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Blurred Lines & Crossed Wires: Aidan Moffat On Robin Thicke
Aidan Moffat , July 10th, 2014 14:18

This week, Aidan Moffat was engulfed in a Twitterstorm after offering an opinion on Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'. Here, Moffat explains his full position on the song

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…and suddenly they burst through the windows, shattering the thin glass as they sweep in and take aim. In an unspoken act of mutual sacrifice, my brother and I run to separate safe-rooms – this way, at least one of us will survive. I reach my room and find my Uzi, check it's loaded, peek through the crack of the door and scream: “I'm not a rape apologist!”

I wake up next to my girlfriend and our baby girl; I'm soaked, panicked and nauseous. And all because I dared to express an opinion.

If I seem a year out of synch by discussing Robin Thicke, Pharrell and T.I.'s controversial super-hit, 'Blurred Lines', the truth is I've been afraid to. I've long since felt the song was misinterpreted and Thicke became the whipping boy for an otherwise just cause, but I knew to express that publicly would lead to insults and character assassinations. This week, angered by two separate, puerile newspaper pieces that sneeringly mocked Thicke's new sales figures, I decided to voice my feelings online – a little crudely, I grant you – and was proven right. But to my surprise, the majority of response was supportive and came from women.

Why do I feel the song has been misinterpreted? Firstly, I don't believe the line “I know you want it” is as “rapey” – probably the worst new word of the century so far – as others claim. It's arrogant, yes, but for many it's the language of sex and flirtation; I've said it myself, women have said it to me, and in every single instance the phrase was a statement of fact and not an ominous threat of violence. It's a common phrase employed nightly by both genders all over the world to suggest sexual confidence, designed to secure intimacy between consenting partners. It may also be unsavoury and unwelcome to many other ears, but I think it's unfair to assume anything of its author other than cockiness. And those “blurred lines”? In the context of the whole song, it seems to me that these are not a question of sexual consent but rather the fidelity and indecision of the subject. The lyrics that are rarely quoted – probably because they don't support the criticisms – are:

"Okay, now he was close, tried to domesticate you / But you're an animal, baby, it's in your nature / Just let me liberate you."

Here we have a woman who is either married or deeply attached, and unhappily so, as the line infers – “tried to domesticate you” – being offered an erotic escape. Last year also saw the publication of an excellent, accessible study by Daniel Bergner, What Do Women Want? – Adventures In The Science Of Female Desire, that challenges the preconceived myths of women's sexuality, such as the need for emotional connection and the lack of natural predisposition to promiscuity. As most women and anyone who's ever had sex with a woman can tell you, these archaic ideas are nonsense – and yet, in a patriarchal society, they prevail. So it's these lines, I think, that make the song so popular with millions of women. “Women don't need men to liberate them!” was one of the responses I received here, but that's a misreading of the word itself, removed from its context. Let me help you break free from the dull cage of sexless domesticity, the song says – unleash your dormant passion. So will this woman be a “good girl” as society continues to dictate, or will she shun the stifling shackles of convention and do whatever she wants? She can't seem to decide.

And then, immediately after, there's this lyric:

"You don't need no papers / That man is not your maker."

The message here is plain: no one owns you, and you do not need a man's permission to do what you enjoy. That doesn't sound much like misogyny to me. And keep in mind that these five lines are not a single occurrence – they're repeated several times throughout the song and are one of its many melodic and lyrical hooks. Any song's narrative is open to opposing interpretations, and when 'Blurred Lines'' full lyrics are scrutinised – rather than the cherry-picked quotes that suit one's argument – a new, more complex story is revealed. And while it's poorly written and badly worded, I struggle to find the supposed malice within.

There are many other words in the song, of course. “Bitch” is used, but we can hardly single out 'Blurred Lines' for that. And “I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two” is vile and indefensible – but Robin Thicke neither wrote nor sang that. Should we consider a race element to Thicke's demonisation? The same papers that chastised Pharrell for 'Blurred Lines' have since tried to rebrand him a feminist, and T.I. – who provides the disturbing line quoted above, and the song's only explicit allusion to violence – is hardly ever mentioned. And yet Thicke remains the constant, easy target – the righteous can pillory him all day long without fear of accusations of racial and cultural superiority, and meanwhile the charts remain stuffed with pop songs filled with misogynist language and far more troubling rape allegories. I mean, have you heard Pitbull?

