Monday, May 4, 2009

Regarding The Jonas Brothers

Joe Jonas displays his package while brothers Kevin and Nick play with their instruments in a way that would make even Freud blush.

I am angry that I am writing about The Jonas Brothers on this blog.

I am angry because their existence as a "musicians" does not deserve recognition. 'N Sync was a manufactured "band," but they also made adult pop songs (if aimed at teens), several of its members displayed exceptional vocal talent (Timberlake especially, of course) and their existence in pop canon can be justified. At the time, as a teenager listening to late 90's "socially conscious" hip-hop, I hated 'N Sync. As a thoughtful adult today, their legitimacy is obvious.

But the Jonas Brothers are worse, a cultural sin of much greater, more significant magnitude. If 'N Sync was a punk rocker's Abu Ghraib then The Jonas Brothers are the punk rocker's Auschwitz. They were bred in the Corporate Disney Clone Vats. Their music is unadult and yet mainstream media outlets cover them as though they were U2. They represent some of the worst hypocrisy of our society.

The subtext of The Jonas Brothers is an American morality horror. They were child performers at single-digit ages, indicating the tradition of greedy parents who use their children to obtain a fortune and vindicate their own professional failures in adult life. The Jonas Brothers wear purity rings, an ignorant contrivance of the same backwards, healthy sexual attitude-damning, radical evangelical culture that champions Purity Balls, a twisted ceremony where a father asserts his dominion over a daughter's virginity and sexual freedom until a time of his choosing. The life of a Jonas Brother is never publicly presented to their fans as anything other than a life of material wealth and glamor. (And in fact, they reportedly made $62 million dollars in 2008.) And nothing about The Jonas Brothers suggests the rich ethnic diversity of America.

The Jonas Brothers are a flagship weapon in the culture wars. They feign conservative social values while romping around the bizarre hyper-sexual Disney meta-verse where young kids dress like Madonna and Mick Jagger and live the rock n' roll lifestyle, promising to America's young, malleable minds a life of glamor and cool that can never be obtained, while diverting these child automatons from healthy creative engagement, imaginative play, and intelligent thought.

(This is the same sexual dynamic that occurs when Ann Coulter flashes leg while decrying sexual promiscuity, or when Fox News is so horrified at a "disgusting" sexual photo or video clip that they decide to show it to you over, and over, and over.)

Little girls' hands innocently reach toward the Jonas Brothers' crotches.

The ubiquity of the Jonas Brothers is so enormous that parents are left with little choice but to submit or ostracise their child. The Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana and The Cheetah Girls (The Pussycat Dolls for tweens) are the only mainstream option for preteens to participate in rock culture and though I am focusing on the way this is damaging to young girls, let it be said that Disney's hyper-sexed musical offerings and the confusing sexual message they carry are no less dangerous to young boys.

Disney is selling sex to kids, pretending they're not, and making a fortune while forcing their audience into cultural bankruptcy. South Park covered it quite well:

When I saw South Park's dressing-down of The Jonas Brothers I did not for a minute believe that the Jonas Brothers sprayed their fans with white foam canons. I just assumed that was a hyperbolic joke of sorts, an outrageous caricature.

Oh, no. It is quite real:

My mind reels trying to accept that as reality. It is Idiocracy made true, something that should come from the sick and twisted minds of Warren Ellis or Grant Morrison and presented in fiction, not a factual reality.

After subtly massaging the budding sexual urges of thousands of pre-teen worshipers who have worked themselves into a lusty frenzy, The Jonas Brothers ejaculate their horrid metaphor into the gaping maws of their Hannah Montana harem who have now completed their souls, having received the warm, foamy jism of their young male slavemasters.

And the hyper-conservative adults who were outraged -- outraged! -- that the word "SEX" might have appeared for a half-second in The Lion King look on with glowing approval and happily shell-out hundreds of dollars to provide their kids with "wholesome" entertainment. At it's core this is no less sexual or subversive than commercial hip-hop, but you know, it's not... (whispers) black.

The problem is not that The Jonas Brothers are making their young fans sexually aware; I would praise The Rolling Stones for accomplishing the same feat. (And doing so with important music that displayed exceptional proficiency and intelligence.)

Quite the contrary; teenage life is sexual emergence and rock music often times is sex. The problem is that The Jonas Brothers conceal sexuality under the guise of sex-free fun.

When the Rolling Stones came to prominence (when the music mattered) there was no purity pretense to their promiscuous metaphors. They may have been lyrically subtle as to pass censorship, but there was no question as to what Mick Jagger was about. The Rolling Stones (and most other, real rock bands) confronted sexuality with honesty, a moral trait that supercedes any kind of sexual restraint. They took a part in a sexual revolution that has led to a liberation and better understanding of our sexual nature.

The Jonas Brothers are lighting sexual fires with ignorant sparks, hypocritically extinguishing the flames of knowledge, the wealth of understanding we have about ourselves as sexual beings. The 'Stones never once sold a lie. The Jonas Brothers have sold their fans the world -- their fans' world, their bodies, their minds, their souls. And Disney's young stars have made a promise that no purity ring can keep.

Original here

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