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The Column

Putting My Foot Down
1/30/05

I know I am late for this particular bandwagon. Thousands of inches of column space have already been devoted to this topic, and countless letters have been written to various government agencies, but nothing has been done. So it's my turn to say it - America, we need your help. We need to declare war on Ashlee Simpson.

I don't mean that figuratively. I mean we should attack at dusk.

Every year, some new artist comes into the mainstream that aggravates me until they're forced to go away by the impending puberty of their fans. New Kids on the Block, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys - these are all examples of frustratingly popular artificially manufactured garbage put forth into this world to confound those of us with taste. But we've gone too far this time. We've created a monster, and then gave a career to her even less talented sister.

Jessica Simpson is annoying. She's overly poppy, sings about nothing original, and whether it is staged or not, comes off with the IQ of gardening equipment. So when she was given her own, "look how stupid I am!" show on MTV, I was even more annoyed. I had no idea the fate that would befall us thereafter.

Due to America's craze with scripted reality, we were introduced to Simpson's whole family. Most notable are Jessica's creepy father who seems to want to sleep with her, and her talentless hack sister Ashlee, who seems to want to be her. Okay, maybe I'm being too harsh. I don't know if Ashlee wants to be Jessica.

Ashlee Simpson is not a good singer. She's not even a passable singer. She's so bad she'd be cut from the third best a capella group on campus, which was only formed when people weren't good enough singers to make it into the second best a capella group.

Ashlee isn't particularly hot, either. Without makeup and money, Ashlee would be the checkout girl at Walmart that you only think is cute when you're there buying nachos after a long night of drinking. Actually, that's probably who she'll be in a few years when we forget about her.

Bob Dylan had a terrible voice and was on the ugly side of ugly, and is one of the greatest recording artists of all time. But that's because Bob Dylan was a poet who spoke for a generation. I'm betting the only poetry Ashlee Simpson is familiar with profiles a particular gentleman from Nantucket.

But, somehow, Ashlee has an album. Somehow, Ashlee has a career. Somehow, Ashlee had top billing at one of the biggest sporting events of the year. (By the way, Miami, I am so proud of you for how you handled that one).

I wonder if we are okay with Ashlee because we don't want to upset the family, since they've been through so much hardship already. Sure, they're millionaires, but having a slow child can put a strain on you.

Wouldn't it be great if Ashlee and Jessica Simpson rode a short bus to concerts? It'd have all the amenities of a regular tour bus, just be about half the size and have "caution" signs on it in case the Simpsons decide to run out into the street without their helmets. This is why I need to have money - because if I were rich, I'd have designed one and sent it to them.

But I digress.

Geffen Records must know how bad she is, but they put out her CD anyway because she's marketable. They tricked us. They knew that people would buy the CD out of pure curiosity, and by then it'd be too late. Now I'm hesitant to buy anything that Geffen tells me is good again. Because the Geffen name is now associated with 70,000 people booing in unison (which was more melodic than "Pieces of Me").

I don't fault Ashlee for wanting to be a star - many of us have that same desire. I do fault her for pursuing her dream to the detriment of the American earlobe. If she came forward and was honest about her career, even I'd buy her album.

"Look," she could say, "I'm not the best singer in the world. In fact, I'm not even in the top half. But I have fun when I perform and I enjoy doing this, so I hope I'll be able to for a living. And please keep patronizing my sister, because she's not bright enough to know the difference."

Instead, Ashlee's excuse for an entire stadium of boos was that she was rooting for the wrong team. In a game with no home team. Riiiight. If the FCC thought the half time show in last year's Superbowl was vulgar, I'm surprised they didn't fine the bejesus out of anyone involved in this year's Orange Bowl. Rumor has it that USC was able to play so much better than Oklahoma because of the earplug defense.

We attack at dusk, my friends. Dusk.

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