And then, of course, there's that video. Again, it's indefensible and crass, and again, it wasn't Thicke's idea. Yes, he's in it – as are Pharrell and T.I. – but it was conceived and directed by Diane Martel, so while it's wrong to hold anyone solely accountable, it remains baffling to think why anyone involved could ever have thought it was a good idea. On reading her comments, the director would have us believe it's a failed attempt at irony. And what a colossal failure it is – it's awful, sexist and asinine - but, in my opinion, there are worse. Soon after 'Blurred Lines' came Justin Timberlake's video for 'Tunnel Vision', in which fully nude women are literally used as blank canvases for the projection of male expression, but there wasn't much fuss about that, curiously. And, more recently, it was only accusations of sexual abuse perpetrated by its director, Terry Richardson, that finally saw Lady Gaga's video for 'Do What U Want' pulled, a video that sees her drugged by a man who was famously tried and acquitted of paedophilia, and then molested as she lies unconscious – it was even described as “an advert for rape” by one of the few people who've seen the full reel. These are just two examples, sadly – staggeringly stupid and sexist ideas are everywhere and constant.

“But the song is part of a wider rape culture rhetoric,” I hear some say. I can understand that point of view, certainly, especially when the video is considered. But as I've described above, different women hear different things; the song is an individual, subjective experience, and for every woman who finds it offensive there's another who doesn't. And, if we do agree that the song is part of a wider rhetoric, it would still be just a part – a teardrop in a vast sea. University bars proudly banned 'Blurred Lines' from their playlists, but I bet if we had a flick through the rest of their approved material we'd find countless lyrics of far worse taste and sentiment.

As I mentioned earlier, I was surprised and pleased to find the strongest support for my opinion came from women – and although some women also disagreed with me, they were still open to discussion. The overwhelming majority of insults and ire came from men, and when I commented on this I was again accused of sexism and told this information was “irrelevant”. It's not irrelevant at all – indeed it's crucially pertinent because I think it supports the idea that the millions of women who enjoy 'Blurred Lines' do so because they hear the same narrative of sexual freedom and domestic liberation within the lyrics as I do. You might say that it shouldn't be a man's place to offer such liberation, to which I would counter that nor is it your or my place to tell any woman what she should or should not enjoy.

So that's what I think about 'Blurred Lines'. You may disagree, but that in no way extends you the right to suggest I should be silenced or I'm some kind of rapist sympathiser. The most obnoxious response I received went something like this: “Do us all a favour and shut down your account and hide in a cupboard, you hideous rape apologist.” Such is the song of the righteous keyboard hero: You don't agree with me and therefore you should not be allowed a voice. I think there's a word for that.

I am not a rape apologist. I'm not even sure such a thing can exist, short of being a rapist oneself. Like most people, rape disgusts and terrifies me, confounds and saddens me. In recent months there have been two brutal gang rapes within a mile of where my family sleep, and an 18-year-old man was prosecuted for raping a 51-one-year-old woman and beating her with an electric iron in her own home last December – also just a few streets away. These and more similar attacks led to a recent Facebook campaign and midnight march in protest, and though I couldn't attend myself – I stayed at home with the sleeping kids while their mum marched with friends – the huge turnout made me proud to be a Glasgow citizen. And it's ridiculous that I feel I have to mention that here just because I happen to interpret the lyrics of a pop song differently to the accepted opinion of the supposedly morally superior, but that's just the way it goes – either you agree with the right people or you're guilty by association. I'm guilty of nothing more than trying to understand the complex appeal of a controversial four-minute chart hit, based on personal analysis of the work itself and not the media furore that followed. You may think I'm wrong, but that doesn't mean I'm any kind of misogynist who endorses rape culture – which I should hope is plainly evident from my words above and below – and nor are the majority of millions who still dance to the song on a Friday night, one year on.

All music is subjective – different people hear different messages in the same song. And while all opinions are valid, none are truly right. That's the nature of all art and, indeed, life – and that's something the noble internet warriors of the modern world need to keep in mind.

After all this depressing talk of violence, I'm off to give my wee girl a cuddle. And while you and I may disagree on the effect and intent of a single pop song, I can assure you we both agree on one thing: we need to build a better world for our daughters and sons.

