July| Vol. 22 No. 8.02 | Christian's Chronicles © 2015 – All rights reserved.
I have dealt with my fair share of “isms.” In addition to my storied past as pro wrestling referee, artist, and IT professional, as well as of course MMA fighter and overly-intoxicated-patron-removal-engineer, I was also, once upon a time, a university professor.
I’ll pause for a moment to allow that to sink in.
It’s true. It was a part-time job (adjunct faculty), which made it all the more enjoyable because it provided me the freedom to do pretty much what I wanted to do in my class, not unlike the liberty I enjoy being the editor in chief of Ye Olde Chronicles. By now it should come as no surprise to loyal readers of The Chronicles that I brought my own pedagogic flair to the classroom. I viewed my role not as a disseminator of data, but as a facilitator of growth. My overarching objective was to spark curiosity, creativity; to challenge, nudge, jar, shock, awe, shake up, or just somehow light a fire under the asses of my students to question the foundations of their own beliefs and engage in what has become an important buzzword in higher education:
Critical Thinking (sound the gong)
If I could get through to perhaps 10% of the students, then, in my opinion, I have accomplished more than anyone could have hoped for. I’d like to think The Chronicles function similarly. I suppose the genius of my rapier’s wit and sharp irony usually escape both audiences, so the analogy is apt…
My curriculum? Philosophy. Ethics, in particular. A field ripe with “isms” of all types; utilitarianism, ethical egoism, pragmatism, humanism, and so on. I endeavored to guide students to a better understanding of ethical concepts, providing the vocabulary and the means to evaluate moral issues from different ethical perspectives. My favorite classes involved debates of contemporary moral issues, which are also littered with “isms” that would now and again bubble to the surface. One of many such “isms” is what this introduction has led to, and what currently is trending among the kids on the world wide webs: “feminism.”
[EDITORIAL NOTE: This is where the post goes from a general belittling of whatever ‘isms’ are the latest cause celebre to a more specific dissing of a dimwit who seeks to exploit one of thise ‘isms’]
Ariana Grande, that talented young singer and apparently the freshest face of feminism, is making the rounds on social media embellished with exciting accoutrements of “isms” and a lovely set of complimentary accessories such as “empowerment,” “misogyny,” and “double standards.” It was all the result of a twitter message this past Sunday, which all the usual suspects picked up and ran with as a celebration of feminism, or girl power, or whatever.
“I… do not. belong. to anyone. but myself.”
she writes, and goes on lamenting said double standards and whatnot, in what is lauded as a contemporary expression of ideals of feminism. Readers are encouraged to judge for themselves. To me, a different “ism” is more applicable:
This shallow hissy-fit is more in the nature of a marketing gimmick than political or philosophical critique. It is wonderfully efficient in that it is bound to get picked up by news outlets as an example of a “vital social issues ‘n’ stuff” in the style of Kelly Bundy, with a (calculated?) fringe benefit of giving Ms. Grande possible exposure to a new audience. Not that she doesn’t expose herself enough in her music videos, which ironically match the lovely voice and seductively innocent eyelash-batting of her youthful countenance with the excessively sexualized curious physical contortions, posturing, and not-so-subtle lyrics phrased in the imperative as an instruction to “gottagottagotta love me harder” – if one wants to keep her. (Italics added)
Doesn’t the act of keeping imply possession? To keep someone, you have to have that someone; i.e., that person must ‘belong’ to the keeper. In other words – Isn’t Ms. Ariana Grande gyrating to the exact thing about which she seems so upset in her tweet?
She. Does not. Belong. To anyone.
Unless they gettogettogettogetto ‘love’ her hard enough.
In that case, apparently, she will happily be the lucky owner’s proud possession. Perhaps she is upset because no one has as yet gotgotgotgotgot to ‘love’ her hard enough to keep her? Perhaps she should hold a public audition? They could make a great new reality show out of it, and I’m sure there would be plenty of eager contestants. Or maybe she has cultivated more refined tastes, and the way to her ‘heart’ is now more sophisticated. After all, she is “currently making the best music [she’s] ever made in [her] life.” As a woman who comes from a “long bloodline of female activists.”
