The case of Jack White v. Authenticity

Poor Jack White.

Last week was rather tough on him.

First, the Detroit-born rocker made an offhanded comment about the nature of “authenticity” in an interview with Esquire UK. His train of thought being that “the goal of modern celebrity is to make yourself into the lowest common denominator.” Adding, “‘Hey, I’m a guy just like you. I like a beer, a football game.’ Especially in reality television, you’ll see people will go so far as to make a fool out of themselves just to prove that.”

He tend set his sights on Lady Gaga, who he accused of trying too hard. “I don’t think she lives it because it’s all artifice,” he said. “It’s all image with no meaning behind it. You can’t sink your teeth into it. It’s a sound bite. It’s very of this age, because that’s what people want. They want a Twitter line, a jpeg, an MP3.”

Ouch, and this is coming from a guy who pretended his wife was his sister.

Fans took his lament as an attack on Gaga’s music. White, conversely, took to his website to blame Esquire for yellow journalism. “I’d like to address the recent tabloidesque drama baiting by the press in regards to Lady Gaga,” he wrote. “I never said anything about her music, or questioned the authenticity of her songs in any way. I was in a conversation about the drawbacks of image for the sake of image, and that it is popular nowadays to not question an image in front of you, but only to label it as “cool” or “weird” quickly and dispose of it.”

Frankly, I’ve been torn about the “authenticity” of Jack White. While I won’t deny his talents, that man sure does go out of his way to act different. For example, check out the wonderful 2008 documentary It Might Get Loud. White’s segments involve him driving around and playing guitar with himself at the age of 8. Considering neither The Edge or Jimmy Page, who co-started in the film, resorted to any addition “imagery,” its a bit… weird. Saying nothing of his love of taxidermy.

But weird isn’t a disease, it’s a choice. Who is he to argue the validity of Gaga’s eccentricities over his own? After all, is there really any difference between dressing up as an undertaker versus putting on a dress composed of meat. Both are cries for attention, no?

But I digress.

Finally, White’s not-so-great week concluded with a semi-revealing interview on NME.com, where he discussed his difficult marriage with former The White Stripes drummer, Meg White. “In The White Stripes, it was impossible to share the good moments with Meg because she was very uninterested,” he told the website. “If something nice happened, it wasn’t like we would hug or have a drink. That wasn’t what went on.”

White went on to say that there were plenty of ‘treasurable moments’ between the two. “It’s strange to know that there’s beautiful moments that no one will ever know about,” he said. “It’s whether I’m going to tell you, because Meg’s never going to tell you. There’s a sadness to that, a romance.”


My advice to Mr. White: bottle up some of that honesty. The world wouldn’t know what to do with it anyways.

Source: Rolling Stone & NME

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