Sometimes I see trends where there are none. I just sat through (and actually paid attention to) the "Starry-eyed Surprise" montage they use as a spacer on VH-1 Classic. Though it's on Classic, they're showing contemporary stars (though I may have seen Steven Tyler in there), so I presume they're advertising for plain vanilla VH-1 (which is what it is, but it beats MTV's bland tofu flavor). The ad opens up with Gwen Stefani sitting awkwardly, as if in a too small school chair (symbolism!) turning up the volume on a ghetto blaster with the biggest scowl on her face. Now I was never a huge fan of the original boy and girl groups like the Tops, the Temps, the Supremes, etc, but when did smiling go so far out of chic? Because the barrage of video clips that followed contained an entire collection of scowling disaffected, and aloof faces. There was one faint Mony Lisa's lazy smile
toward the end, but the bright images flashed by
at such epileptic speeds that all I know was she was a blonde (platinum bleached) laying her head down upon a pillow.
I suppose while my back was turned and I was once again concentrating on not being cool, yet another one of my manners has been co-opted into a trend. Apparently, it's now hip to frown at things and shed your sunny disposition as childish as early as possible. Scowling, frowning, looking contemptuous; that hints towards a deeper understanding of life's mysteries and realities. It means you know more about life than we do, and more than you're letting on. In fact, if we look hard enough into your eyes, we can see some of the weariness life's harsh toll has taken out on you and your poor millions. I am aloof in countenance because I've been there, I've experienced, I've been hurt, I've withdrawn and now I look like this. Nothing can touch me. Fear my wisdom. I scowl because there is nothing to be happy about in life. Look at me and know my incredible grasp of life's subtlety.
And who have they learned it from? Adults, who shuffle down the street scowling at everything that's ever gotten between them and their dreams. They're still kids, and they're still copying anything we put in front of them. Which is odd, because smiling is such a simple thing, and it releases endorphins (yummy endorphins!) and
it's contagious. Why isn't it widespread?