Sunday, February 8, 2009

Something Old Something New: When Old Broads Attack

"an older version of me/is she perverted like me..."--Alanis Morrisette

It's obviously the Age of the Fading Stars Lashing Out. First, Aretha attacks Beyonce. Now Etta James attacks Beyonce. Then, out of nowhere, Faye Dunaway creeps out of her cameo crypt to attack, of all people, Hilary Duff. It all looks so vicious of the old broads, and yet, Beyonce and yes, even Hilary Duff owe a debt of gratitude to these women regardless of their hater behavior towards them. Plus, in each instance, the old chick makes a great point. Utilizing The 48 Laws of Power, we can determine a winner in each of these instances. Let's explore...

Aretha Vs. Beyonce

Winner: Beyonce, Young Broad

Law Utilized: Law #4: Always Say Less Than Necessary and Law #7: Get Others To Do The Work For You, But Always Take The Credit

Aretha, seething because of a perceived slight of B's--introducing Tina Turner at the Grammys as "The Queen"--tossed a comment into the ring about the possibility of her having "stepped on the toes of" Sasha Fierce and accused her of a "cheap shot for controversy". Typically, this would be an easy win for Aretha at the hands of Law of Power #1: Never Outshine the Master. But, a) Beyonce has become a "master" in her own right--check Rhianna's rise, b) everyone's aware of Beyonce's overt and childlike obsession with Tina Turner, and c) Beyonce is notoriously non-confrontational. Mathew Knowles, Beyonce's father/manager/mouthpiece, released a response statement that made Aretha look absolutely ridiculous for what was only Beyonce's honor and respect of her personal idol. By remaining mum and letting her father do the speaking for her (as usual), Beyonce won this round hands-down against Re-Re.

Etta Vs. Beyonce

Winner: Etta, Old Broad

Law Utilized: Law #9: Win Through Your Actions, Never Through Argument

Many moons ago, when Beyonce was first cast to play young Etta James in Cadillac Records, Etta unapologetically voiced her veiled disapproval of the casting choice. And despite Beyonce's insinuations during her publicity blitz for the film that she and Etta have a great relationship, not-so-deep in her heart Etta is still a little salty about having her opinion so overlooked. So even though she skinned and grinned her way through the publicity for the film, it should surprise no one that out of the abundance of Etta's heart, her mouth spoke. Even in jest, it was a little over the top and very off-color: "You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears? Wait a minute, he ain’t my president, he might be yours — he ain’t my president. But I tell you that woman [Beyonce] he had singing for him singing my song, she gon’ get her ass whipped. The great BeyoncĂ©...I can’t stand BeyoncĂ©. She had no business up there, singing up there on a big ol’ president day … gon’ be singing my song that I’ve been singing forever...". She even loosely tossed around the word "greedy" and went on to talk about her dislike for Beyonce's father. Now, it would be presumed that the pettiness of the comments and the apparent joking nature with which they were intended to be read would make Beyonce the automatic victor in this example. But as Etta's life demonstrates, she's a ballsy women that's long on the crazy and short on the pride. She also, after a lifetime of boozing, shooting up, smoking, and eating herself into valley after valley, doesn't have much to lose. So instead of continuing to harp on the fact that she didn't think Beyonce was the appropriate choice to play her character, she waited until emotions ran highest and went in for the kill in a way that truly made waves. Sure, she threw Barack under the bus in the process, but in Etta's mind it's truly c'est la vie. Beyonce's silence in the matter, largely due to her non-confrontational and poised-to-a-fault nature but just as much about her necessary deference to a woman she must always show the ultimate respect, speaks volumes. Etta trumps Beyonce naturally.

Faye Vs. Hilary

Winner: Faye, Old Broad

Law Utilized: Law #39: Stir Up Waters To Catch Fish

While famous, Hilary Duff can scarcely be called one of the great talents on her generation. So when Oscar-winner and acclaimed actress Faye Dunaway heard of Hilary's casting in the remake of the film of Faye's life, Bonnie and Clyde, she asked a very pertinent question: "couldn't they have at least cast a real actress?". Smarting from the blow, Hilary hopped into an E! interview and zinged a retort that not only belittled the work of one of the most popular actresses of her grandmother's generation, but mocked Faye's looks--with which no one can justly find fault other than the fact that she's concurrently melanin-deficient and nearly 70 years old. Unfortunately, in order to make herself feel better about being "slammed", Hilary made herself look more juvenile and even less like a real actress than ever. Good luck getting Faye to cameo or to convince her homeboy and former co-star Warren Beatty to join her. It wouldn't be a huge surprise if Hilary was mysteriously replaced in the lead role that could, if done well, give her adult career as an actor a monstrous boost. By the posing of a simple question, Faye was able to get Hilary to show just how truly unfit for grown-up Hollywood young Hilary is, and make her point with very little protestation at all.

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