What’s taken over Cher mentions on the blogosphere is the latest news from the courts on blasphemous, indecent, potty-mouthed words spoken on prime-time television.
As you might guess from my adjectives above (slight but prejudicial), I support the ruling; and yet I cringe to read over and over that Cher has again become the poster child of bad taste. Not that there’s anything wrong with swearing (I freakin' say more than freakin' off-blog) and not that there’s anything wrong with bad taste (it’s a hellavalot more interesting sometimes than good taste and it is surely the yin that feeds that yang of better taste); but it’s just that one image of bad taste (potty-mouthing) plus another image of bad taste (plastic surgery) plus another image of bad taste (dating younger dudes) or whatever freakin thing it is that family values hates (all arguably okay in my book...we could spend time defending them or claiming they go without defending or who really cares)...but in any case, those images reflect on the image of the product and feed the fire of those who say Cher music, movies, etc., are also examples of bad taste. And that makes me crazy.
Here's a headline from The Boston Globe: "Swearing Cher 1, FCC 0"
I swear because I’m trying to counteract the way I look, which is like Mary Richards. It doesn’t work but I’ve never been fined for doing it.
Here is a link to one super-clueless blog speaking against the court decision. They whine: "if you can still call Cher and Nicole Richie celebrities?"
What the f^*k?
Elsewhere this week, Cher scholar gypsy90028 sent me an email about an chapter of The First Time, Cher’s auto-bio of sorts. Gypsy90028 very adeptly puts it as "written, well sort of, by Cher." He refers us to page 134: "My First Fall From Grace" and asks this question:
What if Cher had not listened to Sonny and went with the Drug Culture not just personally, but professionally???? What would the outcome have been? For her? For him? For the Pop World at large and all us "dyed-in-the-wool" fans? And I wont even get into the Gay Thing concerning Drugs, Partying, Freelove, and Miss Cher. Or should we? Please pontificate if you will.
Gypsy90028 also said:
Its TOOOO HOT in Oklahoma. May I move to CA and live with you and be your Guy Friday/Man Godfrey???(I'm a Gemini,OK???) I promise to cook, clean, fetch and tote fer ya! All I need is a small cot on a backporch, as I will be spending all my free time "smoking, coking, toking and shopping" on the BEACH.
This is very tempting for Cher Scholar because I am swamped this month with deadlines and demands and minor annoying illnesses, not to mention my impending mental-breakdown after which I will probably need fetching and toting. I even have three tote bags for this very chore.
But alas, I already live with a Gemini. Geminis never finish anything. In fact, the bf and I just made a bet that he can’t learn how to sew a pair of frontier pants by September 10 as he is now inspired to do based on our weekend in Prescott Arizona visiting frontier museums and saloons. One of my brothers was a Gemini too and I was able to observe him not finishing things he was once inspired to to. My other brother was a problem-solving Aires and finished everything. His room was full of finished airplanes hanging from the ceiling. The Gemini’s room was full of half-finished projects like make your own moccasins of which there was only ever one sitting lonely in the corner.
But what if Cher and Sonny had gone psychedelic (personally and musically)? This is a very interesting question and I enjoy pondering it. I don’t have my copy of The First Time handy so I’ll have to wing it.
My ponderings have two aspects: could Cher have done it and could Sonny have done it.
Admittedly Sonny’s heart wasn’t in it. I don’t think he could have written drug-culture material for Cher. Inner Views didn’t work out so well as it is. He could have tried to produce her material but without any great sympathy for it, I don’t see success there.
Could Cher have gone on alone without Sonny? What if S&C had ended right there. This would have helped Cher only in the sense that the backlash from Sonny’s drug film and the failure of the movie Chastity might not have happened. The TV show buffoonery and quiet backlash towards Cher as a actress might not have happened. From a rock credibility standpoint, this might have been the best time to split off, the best pre-baffooned image of Sonny to leave. But what a disaster for me! I would never have discovered the beloved TV show as a toddler.
I believe Cher could have pulled off a career in any musical idiom. Yet she’s never seemed very interested in taking in detail about her musical choices. So some people might have thought that direction to be an inauthentic or orchestrated one for her. But there are many famous legends in psychedelic, blues and current legends in rock music that come across as insincere or inauthentic when interviewed about their music. Cher seemed inauthentic often in rock music precisely because they missed the boat on that late 60s musical trend and never quite recovered in the eyes of the rock establishment. Had that not happened, she might have pulled off a groovy late-60s music career. And professionally she might have more credibility today.
A personal involvement with the drug culture might have resulted in more creditability as well, sad to say. My feeling is a drug history always buys you kudos in pop music. There’s that ridiculous idea that succumbing to any kind of decency or weakness means you’re "strong enough to survive" it. Self-reliance is significantly harder to do and yet somehow less respected.
A continued solo career might not have necessitated a TV Show come-back; and that you could argue catapulted them into a much larger fame-o-sphere.
People often ask me how I think Cher would have done on American Idol, as if to say truly original singers never do so well there. But every night of the 70s on a Cher related show WAS American Idol. Everyone tuned in to see what Cher would she sing and wear next and that’s exactly what we say on American Idol. The show is even complete with Simon/Ryan banter and car commercial sketches; it’s a modern variety hour.
Do I wish instead that we had more Jimi Hendrix covers and a cocaine habit? Not really. I'm perfectly happy with the way things are and came to be. Let’s take stock of what we do have: the Jackson Highway album by the producers of Dusty in Springfield where Cher did the last few of her 10 Bob Dylan covers (can you name them all?) after he went electric himself, Dr. John’s "Walk on Guilded Splinters," which is sorta groovy; and we even have Hendrix’s own "Hey Joe" recorded a few years earlier. And it didn't take a shot up the arm to record that.