Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Babs is bad..

Awful but widely-admired butcherer of the Great American Songbook, Barbra Streisand held what might have been her 54,320,983rd farewell/comeback concert the other day. In the midst of it, she took a break from her despicable caterwauling and performed a skit of sorts with a George W. Bush impersonator. By all accounts this stab at comedy was awkward and not funny, and so certain members of her audience—thinking, no doubt, of the $5000 they spent on tickets—began voicing their desire to hear some more golden chestnuts brutally abused. The diva did not take this well, and commanded the hecklers to “Shut the fuck up”, a momentary tantrum which apparently sparked a wild ovation from the audience.

I must say, this strikes me as weird. On the one hand, you have people so depraved that they would actually go to a Barbra Streisand concert. On the other, you have people who not only would actually go to a Barbra Streisand concert, but also become incredibly annoyed when she doesn’t spend enough time singing. This is baffling to me. Of all the inexplicable gay icons in the world, Barbra Streisand is by far this clueless heterosexual’s least favorite. I would rather listen to the scratch-scratch-scratch of Cher shaving her armpits than listen to Barbra Streisand at her greatest moment. I’m sorry if any of you out there are fans, but I just can’t stand her. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps when I was in the womb, someone jostled me really hard while “Funny Girl” was playing. Whatever the reason, I break out into the cold horrors whenever I see her face, whenever I hear her talk, and whenever she closes those eyes to begin belting out syllable after tortured syllable of raw badness.

Disliking Barbra Streisand is the only thing I have in common with real conservative people. Because, as a liberal, I can’t help but cringe when she issues some sort of public proclamation, knowing as I do that a certain set of rightists are going to hold it up as fresh evidence of my ideology’s peculiarly dim evil. She is the very essence of the “limousine liberal” and, even if her heart is in the right place, too often her mouth is just spouting off embarrassing egotistical nonsense.

All of this is why the meaningless story of Barbra Streisand swearing at someone provoked such consternation in me. Because, in the end, it brings up one of those impossible-to-answer dilemmas, like whether you would rather die by drowning or by being shot, whether you’d rather make out with your grandfather or eat a giant bowl of snot, whether you’d rather swim naked through a river of dung or drink a mixture of mayonnaise, vomit, tabasco sauce, egg yolks, and Dick Cheney’s pus. That question is this: would you rather go to a concert where Barbra Streisand wouldn’t stop singing, or a concert where Barbra Streisand did nothing but reminisce about the past and tell “topical” jokes?

I don’t have an answer for that question. But I’ll tell you this: if after I die, if I meet someone claiming to be Saint Peter and he the first he does is ask me that, I’ll know that something terrible has happened and soon the puffy clouds will turn to scorching flames, the sky will ring with diabolical laughter, and the all the beautiful angels will become wicked gnomes intent on shoving glowing coals up my butt.

And I’ll say to myself, in the split second before my eternal damnation begins, maybe I should have gone to church or something...