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poofandmook's avatar

For those who were not children during the 80s...

Asked by poofandmook (17277points) August 5th, 2008

This may seem like a stupid question, but when Boy George was being hounded and crucified by the press in the 80s at the height of his infamy, how did that differ from the Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse sagas? Were they more exposed than he was? I’m just curious, being a big Boy fan and all; I was too young during that time to remember.

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13 Answers

sndfreQ's avatar

In the ‘80s, it was less the idea of his personal life and more society’s acceptance of cross-dressing in popular culture; times were a bit more conservative and for a somewhat-of-a transvestite to be in the mainstream American home (MTV was just starting to come into the limelight as an entertainment channel, and they actually showed music videos!), threatened the perception of typical “family values” conveyed in popular culture; the idea that Boy George was sharing bandwidth with “Full House” and “The Cosby Show.” (I know some of you may not know those titles either…man feeling old now!).

Fast forward to present-day, and you have basically two examples of spectacles that are promoted for their tabloid qualities-Britney Spears, for all her foibles and poor choices in life, is seen as a “hometown girl all grown up” and all that mystique that Hollywood places on starlets of her generation (thanks to the previous generation-viz. Madonna, Janet Jackson, and others “handing the torch” to the next generation; in the case of Madonna, slipping the tongue to the…but I digress).

In the case of Amy Winehouse, it’s just a matter of “just how effed up” can this girl get? She epitomizes the “bad girl” image and while not a new archetype, is relevant because her music conveys a ‘hip’ sound and plays up the ‘retro’ chic that is fashionable, especially with the so-called “post hip-hop” generation.

Alas, the through-line in all three examples is: If it bleeds, it leads; maybe not physical bleeding, but the idea of celebrities suffering is something American pop culture seems to crave.

charliecompany34's avatar

boy george was and still is a flamboyant character who broke a lot of tradition when it would come to alternative music. the ‘80s was part of the “punk” rage as “grunge” was to the ‘90s. boy george wore make-up, was a tad effeminate and sang some really great catchy tunes. he was ground-breaking and opened up a lot of doors for others in shall we say his genre. he is neither a britney nor an amy.

poofandmook's avatar

@Charlie: I wasn’t making a comparison between him and the other two. I was asking about the comparison between his press coverage and theirs.. mostly regarding to the drug use or suspicion thereof.

sndfreQ's avatar

btw-Boy George did have troubles down the line, related to drug use and a purported off-screen romance with the drummer of Culture Club; these were not publicized nearly as much as Britney’s or Amy’s personal problems.

You have a strong point in considering how much of the ladies’ personal lives are publicized versus Boy’s; in the ‘80s, it was more about his controversy surrounding his physical appearance (makeup, dress, androgeny) than his personal afflictions.

Seriously, if you get the chance, check out his “VH-1’s True Hollywood Story” documentary, and you’ll get a really good look at the times and issues surrounding his fame and life in the public eye.

Lightlyseared's avatar

ahhh twas a different age back then.

poofandmook's avatar

@snd: I’m very familiar with the THS actually.. I used to have it recorded somewhere in the days of tapes. They said it was a media onslaught, especially about the drugs… but since he was the only one profiled, I had nothing to compare the viciousness of the press to.

charliecompany34's avatar

@poof: oops, my bad. read your question too fast.

sndfreQ's avatar

Edit: E! True Hollywood Story…not VH-1. I’m not sure if it was all that publicized back then, but it did ruin his credibility. I think by then though, his fame and spotlight was dimming anyway.

Adina1968's avatar

I think that the media was not as invasive as it is today. Now nothing is sacred and it seems there are no boundries. I think one of Jane’s Addiction’s song sums it up best- “Nothings Shocking”.

tinyfaery's avatar

I spent most of my teen years in the 1980s. As I remember it , no matter what the scandal or story of the day was, there just wasn’t such media saturation of the entertainment business in those days. We had Entertainment Tonight and that was pretty much it. Now entertainment news is top story material.

robhaya's avatar

You really can’t compare the media from the 80’s to that of the current media, they are two different beasts all together (not Boy George). Back in the 80’s there was no Access Hollywood, TMZ, etc..The only coverage would be in the Tabloids or maybe MTV.

Most definitely, today’s media coverage is more invasive. Everyone has access and the capabilities to report a story with the proliferation of camera cellphones and video, etc.


sndfreQ's avatar

Yes, and to add to tinyfaery’s observation, most celebrities were not considered role models or elected leaders (Arnold anyone?)...except for the fact that Ronald Reagan was president, celebrities weren’t idolized the same way as they are today-role models for how to live one’s own life. With reality television, it now seems that intimate knowledge of a celebrity’s personal affairs are just par for the course-in order to really stand out, you have to create a heightened state of angst or distress to be noticed…it’s an interesting and disconcerting tone that I’m sad to say began in the late 80s and into the 90s…we’re just seeing the effects and fallout of a generation in the spotlight in this way.

Mix that with some product placement and marketing, and you have a dangerous medium/mechanism that becomes a machine for generating money$$$.

As big a fanboi as I admittedly am, I’m slightly disgusted by this recent story:

Now the next step of media gluttony is on its way, where our acceptance of products being anthropomorphized is seeping its way into the collective psyche…my mac is my role model!!! Okay maybe a bit cynical-I’m having a rough day…

Bri_L's avatar

the options available to spread the news created by those sources listed above and to whom those options are available has changed to. Now you can go on line and find 25 different web sources in one search, almost half of which are true, the other half are made up to fan the flames.

That is something else. Never before were everyday people able to create false news as easily and spread it as easily as they can today.

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