If you’re like me then you might have seen
Everywhere I go, I see the same thing
I’m headed to the con, I’m there at opening time
Baby, I’m walking past them lines
Okay now he don’t know
That when you’re in the city
You rock the nerdy clothes, you’re a celebrity
Just let me compliment you; Not trying to disrespect you
I just like it when you’re all dressed up…
Even though the WarRock/Haley collabo is ostensibly silly and jokey, it’s really interesting how the zeitgeists around “Nerrd Lines” and “Blurred Lines” dovetail.
While cosplaying has been a major aspect of the con-going experience since time immemorial, the harassment of women who happen to attend these cons in costume is, sadly, also a recurring theme of comic conventions. It has gotten to be such a problem that this past con-going season, a group of cosplayers attempted to strike back against their would-be harassers through the crowd-sourced CONsent project.
Similarly, Robin Thicke and the song “Blurred Lines” have kind of become the pop music equivalent of the gawkers and gropers who prompted Project CONsent in the first place. From the juvenile humor and excess nudity in the NSFW video to lyrics that are at worst rapey and at best sleazy (not to mention lazy; I mean, there are lots of things that rhyme with “hug me” after all), let’s just say that “Blurred Lines” didn’t make the playlists of too many feminists this summer. For what it’s worth, I don’t know that “Blurred Lines” is any more or less misogynistic than other songs in this milieu, but it has a nice beat and you can dance to it. (Though in the deathmatch to define Summer 2013, I have to go with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” as the winner of the Pharrell-off.)
The song has also had one hell of a roller coaster ride of a summer. The nudity-filled video (and the first round of “Blurred” backlash) actually debuted in the spring. It would be another two months (of constant radio brainwashing) before the song emerged as a #1 hit on the charts (and therefore launching a new round of backlash). Once the song hit the top of the pops, though, Thicke started proactively addressing the controversy behind the lyrics, going so far as getting his mom to make the case for him. Then a couple weeks ago, Thicke made his best attempt at “Blurred Lines” rehab when he teamed up with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots to perform the song with classroom instruments:
And really, Black Thought’s freestyle is what ultimately redeems this version of the song.
Of course, after all the good will Thicke and co. were beginning to engender, they had to go and take legal action in a preemptive move to avoid being sued for ripping off Marvin Gaye’s classic “Got to Give it Up” in the first place. (Update: the Gaye Estate have determined they actually don’t got to give it up.) And then last night at the MTV Video Music Awards, this happened. If you missed it, basically Bizarro Hannah Montana came out and twerked all over Beetlejuice during their duet of the song (after Miley had already stunned the audience with a problematic performance of her own).
So, yeah, I guess there is no redeeming “Blurred Lines.” Let’s just listen to Adam and Chris again.