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Authenticity from musicians, actors, athletes, etc...

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by dreunc1542, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    how do you value it?

    Use whatever word you want - authentic, real, genuine - do you prefer to root for an athlete or listen to a musician who you feel is authentic, and why? And what does being authentic or real or genuine mean to you?

    This has come up as a point of discussion a bunch for me recently, and I've ended up basically arguing against myself in different discussions because I'm not 100% sure where I stand on it.

    I've found myself defending the authenticity of people whose work I like against friends who have said their whole persona is a creation. That inevitably turns into both sides of the argument trying to find examples, from their work, from their Twitter feed, wherever, to prove that the person is authentic or not. Whenever I take a step back, I usually end up saying - wait a minute, I don't really care. I enjoy this person's music or work in film and it doesn't really matter to me if they're authentic.

    Also, I don't really think there's any way to know if someone is authentic when we encounter them in such a mediated way.

    And yet, when I'm not taking the time to take a step back from the conversation, it does matter. I would prefer that someone whose work I like is also creating that work from a place of authenticity and not just pandering or putting on a facade. I found myself rooting for Life of Pi to win Best Picture last night, not just because I like the movie, but also because throughout the night Ang Lee seemed like a genuine person. But how do I know that wasn't just him putting that persona on for the night?

    Enough from me, though, what say the denizens of SJ?

    Also, some interesting stuff from Jack White on this subject around the 24 minute mark for a few minutes:
  2. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member


    Even "authenticity" could just be well-coached BS. PR people could be writing most of the interesting Twitter feeds.

    Just entertain me. Be authentic with your friends and family.
  3. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Unless you know them well, how can you begin to gauge their authenticity?
  4. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    I really dislike questions which prompt me to "This is how it used to be."

    There was a brief period in the '60s-'70s when it was considered dishonest not to be the same person at every moment. I'm sorry, but anyone who is exactly the same person with their grandmother as with their significant other suffers from a stunted personality.

    Artists need to be allowed to jump in the deep end of what they're enamored of at the moment. Does that mean they get to lie? No, but as long as they acknowlege "I'm Jack White who's getting a kick out of working with Loretta Lynn," they're being honest. Honesty trumps authenticity, because authenticity can turn into a straitjacket.
  5. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    I really dislike asking questions which you dislike, Ms. tart. So for that, I apologize. :)

    I debated whether to use authenticity or not. I like the use of honesty. The question remains there - how do you determine if they're being honest in their work?
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I really like this question, though I'm not sure you like asking questions which I like, dreunc1542.

    Anyway, my automatic impression of anyone, particularly famous people, is to assume they are disingenuous. It makes for a steely exterior that can be broken when I really get to know someone. But I find that assuming people suck makes it easier to deal with it when they prove you right.

    I never get to know celebrities, though, so I pretty much universally ignore their personas outside of their work. I can't make myself care about celebrity gossip unless it's funny. I don't feel bad for Lindsay Lohan and won't when she dies. I don't think any celebrity death could affect me much aside from the practical loss of, say, Nick Saban. I wouldn't mourn the man. I would mourn Alabama having to find another football coach who inevitably won't be half as good. Once a celebrity has used up his or her value to my life, I cease to care about them. It's why I don't care much about concussions or steroid use. I worry much more about the societal impact of those things than I do about the individual millionaire case studies.

    That all probably makes me a shitty person, and I am fine with that.

    Here's where the authenticity issue comes up most in my world, though: rap lyrics. Does it matter that Rick Ross was a prison guard or Prodigy was a dancer? I really don't think about the biographies of the rappers I'm listening to. In most cases, I don't know them. If Rick Ross can say with command that he was a drug lord, good for him. There are 99 reasons I don't listen to Rick Ross, but the prison guard thing ain't one.
  7. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    I meant to bring up rap in my original post and forgot to. It's one of the places where this discussion comes up the most. I'm not sure I'd like Lamar's "Swimming Pools" as much if I found out he didn't grow up around alcoholics. I'd still enjoy it, but I feel like that personal aspect of it increases my enjoyment.

    For a non-rap musical hypothetical, would Beck's Sea Change still be as good if it later came out he hadn't actually broken up with his fiancee?
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Robert Smith wrote Disintegration while madly in love with his future wife. "Love Song" was an actual love song.
  9. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    I'm not saying that in the case of music it has to come from a place of absolute truth in one's personal life. I'm saying that if it does, and you let people know it does, and then later find out that was disingenuous, the music could lose some of its impact.
  10. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Like whatever music you like, whether it be Dylan or Menudo, whichever of its dozens of lineups you prefer. I'm not going to listen to some group just because it doesn't seek hits and wears its hairshirt. It's about what the ears like.
  11. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I understand why you and others would feel that way. But I don't.

    I don't think that at all gets to dre's point, but it was a fine Doc Holiday impression.
  12. Hey Diaz!

    Hey Diaz! Member

    Not sure if authenticity is required for me to like an athlete/musician/whatever, but it certainly is something that builds goodwill among fans.

    Obviously, social media plays a big role in shaping these perceptions. I used to think Chad Johnson was a "look at me" narcissistic douchebag but from following him on Twitter, he seems like an insecure guy with a big heart and a ton of free time.
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