Much love,

Aidan

Paulinho Perca
Jul 10, 2014 2:43pm

Who's Robin Thicke?

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AcidMichaelsTemple
Jul 10, 2014 2:44pm

Thank you for posting this. I recently got into a discussion with a friend's girlfriend about this song. I tried to make the same argument that you have here, but had to quickly back down because it was becoming clear I was heading down a path of no return. I completely agree with you that everyone latches onto that one line, which most take out of context.

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J M
Jul 10, 2014 3:21pm

Fantastic writing, Aidan. I myself am absolutely no fan of Robin Thicke, in terms of both his personality in the public eye or his music, but some great and very important points are raised here. I have also often felt the need to remain shtum about my opinion on "Blurred Lines" (besides frequently asserting that I think it's just a rubbish song in general), mainly because I've been a Hip Hop fan for most of my life and T.I.'s lyric is as disgusting and indefensible as everyone says it is, but I've heard things in some of the underground Rap I listen to that are on another level. Also to engage in one of the wider sociological points you make, any women I've ever had sex with has almost always exhumed confidence so I completely agree that this idea of women being sexually "feeble" should be dispensed of.

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Jul 10, 2014 3:30pm

Love Aidan but why the fuck he's wasting creative time on Twitter to begin with is beyond me. Go for a walk, a bike ride, a swim, put on a bask and busk Five Hand Reel songs (anything but Slint, who are utter dogshit.)

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No.
Jul 10, 2014 3:34pm

Aidan - no. Nope. Nah. Naw. You don't know what you're talking about. You don't get to decide what people find offensive.

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FFS
Jul 10, 2014 3:41pm

I can't be a misogynist, some people I know are women. Sigh.

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Fearghus
Jul 10, 2014 3:43pm

Good article. I find the tone of Blurred Lines a wee bit discomfiting, but the reaction was wildly disproportionate - it's just the musical equivalent of the Kony 2012 caper. The internet makes it very easy to express intense outrage without having to stir yourself too much, certain things become lightning rods for brief periods then get washed away in the content waves.

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Yes
Jul 10, 2014 3:45pm

In reply to No.:

He isn't. He's offering his opinion on offence. Get it down, you keyboard warrior! Yeah, yep, yah, aaahhaaaa

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C33
Jul 10, 2014 3:49pm

"You don't get to decide what people find offensive."

Good thing that's not even almost what he's doing here, then, eh?

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aaron.
Jul 10, 2014 4:05pm

You're nauseated, Aidan, not 'nauseous'. The latter means you induce nausea in other people. Just like one is poison-ED, rather than poison-OUS. I have no opinion on the rest of the article - isn't the Thicke stuff a little long in the tooth now?

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MrLukowski
Jul 10, 2014 4:09pm

I really think it *IS* a bit rapey, but I think we have to face up to the fact that a lot of pop songs are a bit rapey, in the same way a lot of computer games are a bit killy.

Probably its evils have been overstated, and probably that comes down to the fact that a) it's a rare example of a modern pop song that virtually everyone knows and b) I think because Thicke's a bit of an awkward goon rather than standard R&B lothario, then what might sound more natural coming from a buff twentysomething comes across slightly strangely from this sort of try-hard Canadian in his late 30s...

I dunno, the whole episode has probably made us think a bit more about the lyrics to the pop we enjoy, I don’t think that’s a terrible thing...

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Emma
Jul 10, 2014 4:19pm

UM, you missed "I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two"

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Baggieboy
Jul 10, 2014 4:21pm

In reply to MrLukowski:

It's just a pop song about shagging. Get a life folks. It's no worse than 'Me and Mrs Jones' by Billy Paul. Except the latter is awesome and Thickes is crap.

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Jul 10, 2014 4:23pm

My opinion on this song swings back and forth. I'm glad to see someone discussing it fro ma different angle. I think you have to try and accept the internal narrative of the lyric. If Thicke states 'I know you want' and provides evidence 'The way you grab me' we have to accept that he is right to think the character in the song is somewhat interested in his character.

But the lines that upset me the most are the drug references.
'Baby, can you breathe?, I got this from Jamaica, It always works for me'
This can be read as, he'll change her opinion with strong weed, and that it's worked before. Which is creepy.

But also, the song has a fucking great beat, that's why it's famous.

