The Misogynist Pass: Artists For Whom We Turn A Blind Eye
Though I promised myself I wouldn’t utter one more word about he who I cannot bring myself to name, it’s undeniable that all the hubub around him has brought up some really interesting discussions about the things that we as a culture collectively ignore or don’t seem to care about with regards to the behavior of a lot of artists. One of the more particularly interesting things is that in the case of people like he who will not be named, unlike say, Roman Polanski, who has legitimately produced quality pieces of work– it’s not really a case of excusing their behavior on account of their art. Like, I don’t know what person, besides perhaps this truly twisted teen who sat next to me on a Jet Blue flight this one time, is like “Oh god, but I can still appreciate his genius work on Two and a Half Men even though he is a violent piece of shit, etc. “– you know?
Like, if people don’t really have any artistic merit to begin with, and on top of that, they act like violent misogynist assholes– why are we giving them a pass? Not that we SHOULD necessarily, but like, it says something terrifying about the value we place on women. This Recording’s Molly Lambert and Jezebel’s Tracie Egan-Morrissey, and Anna Holmes have all been pretty vocal lately about the way violence against women is dismissed specifically with regards to he who shall not be named, and how frightening it is that people don’t get the whole joke about Kenny Powers being a gigantic loser and how it’s not really that funny to “like” people who are really like that in real life. I guess I finally snapped when I started seeing the #teamcharlie hashtag being used more and more.
My long-windedness aside, here are a couple of other people to whom this borderline-talented-but-still-gets-a-free-pass phenomenon also applies:
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1) Chris Brown
This one’s pretty obvious, but like, he was very recently the musical guest on an SNL ep hosted by Russell Brand, and I don’t think I heard one single peep from anyone in the “blogosphere” or any media at all, apart from a semi-aside from Splitsider. Which, I guess made it not shocking at all that Lorne Michaels went public about how he who will not be named is “welcome any time” on SNL. So, yeah, I don’t understand what’s not to get about this guy’s general M.O.– everything’s been pretty well documented. So, it’s not a question here of whether or not people are “sure” that Brown “did” anything, rather, it’s that most people/our culture have/has a very overt contempt for women, and this is our very tangible proof. I mean….was anyone really a Chris Brown fan before this anyway? Oh, and the discussion about the shit given to Chris Brown vs he who will not be named doesn’t escape me– certainly the latter is being granted much more leeway for being white.
2) John Mayer
True, John Mayer hasn’t been involved in any violent altercations with women that we know about, but his sexism and racism has been well documented in his hilariously pathetic campaign to appear interesting and distract from the fact that he produces, in the words of The AV Club’s Nathan Rabin, the musical equivalent of a Yankee Candle outlet in the mall. Just because the guy is bland doesn’t mean he’s not an incredible misogynist and racist. But, apparently a lot of dudes like him, ie. being featured in Playboy, and clearly, even women still like him.
I, sadly, can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who have bragged BRAGGED to me about hooking up with John Mayer. Yes, some of those people were American Apparel models, but even the Secretary Rock set still like him. In an anecdote that I will do my best to disguise, a friend told me about how her super bland/humorless coworker was almost worked up into tears of joy in recounting a meeting with John Mayer being the “highlight” of her week. And it isn’t like this woman is a 45 luddite or something– she lives in the world, uses the internet, and is in her mid-to-late 20s. My only conclusion is that she sees no problem in believing “white supremacist penis”es are a good thing.
3) Martin Crandall
Though The Shins have now become synonymous with another John Mayer-esque emo-sogynist, there was a time when I could admit to liking them without 5,000 eyerolls. But, lo and behold, former bassist Martin Crandall was involved in a pretty ugly domestic violence incident with his (I hope former) girlfriend Elyse Sewell, whom you may remember from the first “cycle” of America’s Next Top Model. Now, there is definitely a lot of controversy around it as to whether or not it actually happened the way it initially was reported, and that Sewell ended up not pursuing the lawsuit– but is it such a strange thing that the victim of domestic violence would be scared to press charges?
It’s not so outside the realm of possibility, plus that there are very few people in this world that would make serious charges like that and get involved to that degree just for shits and giggles. Whether or not Crandall did X, Y, or Z, it remains a salient lesson in the “silent” but deadly nature of emosogyny.
Aside: it’s also very funny/ironic that I’m listening to Led Zeppelin as I write this, who were anything but subtle #imonlyhumanguys.
4) Nick Carter
Here’s another one whose domestic violence speculations haven’t been particularly well-substantiated. That being said, Carter’s reactions to the accusations are a bit telling of how he rolls when it comes to his position on those sorts of things. Putting women on a pedestal (his remarks were very “women should be hugged and caressed”) isn’t the opposite of mentality that abusers have (kind of like matriarchy isn’t the goal of feminism, even though a lot of people like to say it is), it is, in fact, sort of one in the same…which is why slut shaming is counter-productive. At least we haven’t heard about him succeeding in anything much lately, though, so that’s good!