Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Neverending Story: An Essay on Playboy Buskers

During a televised bully pulpit panel discussion in the early 60’s, a much younger-than-now Hugh Hefner defended his Playboy Magazine philosophy that presented females as being sexual objects (as animals one of the panelists accused). He stated that in the English speaking world everything on this planet tends to be bracketed as one of animal, vegetable, or mineral, and since females appeared to be neither vegetable nor mineral, they were, indeed, of the animal kingdom (as, too, were males). His argument continued with the theory that, since we were animals, our sole purpose in life was to procreate, to continue the species, to have sex. Both females and males, according to Hugh, were in existence only to have sexual experiences. According to Hugh, the real problem with society was violence, and the nary chary Hugh went on to state that even nice girls liked sex. If our primary purpose on the planet is just to keep the supply of humans neverending, then life as we know it is truly an endurance test, especially for those religious and even existentialist types.

Perhaps the Playboy philosopher is right or perhaps not. And without entering into the difference-between-love-and-sex debate, I’m wanting to dance into a couple of social concerns, the first being the acceptation of the concept of love. There are 6.8 billion people inhabiting the planet Earth. In theory then, there are at least three billion potential mates for any of us to love or by loved by, or at the very least, with whom to have sex. But this is hardly the case. Most of us find our true love, our soul mate, within one hundred miles of where we reside. What are the odds! Of course, the simple explanation is that we are accursed to conveniently reach for those within reasonable proximity.

The second social concern with which I’d like to waltz around is the idea that given the proper time and circumstance, we can fall in love with anyone. This is most certainly the theme of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where in a natural and beautiful forest setting, the fairies to be manipulate four young lovers into continuously falling in and out of love.

Think about it. Western world statistics show that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, and of those statistics, most of these ex-lovers find new lovers and marry again. And Western world statistics also show that when a love partner passes away, the remaining and living spouse will find another lover and marry yet again.

I’ve no quarrel with any of this – I’m just acquiescing to the facts, which to me present a rather positive (employing the clinical symptomatic definition) and resilient manner in the love attachments of humans. According to most social psychologists, it is hardly possible to live a good life without love. Both social and evolutionary psychologists are always expounding (perhaps unwittingly) on the evidence of this procreational sole purpose, often presenting as evidence the fashions and styles we choose to adopt and flaunt to others. And if you're in doubt about this notion, just check out the August 19th, 2011 edition of The Globe and Mail in which there is an article showing the apparent trend to cast children in overtly sexual roles, [where] images from the website of Jours Apres Lunes have been condemned as 'pedohilic fantasies'.

Generally, each of us wants to look good, to ourselves and especially for others. When we are seeking potential playmates for love or for sex, there are high variability preferences in a number of areas that seem to be important for both male and female observations, namely facial symmetry, height and weight, waist-to-hip ratios, v-shaped torsos, genitalia, hairiness, and skin tone.

Physical beauty matters and is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder. Marilyn Monroe (pictured above) was the ideal for her time, a flexuous 36-24-36. Most of us long to exude, and some of us even lust upon such physical brilliance! Statistics demonstrate that many of us are spending monster amounts of money on fitness and make-up, even plastic surgery so we can shine and be the burning desire for others. We are cognitively aware that demeanor and exciting personality, too, are attractively important; yet the simple act of living and acting in a healthy lifestyle, though easier on the pocketbook, is much more difficult to practice.

And just how does the art and craft of guitar and banjitar busking fit into all of this playboy philosophy? The answer lies somewhere in the way we present ourselves, as a sexy product, amicably commercial to others.

First off, we have to brand ourselves as being something. We need to stand out, to look like we want to look, yet blend in with style and flair. We ought to look like buskers, just as bankers ought to look like bankers and servers to look like servers, but we ought to strive to be subtly different from our peers.

Secondly, we ought to present value. We ought to present why someone should buy into us. We have to somehow showcase the particular kind of busk we are selling. This is accomplished mainly through common sense. Singing on noisy street corners is ridiculous. Being amplified in an outdoor mall is silliness. Outlandish attention, in general, ought to be avoided. We ought to be selling quality and value, not stupidity.

Lastly, we need to be a product, we need to build the necessary relationships that keep people buying into us, again and again. In corporate America, every organization is different, yet interpersonal relationships within these organizations are the keys to their success. We buskers, too, affrightingly represent corporate America; it’s just that our leanings are farther to the left than most others.

If we can be brand, value, and product all at one time, we will no doubt become too sexy for our britches … and we sexy playboy buskers will no doubt have a neverending parade of busk bunnies and coin.

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