Beyonce over at my place.

Taryn 2/19/07, 2:59 AM  

You can't give up on Britney! She's just now getting interesting! Somewhere in the blogs I read her text after rehab was something like - "u said i had 2 go, didnt say how long. c u at d club".

Must love it!

Cliff 2/19/07, 6:29 AM  

Not only did u put Beyounce on your blog but u also put Britney. Dang, now u will get twice as many visitors now.

Katie 2/19/07, 7:11 AM  

You crack me up!

Now, I know the secret to get more peeps to my blog...post some Beyonce. Thanks for the tip!

Annette 2/19/07, 9:50 AM  

Who would've thought that Beyonce on the cover of SI could cause so much controversey among the anorexic? I hadn't even thought about it. But, now that you've got me thinking about it,I appreciate SI putting a more healthy-looking woman on the cover, instead of a starved druggie. But, if you really want my opinion. . . . why does SI need a swimsuit edition? Modeling swimsuits. . . . NOT a sport!

angie's pink fuzzy 2/19/07, 11:24 AM  

i love it

'specially the parts about the anorexics scrambling to the top, and how to drive up hits to your blog :)

you should write a book: how to make it big in the blog world, regardless of your content

Jeremy 2/20/07, 8:11 AM  

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by my blog. For the record...the 3:34:39 was 4:39 extra and not 21 seconds under! Looks like you've got some pretty awesome races on tap in '07. Looking forward to following along your journey.

Anne 2/20/07, 12:30 PM  

I know someone who tours with Beyonce and it's quite clear from what he describes that there's quite a bit of strategic posing and airbrushing going on with her SI spread. This also confirms she's overexposed. :-)

olga 2/20/07, 2:09 PM  

I wonder if you have any sites attached to your blog to get paid for hits...and if not, now is the time to do that.
Don't forget your old love Britney and her shaved head too. I wasn't following the news, so wonder what's it all about, and you'd be my only source:)

robtherunner 2/20/07, 5:31 PM  

Dude, this is the reason I love you man (pretend I am really drunk and sentimental when I say this to you).

Mike 2/20/07, 10:00 PM  

You damn right my sensibilities are offended...

Only TWO pictures!?! ;-)

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