According to today’s Guardian, “it seems impossible that anyone with the faintest interest in popular culture could have missed either the song [Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines] or the controversy”. Well, I guess today is the day that I found out I’d finally lost interest in pop culture, because the only reason I was in any way aware of this song (or Mr Thicke) was because of the utterly tiresome Miley Cyrus twerking “controversy”.
Anyway, apparently the song is very controversial, because some people think it promotes rape. Only other people say it doesn’t promote rape, and that the song only sounds as if it’s promoting rape if you assume that the woman Thicke is singing about has not given her consent. In the context of the song consent is apparently ambivalent.
The reason I haven’t tried to get any clarification on the exact details of this situation is that I don’t care. No-one has actually been raped, the song isn’t explicitly about rape, and I can think of at least half a dozen songs that I’ve heard which do explicitly feature rape, and even condone it.
This is just empty meaningless controversy, designed to stir up some shit to sell some records. The media is more than happy to play along as they can fill some column inches or a few minutes of airtime, stir up some manufactured moral outrage, yell “Ban this sick filth!” and get some attention of their own and increase their sales.
It’s the same with Miley Cyrus. I’m of an age where I was, until very recently, more aware of her dad than I was of Miley. Now, everywhere I turn she’s shoving her bits in my face. I’m actually fed up with it. I know you’re all grown up now, and having tits and being able to show them off is a new thing for you, but seriously, they’ve been around since the stone age and literally billions of people have them. Get over it.
It’s not “empowering”, it’s not “post-feminism”, it’s the same old tired, cynical exploitation of a woman’s body in order to sell shit. I really don’t think the fact that Miley Cyrus herself is complicit and consenting in the exploitation changes much. She's not the person being exploited (whatever Sinead O'Connor thinks), it's everyone who pays any attention to it. It’s not that I find it particularly offensive even, so much as it’s just tiresome. Are we really, in this day and age, going to dance to this tune again? It’s not like she’s even the first Disney star in the past decade to go wild once she came of age.
Now apparently Lily Allen’s new video has been accused of racism. Cue more manufactured outrage. STOP IT!!!! Stop legitimising this nonsense. The more people talk about these songs or videos the more exposure they get, the more people listen to their music and watch their videos and the more money the makers receive. It’s not rocket science.
There is a time and a place to make a stand. The BNP, the EDL, blackshirts, homophobes; people who are making a serious intervention in British public life. Not Miley Cyrus and Lily Allen.
These people aren’t politicians. They aren’t trying to reshape the society they’re in, through their art. They’re pop stars and they’re trying to make money by selling sub-standard music to the masses. When they cross a line the best course of action is to simply personally boycott them. Don’t start a campaign to boycott them. Don’t write letters of complaint. Just don’t give them your money. If we don’t allow a controversy to grow there’s no benefit in shock tactics, and the lost sales will outweigh the sales gained through free media attention.
In short, all this tiresome, offensive crap might end.