The Arizona Desert Lamp

The controversy that wasn’t

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 17 November 2008

Katy PerryLargely lost in the news cycle last week was the release of tickets for ASUA’s featured concert with Katy Perry. Normally, this would represent little more than a poor follow-up to the Kayne show last year; however, Ms. Perry rose to prominence largely on the basis of the song “Ur So Gay,” a song that will almost be certainly played at the UA. The first verse and chorus of the song:

I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf
While jacking off listening to Mozart
You bitch and moan about LA
Wishing you were in the rain reading Hemingway
You don’t eat meat
And drive electrical cars
You’re so indie rock it’s almost an art
You need SPF 45 just to stay alive

You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like boys
You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like…

Never mind that the forth and fifth lines hardly make sense together (Vegetarian fans of Hemingway? What’s next, misogynists for Jane Eyre?); these sorts of lyrics don’t exactly help to foster, to use President Bruce’s words, an “opening and welcoming environment.” May I ask how Perry, a subpar pop act, contributes any sort of campus “dialogue,” while a socially critical cartoonist does not?

To her credit, Perry employs her best political-ese to deny any offense: “It’s not a negative connotation,” she said in an interview. “It’s not “you’re so gay,” like “Your so lame,” but the fact of the matter is that this boy should’ve been gay. I totally understand how it could be misconstrued or whatever.”

The whole hanging-with-a-scarf line doesn’t help, either.

But no overview of Ms. Perry would be complete without her other hit song, “I Kissed a Girl,” a paean to the pleasures of casual lesbianism:

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight

Some will argue that it’s a hate crime to protest this song on the basis of its content, but there is nothing bigoted in objecting to an unabashed glorification of “Eros Lo Volt!” (even rappers will occasionally show regret over their philandering ways).

Lest there be any doubt, let me state loud and clear that I sincerely hope that this will not turn into a controversy; we’ve had enough faux offense for a lifetime. But what I would like to point out is the double-standard that ASUA seems to be using in determining what is offensive and what is not.

Whatever you think, it’s hard to argue with the fact that Perry really is an awful “artist.” Before you click the “Reserve Tickets” button, you’d be wise to check out Spin Magazine‘s “Why I Hate Katy Perry” piece.

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