Paleo Retiree writes:

Which do you find sexier? Britney’s new one:

Or this old Peggy Lee perf:

And why do you find one sexier and/or more pleasing than the other?

About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
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16 Responses to Britney/Peggy

  1. Me: I find the Britney video downright anti-sexy, a nightmare of flash, stress and aggression. It’s so glitzy and hard-hitting there’s no room for my erotic imagination to unwind and start enjoying itself. The Peggy/Benny performance by contrast I find relaxed, sweet, earthy/sophisticated and amusing; it swings in the best sort of way. But maybe others will feel differently.


  2. Plus I adore the loose, subtle and mischievous way Peggy smiles and wiggles.


  3. It’s probably no coincidence that with the rise of IN YOUR FACE! female sexuality there’s also been a rediscovery of the coquettish and alluring pin-up style, e.g. Dita von Teese.


  4. slumlord says:

    Britney is simply tasteless.

    Peggy Lee never really did it for me.

    Julie London……..mmmmmm……… there’s a woman that warms the blood.

    Eva Marie Saint, in North by Northwest. So classy, yet you know once the lights are out you’re going to have the time of your life.


  5. agnostic says:

    The Peggy Lee one isn’t as bad since at least she can show a natural smile, but she looks almost child-like or inexperienced, like this is her first big recital in front of the rest of the school, and she’s smiling because she was nervous about failing and is being cheered on instead. So she’s kind of letting go, and kind of not — her guard is still halfway up.

    Britney Spears couldn’t get any more repulsive unless she got a brain transplant from Miley Cyrus. Talking about sipping martinis and looking good in bikinis — Oh, so she’s just sass-talking an audience of girls. Well, what are we dudes doing here, then? Let’s jet and let these loathsome skanks hold their booty battle to see who will win the queen’s throne. Anybody who gets into this dominatrix / Amazon thing is a dickless fairy.

    Needless to say, her guard couldn’t be raised any higher. Alertness goes along with combativeness, making it impossible to believe that she’s going to let go and get into the moment.

    I don’t get the burlesque thing either, whether the original from the mid-century or its revival today. The women are too in-control, too winking, hence too manipulative. Feeling like I’m being manipulated makes me instinctively put my own guard up, matching the guard-up demeanor of the woman who is only campily pretending to let herself go. It may be more restrained than the Britney video, but that combativeness is still there. Damn fast-talking dames.

    “Sexy” in my book needs an element of loss-of-control or possession. Not necessarily all wild and abandoned — not necessarily… But at least like she’s more absorbed in her surroundings, whether the other people there or the physical environment or whatever. Her energy or sexuality should feel like it’s effortlessly radiating out from her, not being consciously channeled at the viewer. It makes me feel like a voyeur, when getting into the moment requires shutting *off* your self-awareness.


    • The Britney vid is mighty aggressive, that’s for sure … I wonder if there’s a way for a chick performer to be hyper-aggressive yet still be something a lot of guys would find erotic. I think you’re right that Britney’s partly showing off for other aggressive girls, and maybe that’s part of what’s off-putting about the vid. (Though the more that I think about it, it can be funny and sweet to watch girls perform for each other. So maybe there’s something else going on here.) Unlike you I get a big kick out of the burlesque world, the real-trad one and the revival both. They’re companionable, sometimes sexy, amusing, informal … Anything but hard-hitting. If you imagine yourself to be among friends who are goofing around with (and making each other laugh with) costumes and posturing, that seems to me to be the real burlesque spirit. It isn’t generally lyrical or sweet, true, but friendly and horsing-around have their fun dimensions too.


  6. agnostic says:

    “Radiating”… I don’t mean like out to 10 blocks away. Just unfocused and diffuse — giving off heat. Regardless of how close you’d have to be standing to feel it.

    More what I have in mind:


  7. agnostic says:

    And if you thought Laura Branigan was too passive in that video, here’s a more active performance from the ultimate New Wave babe, Nena. It feels sexy, only more spirited, bouncy, and wholesome than “oozing raw sensuality.” It’s cutting loose and interactive, free from today’s choreography and exhibitionism. Check out those zebra pants that she’s wearing because, y’know, just cuz, and not to be all up in your face with racy clothing.


    • Come to think of it, there were a lot of chick performers in the punk and New Wave worlds who were free, who had something we might call “aggression,” and who were sexy and fun not despite it but because of it. Chryssie Hynde and Lena Lovich and such are pretty much my generation, and I remember the fun of seeing galz like the galz who were my friends up on stage putting on a show while being themselves at the same time.


  8. agnostic says:

    One last entry from the Bangles. Even the plain-looking members exude a footloose sexiness here, a reminder of the importance of projecting a good attitude if you’re like most women in not being at the top of the looks pyramid. Wild hair, loud make-up, and breathy voices only heighten the impact.


  9. Toddy Cat says:

    Too bad, at one point Brittany was pretty cute and alluring – but that was a long time ago. I’d certainly take Peggy Lee, Julie London, or any/all of the Bangles in preference.


  10. tenneby says:

    Yes, the Peggy Lee/Benny Goodman performance/music is “better” and yes the Britney Spears performance is ghastly, but didn’t the music and performances of the Goodman and Lee era lead us to Britney Spears and today’s music and performances? Plenty of people thought Jazz was ghastly too and the girl singers of that era too sexual. Jazz was the popular music of young people of that time and made it’s appeal through sex. When you’re appealing to an audience, particularly a young audience, through sex you’re always going to have to raise the ante to attract a new audience and that’s what’s happened over the years leading to Britney Spears and her ilk. What was titillating in the past now looks fairly sweet, innocent and just plain old compared to the new.


  11. Toddy Cat says:

    Jazz had it’s sexual aspect, as does all music, but it wasn’t all about sex. Guys like Dave Brubeck and Stan Kenton certainly weren’t. And since, in all the arts, one thing leads to another, you might just as well say that Mozart led to Brittany, and Shakespere led to “Pulp Fiction”. I mean, in a sense, it’s literally true, but I’m not sure that gets you anywhere, except to say that things are going downhill and always have been. In addition, I would also maintain that the Spears performance is not just different in degree than those of Lee and London and even the Bangles, but different in kind. There is a deliberate ugliness and lack of femininity to the Spears performance not present in the others. It’s not just Julie London X 10, it’s a different kind of thing, the way that a car race and a demolition derby are different things, even though they both involve cars.


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