Measured Extravagance

2000-12-04 - 11:45 p.m.

In his poem "Thinking About Thinking" , William Matthews notes:

My love says I think
too damn much and maybe she's right.

The entire poem could work as an epigraph to this journal, but what brought it to mind earlier tonight was the Tina Turner special on CBS and wondering whether I was indeed thinking too damn much about it. As I watched the performers and the crowd, I couldn't shut off the screaming in one part of my head: "None of you are LISTENING to the words! This experience has NO MEANING AT ALL!" The humorless feminista in me was frowning at the tacky costumes and the fake lasciviousness and the sheer excess of it all. There might have been some traces of irony in the performers' expressions (at least, I hope so) but certainly there wasn't in the bouncing, waving, hollering-along hordes. It scared the hell out of me.

But I'm also a stage junkie, which meant I was also admiring the choreography and making mental calculations about the set logistics. I've done a bit of dirty dancing myself (at a wedding, no less, and there wasn't the slightest drop of alcohol involved) and I've been known to flaunt what I've got - lithe legs, leather miniskirt, midriff-revealing blouses, glossy hair - out of the sheer pleasure of having it. Objectification be damned - the women on that stage were most likely having a blast feeding their energy to the crowd and receiving it back thousandfold. I hope. I'm not 100% convinced, but I can imagine it to be, so I hope it's true. As for Tina? I didn't think she was in peak form - but I'm hard to mesmerise when I'm thinking too hard. There was a touch of stiffness here and a mite of overacting there - though, to be fair, I was watching on a television smaller than my monitor gestures that were meant to play across a packed football arena. However, Tina not in peak is still one amazing gal. She moves, she shouts, she looks awesome in her skintight dresses and jumpsuits. She's inspiring - looking at her, I want to hone my body and my poise so that I can slay a crowd like that when I'm sixty. And she's responsible for one of the best lines in Sandra Bernhard's "Without You I'm Nothing" show: describing the aftermath of a nuclear war, Bernhard sketches out a devastated landscape where "only the strongest have survived. [beat] Tina Turner is still with us."

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