Does Talent Matter?

Over the weekend 12,500 screaming fans showed up at Citi Field in Queens for DigiFest NYC. They were not screaming in appreciation of some new boy band or rap star. They were screaming for Cameron Dallas, whose only apparent talent is that he looks cute. Cameron is well aware of his limitations.

 “Back in the day, you used to have to be a singer or an actor, but nowadays with social media, you can become well known just by being yourself.”

The devolution of teen fan hysteria can be charted from Frank Sinatra


To Elvis Presley

screaming-fansTo The Beatles


We have now arrived at Cameron Dallas.


Except that unlike Frank Sinatra, Elvis or The Beatles, Cameron Dallas has no talent. How did we get here? Where the object of these girl’s affection does nothing but look pretty in front of his web cam. Are we so culturally bankrupt that this is the best we can do?



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3 Responses to Does Talent Matter?

  1. RickTurner says:

    Well, when you have something like the Huffington Post…which tries to pass for journalism…devolving into “All Kardashian, All the Time, All the Sleaze That’s Fit to Blog”, then you have a good idea of where we’re at.

    Thank goddess the music I love is under that radar. I’ll take a Bonnie Raitt or Linda Thompson or Kate Bush any day over Beyonce, Mariah, or that weird rapper chick from Australia. I’ll take Sonny Landreth, Richard Thompson, or Martin Simpson over Justin Boober or any boy bands. And I’ll take the folks you used to work with, Jon, over 95% of the bands formed in the past five years. The artistry is out there…at Americana music festivals like Telluride Bluegrass, Strawberry, and Newport. But it doesn’t hit the big time unless the Coen Bros. hire T-Bone for his good taste and chops.

    The good thing is that this Cameron guy is going to have a career that will be shorter than Mickey Rooney and as illustrious as Milli Vanilli.

  2. len says:

    It’s the best THEY can do right now. Eyeballs are all that is required to get him there. But given there is a new kid in town everyday, it takes more to stay there or near there.

    I was considering a local venue when my son, who is a well-liked sound tech and trumpeter (because it takes more than music chops to survive), said “Maybe Dad, because they will either accept you are wonder why the old guy is here.” There is a point where one has to understand one is completely irrelevant to the tastes of the very young.

    So I will busk in the local park for spare change.

  3. Fentex says:

    Given the hysterical nature of those reactions to Sinatra, Presley and the Beatles – they didn’t deserve it either.

    Someone without a talent receiving such hysterical reactions is just another example of undeserved hysterics. There’s something wrong with the hysterics, not something right with the performers.

    Besides which this Cameron (who?) obviously has a talent because it drives an audience to hysterics, Q.E.D. to suggest otherwise seems to be sour grapes that his talent isn’t admired by the writer.

    I’d be more worried that the implication is that Sinatra, Presley and the Beatles weren’t all that because getting an audience hysterical ain’t no thing.

    Which is to say I don’t think an audiences hysteria is a good metric to judge anything but a persons fame by, and given that what provides fame changes generation by generation, circumstance by circumstance (piety, royalty, movies, politics, tv, heroism, talent, crime etc) it is no reflection on anyone famous for their talents that someone else has a little fame for a while for different reasons.

    The fame that seems to matter most is the fame that persists over generations. Sinatra, Presley and the Beatles are evoked precisely because all of them, now generations past, remain famous.

    It isn’t something that can be judged with fair comparison during someone elses fifteen minutes.

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