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MrLukowski
Jul 10, 2014 4:46pm

In reply to Baggieboy:

That's kind of what I mean though, loads of pop songs are pretty rapey, with this one's it's just that everyone's ended up talking about the fact it is. I'm not saying that pop music should be censored, but you know, it's maybe just a fact that what one might call 'rapeyness' – ie a sense of sexual danger, a determination that you WILL have someone – is possibly one of the things a lot of great pop songs are built on.

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Jack Flash
Jul 10, 2014 4:50pm

In reply to MrLukowski:

Part of the problem might have been how a song with (let's say) sketchy lyrics had a video full of unhappy looking women. It doesn't help the impression, let's say. I don't think it's sexist on purpose, I just think everyone involved was an idiot.

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John Doran
Jul 10, 2014 4:57pm

Aaron: Not so. In fact common colloquial usage of the word nauseous is only returning it to its original 7th Century meaning. Here's one of many sources readily available on the internet calling out this kind of pointless pedantry: Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage says firmly: “Any handbook that tells you that nauseous cannot mean ‘nauseated’ is out of touch with the contemporary language. In current usage it seldom means anything else”.

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P Dantic-Nob
Jul 10, 2014 5:19pm

We infer. The line *implies*.

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Donello
Jul 10, 2014 5:33pm

The unhinged outrage over this song to me represents the epitome of a deeply worrying trend over the last few years. People are so eager to demonize any man in the name of a 'cause' that they don't bother to critically think for even a moment to determine if the allegations are even true, they just go along with what they're told by the outrage machine. And there definitely is a racial component.

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Will
Jul 10, 2014 6:53pm

In reply to Emma:

ER no he did not - "And 'I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two' is vile and indefensible – but Robin Thicke neither wrote nor sang that. Should we consider a race element to Thicke's demonisation? The same papers that chastised Pharrell for 'Blurred Lines' have since tried to rebrand him a feminist, and T.I. – who provides the disturbing line quoted above, and the song's only explicit allusion to violence – is hardly ever mentioned."

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Jul 10, 2014 6:58pm

I suggest 1) Aidan get off Twitter, he's above that and 2) everyone listen to Britten's "Rape of Lucretia," which is more than half-brilliant despite the dodgey prosody of its libretto.

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Jul 10, 2014 6:58pm

I suggest 1) Aidan get off Twitter, he's above that and 2) everyone listen to Britten's "Rape of Lucretia," which is more than half-brilliant despite the dodgey prosody of its libretto.

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Personal Brand
Jul 10, 2014 9:00pm

"Other pop songs are just as bad" is a remarkably poor argument for The Quietus. I'd expect that from the comments section, not the article. It's not that hard to understand: Thicke's skeezy tune became a summer anthem (whereas Pitbull's latest verbal excretion didn't), so Thicke has been seen as the proverbial straw on the camel's back. Telling us that Thicke didn't write or deliver the "split your ass in two" line is also a poor justification, as Thicke could have nixed T.I. line for being out of bounds, and he didn't. Fratboys of a feather ooze slime together.

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Matt Wilson
Jul 10, 2014 9:28pm

Hi Aidan, any chance of recording a spoken word of this over a Blurred Lines sample? About time you had a hit.

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Zing
Jul 10, 2014 9:55pm

You can't really divorce the Blurred Lines uproar from its video, though. If I recall correctly, it was only after the video that people started calling out Robin Thicke for penning a "rape-y" song. And like you say, it's an awful, sexist video. In combination with those lyrics... well, it's a real piece of work.

And while it's not very nice that other pop songs like Timber get away with similar lyrics or videos, that doesn't mean people are wrong to single out Thicke. It was way more high-profile; it went to number one in 14 countries for crying out loud. That doesn't make it above criticism; if anything, it should invite closer scrutiny.

Maybe it's selfish, but I don't want pop songs like that to succeed and I don't want their singers to, either - their success just invites even worse singers and musicians to churn out that same schtick in hope of a number one. It's not about "punishing" Robin Thicke for one song (although I'd argue that if his album didn't sell, clearly his "fans" aren't buying his schtick either) - it's about wanting better, less sexist and infinitely more appealing pop to triumph.

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shill
Jul 10, 2014 10:01pm

New theory, the good girl is actually Robin's inner self. This is actually a song about the struggle of one's own identity.

