It’s a weird week for news and not news news (do I sound like a horrible love child of Gertrude Stein and Donald Rumsfield? No? I should…). Syria is still a mess btw, we still have a small portion of our gerrymandered electorate holding the country hostage on our sixth day of government shutdown. But aside from the ‘real world news’ of things sucking around the planet, there’s the other cultural news—and sadly it isn’t news either.
. Behold. Buttons for sale at the California GOP convention. This is how one part of the United States–the free world–treats women running for office. Like mass produced fried GMO laden chicken. We don’t have to look for the equivalent male put down button because we know they don’t exist. Women’s minds and actions mean less than what some man thinks of them. We are meat. And according to the maker of this button, not very good meat; thus we can be ridiculed. Fat thighs and small breasts–must be the worst thing in the world for a woman to be, or something. Of course if Hillary had large breasts they’d just make fun of her for that. And if her thighs had gaps in them she’d be made fun of for that. It’s not a game we can win in our culture, so how about we just refuse to play the game in the first place?
…and then Fiona Apple left the stage on account of someone shaming her for being too thin. What does the shamer really get out of the conversation if what he/she is doing is calling something out on a woman? It’s not going to change her; it’s just going to make her self-conscious or pissed. Fiona is not going to simply put on weight for the shamer and any more than a larger woman will lose the fat. The heckler just cheated herself out of an encore.
…and some wise ass sports dude with big thighs and small breasts decides it’s fine to be sexist about who can truly like and serve on football committees or not. David Pollack might regret his words soon.
…and then of course we have the Open Letters of Sinead O’Connor and Amanda Palmer on Miley Cyrus. I think I’m with Courtney Love on this one. Lovem in an interview , called Cyrus an interesting f*&ked up hillbilly. But I think I know what O’Connor and Palmer are both getting at. We don’t want to be party to slut-shaming. That should be a given. But tackiness is another story altogether. We were hoping she wasn’t going to be tacky.
Back in the late 80s when I was into the periodic acid drop, I dropped and went to Disneyland in an attempt to ward myself off of both things forever. It kinda worked. Disneyland most definitely turns into its doppelganger after a few hours of frying. All things wholesome get that crackly veneer and you can see the dark side of Mouseland pretty easily. That’s what Miley Cyrus is. She’s always going to be the vacuous wholesome Disney character she was created to be. Just now, we get the acid fry version of that without having to drop the tab and deal with the next day hangover. I get that. If that’s who she wants to be? Fine with me. My kids wouldn’t be caught dead listening to her mainstream pop anyhow.
Still, I’m glad Sinead and Amanda started the conversation they started. It brings us to thinking about what is sexy? What is porn? What is art? Do we know it when we see it? Does it have to mean something? We know what it isn’t even though we can’t explain it, right? These aren’t bad questions to be asking in our world which seems to think it doesn’t need feminism ,yet we yell at thin singers and female politicians about their thighs and not their policies. Amanda herself was privy to attack earlier this year when the Daily Mail reviewed her performance and seemed to get hung up on her breast and not her music. She wrote this in response: Dear Daily Mail.
But hell. If I want sex in my music then a stuck out tongue with an appropriated anime hairstyle with plastic lingerie isn’t going to cut it for me anyhow. No amount of shaking ass in Robin Thicke’s face is going to be as sexy as the videos below.
So here’s my open letter to those concerned. It’s not going to be “We Can’t Stop.” You want a real performance that makes your hair stand on end? It’s not going to be a song group-written by a bunch of producers. Sinead O’Connor already gave us outstanding: Last Day of Our… You want to be turned on by music? Try this: This Is Love from PJ Harvey. Try Melissa Ferrick’s Drive. Try all of the Golden Palomino’s Pure. I mean, geez. The lyrics, the sound, the tension, the whispers, the cover art. Now that, should give people pause.
Okay, I’m dating myself. Those are all old but poignant examples of good sex on the radio air waves. But really there’s nothing new under the sun. Which is comforting. And sad at the same time. And if I wanted to be turned on by something that came out this year? I’d be listening to Tricky’s False Idols instead.