Ms. Grande’s breeding aside, what then, is the culprit offending her recently acquired artistic sensibilities and giving rise to her inspirational tirade of “empowerment” (not the same as being a bitch, as she points out)?
“If a woman has a lot of sex… she’s a slut. If a man has sex… HE’S. A. STUD.” – Ms. Grande writes.
Perhaps her tastes have not matured all that much since her ‘Love me harder’ video. At most, she is expressing simple jealousy. She wishes to be respected for promiscuity, as in her view that is equality. It makes sense, after all. She would like to be praised not only for her vocal talents, but for the courage of her convictions in testing out a sufficiently broad sample of suitors to acquire the relevant experience based on which she can finally announce: You are the one! You gotgotgot to love me hard enough. I’m yours!
Though Ms. Grande’s complaint may be dripping with hypocrisy, it is pure genius in other ways.
It encompasses pretty much everything marketable: (1) something sufficient to get the rabble fired up with indignation, (2) the theme of sex to entice the mind, and (3) the Ms. Grande as a sex object to stimulate the sense, intentional or otherwise. In other words, it speaks to the mind, body, and soul. And she will get some free exposure out of it; more than usual. In fact, The Chronicles have provided as much, and in the interest of ensuring fair and balanced coverage, you will find embedded below Ms. Grande’s own “Love Me Harder.” Despite her considerable vocal talents and the conspicuous investment in an allure of seduction, the near-vulgarity of the lyrics makes this simple song almost comical to me. Enjoy.
I’ve often wondered why it seems every time someone talks about equality, all they are really talking about is sex. Apparently, the greatest injustice to most people amounts to perceptions of approval or disapproval of one’s sexual proclivities. This seems to me as the most trivial of ‘inequalities’ easily addressed by simply changing social circles. If you wish to be admired for the volume of sexual partners, perhaps switching to a career in pornography or prostitution (incidentally, is there a difference between the two?) is in order. Is that shameful or degrading? Why should it be? Shaming, or the “unfavorable judgment of others” was recognized by John Stuart Mill as a legitimate form of social persuasion. But shaming is only effective when the shamed are ashamed. Practice what you preach.
Of course, Ms. Grande is a public figure who cannot easily escape the judgment of others, because she is continuously under scrutiny everywhere. I do not envy her in that regard. But it is the price of fame, a bargain she made long ago. Maybe this was her protest from the confines of the inescapable trappings of fame and fortune and everything that goes with it. Or maybe it is just a calculated gimmick to sell the thing she has been selling all along: her videos, her music, her image, herself, through the cheapest appeal to the lowest common denominator: sex.
Like all other celebrities, Ariana Grande is not just objectified; she IS an object. A commodity. A consumable good. What’s more, she has objectified herself, willingly and intentionally, to be purchased, consumed in mass quantities, and when the time comes, cast aside after expiration like so many other out of date entertainers no longer fit for consumption. For now, she can continue to peddle her childlike physique contorted in ridiculous poses attempting to look ‘sexy’ in her videos that succeed in conveying seduction to the same degree as porn expresses a celebration of intimacy.
This isn’t “feminism;” it is not any “ism.” The watered down, diluted, mass-consumable versions of “isms” are the latest and greatest promotional materials fit to be exploited for profit, like everything else, until the focus shifts to the next. This is just another marketing gimmick, like so many other “isms” passed around like beach balls by a crowd.
Ms. Grande only wants the freedom to sell her strange combination of childlike ‘cute’ looks and raunchy sexual content, paraded under the guise of some glorified fight for equality.
She claims does not belong to anyone. In that, she is correct. She belongs to everyone who pays the purchase price.
UPDATE: This dimwit is in trouble again, for an infamous ‘donut-licking’ controversy in which, among other things, she was caught on surveillance camera stating her hatred for America. Well done again, Ms. Grande