To Catch A Blurred Line
51 men ranging in ages from 19 to 61 were arrested in a mere three days, at least one of whom had been arrested on Dateline during a past sting.
Keep in mind, this is not on a Superbowl weekend, or during an international event in LA. Mira Loma isn’t even close to Los Angeles. Three random days, using one screen name.
In addition to drumming for Jubilee, I write and teach poetry. This summer I engaged the issue of sexual oppression from several different angles: the John, the pimp, the sexually oppressed, and like much of America, Robin Thicke’s song Blurred Lines. (note: Yes, I know I'm the 10000000000th person to talk about this. Keep reading.)
It’s not just Robin Thicke. It’s pop America. It’s gendered power dynamics. It’s socializing of Mickey Mouse Club cast members to meet the dance floor’s demands. A dance floor in any given club or party can be the starting place for rape. Yet rape victims can’t take Robin Thicke to court. And they can’t because 1. He’s Robin Thicke 2. It’s not Robin’s fault. Well, at least not entirely.
Blurred Lines has been #1 on the Billboard charts for eleven weeks. Why has this been the most popular song in America for almost three solid months? Someone is listening to it. It’s tragically catchy and has a light repetitive dance groove. The first lyric I understood was “good girl”. What does a good girl do? When I was growing up, ‘good girls' respected themselves and others. Robin’s good girl “must wanna get nasty” and is the “hottest bitch in this place”. Blurred lines.
I imagine listening to the rough cuts of this song must have been like sitting in my living room with an oil man describing the oil reservoir beneath my house. They know we’re going to buy it. If not you (thank you), then someone. Millions of someones.
You’re probably thinking, wait what was that thing about California?
Right. Those 51 men. Some of them leaving their families to have sex with someone closer in age to their kids than themselves. If an artist (not the only one) on TV and the radio who has a family is able to dry-hump on national television and spend his days on a hyper-sexualized movie set, what’s the difference with one of these men hooking up over instant messenger? I’ll let you answer that question.
If the Mira Loma police were able to arrest 51 men in three days using one screen name, I can’t even imagine the scale of this issue in our country. Across our world. In my eyes, each perpetrator is responsible for themselves, but I would argue there is a lie at work and pop culture gives these men every tool the lie needs to corrupt their rationale. What’s the lie? Who will counter it?