As I mentioned the other day, I probably haven’t watched a music video all the way through in years. Many years. Maybe even not since something like 2003 or 2004 have I watched a music video in its entirety in order to experience its accompanying song. After I wrote this, Courtney was quick to point out that her, Nick and I did watch several Pop-Up Video episodes (my favorite is Meat Loaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),” because I can’t figure out if he’s a vampire or just a regular beast and it’s thrilling), but I say that doesn’t count.
Even though I don’t watch videos and I’m not in the demographic of networks that claim to play them, I did know about Lorde before the Grammys and listened to her EP non-stop for probably a 3-week period. Um, because she’s great? She’s a 17-year-old Kiwi who writes these devastating pop songs and that’s really fucking cool, is why. My favorite track was “Bravado” but I still liked “Royals” plenty, and thank god because that was everyone else’s favorite.
Going along with me not watching videos is me not watching the Grammys (I’m one of those assholes who doesn’t have regular TV and I am nowhere near motivated enough by award shows to live stream them on my laptop). So I didn’t see Lorde perform, but I did see mention after mention of her on my Twitter feed and felt a weird sense of wanting to protect her from the snarky bitches of the Internet.
Here’s the thing, Internet. When a 17-year-old Kiwi girl who makes the most interesting and addictive pop songs of the year wants to dress goth for her first awards show, you fucking let her dress goth for her first awards show. You don’t make shitty jokes about how she looks scary or seems out of place, or how she can’t dance even though she’s not a fucking dancer. You understand that she’s 17, she can do whatever the fuck she wants, and I wish I’d had the balls to wear black lipstick and freak out the whole country on live TV when I was her age. I thought she looked cool.
I guess these were the same people calling Miley Cyrus a whore for that one thing she did with the foam finger, and I guess that’s kiiiiiind of their job (and by “job” I mean something they don’t get paid for but do even when they’re pooping). And they’re the same people who shit on pretty much everyone all the time, but interestingly seem to spend most of their energy on women (yes, Beyoncé’s hair looked wet, but she fucking killed it and do you really think she looks like a drowned dog, because I think she looks fucking fantastic no matter what she’s doing). Dudes like Macklemore and Pharrell got mocked because of the content of their lyrics and a hat, respectively, but the women at the Grammys got mocked for how they looked, even while performing songs they had created themselves.
This is part of the reason why I’m glad I don’t have regular TV or spend a lot of time consuming the type of media that’s on it. It’s kind of like advertising. Years ago, Thomas told me that he refused to have TV because he couldn’t stand the ads, although it was more like he couldn’t stand that he was so aggressively being advertised to. At the time, I agreed that advertising was annoying and dumb, but I argued that it was never going to not be prevalent so it was easier to simply learn to ignore it. Ignore commercials. Ignore product placement. Ignore billboards. Ignore the constant messages from corporations that you’re not cool or happy or attractive enough right now but you could be if you purchased their product. And you can ignore this. I think that we’ve gotten to the point where we barely even recognize advertising anymore. Not once during my daily commute do I notice one of the billboards along the road and think “hmmm, yes, good point, I should spend money on that.”
But lately, I’ve come to understand Thomas’ point. Yes, it’s easy to ignore advertising and I still don’t think that all of TV is evil just because it depends on advertisers, but ignoring something doesn’t make it go away. Corporations are always trying to find ways to reach people like me. To make me notice and care. And I can ignore music videos and awards shows all I want, but there will still be people out there trying to tear down a teenager for wearing a certain dress (not sexy enough, but wait, you can also be too sexy!). They still want me to hear them, too. And I worry that eventually, I will have ignored these people for so long that the most casual misogyny will go by unnoticed.