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aaron.
Jul 10, 2014 10:56pm

In reply to John Doran:

Descriptivist editors. The world's gone bloody MAD.

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matt
Jul 10, 2014 11:45pm

In reply to :

now there's a can of worms.

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Jul 11, 2014 5:12am

People can say or show what they like in music and movies - if it offends you, switch it off. No artist has an obligation to create morally sound work.

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dirigible
Jul 11, 2014 6:33am

"I've long since felt the song was misinterpreted"

It was more misrepresented. I agree with your reading of it (as should anyone with even basic reading comprehension skills). The soi disant progressives who have seized on it as an anti-anthem are puritans pure and simple.

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martin james
Jul 11, 2014 9:40am

Thankyou for offering another perspective on this... without considered discussion like this what are we reduced to? I'llcome to that.
I might not agree with everything you say (for example I don't think the artist is blameless in the ideologies of the final product. Even srtists being produced by Pharell have the ability to say 'no' to a guest rapper's lyrics, clumsy video treatments etc - ironic isn't it that Miley Cyrus was castigated for making the wrong choices but she claimed it was proof of how much she's in control of her career).
While I'm glad that people are prepared to react publicly on Twitter to what they view as abhorant (to be clear I think both rape and the celebration of rape are abhorant), it really worries me that these people are simply not prepared to engage with debate. Social media seems to be making people blind to the shades between black and white. What this article shows is that it's not as simple as saying 'oh those lyrics are rapey' and that having an opposing opinion makes you a 'rape apologist'. It's a complex issue that brings out a lot of stupidity on both sides (like saying the writer plays the father of a daughter card too heavily - that's rediculous, reactionary garbage - sensitive, caring and responsible parents worry about this shit and have the right to express it without fear of beng accused of 'using' our children).
One of the things that this article gets into, and starts to articulate it so well is why so many women love the song so much. This in itself is worthy of a much deeper discussion than Twitter hatemail.
To debate an idea is to understand the issue with greater depth. To attack a point of view that challenges yours will only lead to a dead end where nothing ever changes because people become fearful of challenging things.
Lack of debate helps abuse happen because it creates darkened corners.

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Taun Aengus
Jul 11, 2014 8:43pm

I think everyone involved with this music should step back and reconsider what the fuck they are doing.

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Rasheed
Jul 11, 2014 11:00pm

In reply to No.:

Well written article, good to see someone actually trying to interpret lyrics within the context of the song, refreshing actually. Overly sensitive wolf criers dominate conversations on these subjects, to me, seemingly making any of these issues unresolvable as all side of the issue point fingers and call names,Forever an air shaking stale mate.As silly as this sounds I think it's to the detriment of anything art like (or art even) in the pop space. How carefully should an artist choose words just to placate a potential listener/viewer or passerby?... and then would this artist be worth a damn in anyone's eyes?

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Jul 12, 2014 8:55am

I've never said it before and never will again but how far ahead of their time was Duran Duran? Girls on Film 1981

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Joe
Jul 12, 2014 10:50am

Apart from the valid contention that Thicke is scapegoated for a trend of which there are far worse examples, this doesn't really work. Moffat only offers a literalist deconstruction of the lyrics which ignores a context in which women seem to be increasingly seen as needing to be 'liberated' by men. If it wasn't for the fact that female friends are endlessly complaining that men are approaching them with grotty propositions - and getting hassle for refusing them - then I might think it's just me. While not always misogynist, the language of sexual freedom can be as much a legitimisation of male pervy behaviour as anything else. And who honestly says 'I know you want it' to anyone? On a musical level I actually think it's a really good song, but some blokes in suits prancing about, making references to their big penises and splitting girls in two, while women crawl about on all fours, is unequivocally problematic. Saying it isn't is just ridiculous.

However, there is a half-semblance of a good point here: that in pinning all our anxieties onto one pop song (and one man who possibly, if we're being charitable, didn't sit down and think for a minute) we're ignoring a broader culture, as well as making all sorts of racist apologies for certain areas of hip-hop culture (racist because we don't seem to expect anything better from a sort of re-imagined 'noble savage') while ignoring the huge swathes of it that aren't misogynist or homophobic.

Overall, pretty flimsy though.

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Harry
Jul 12, 2014 2:22pm

In reply to Emma:

You clearly stopped reading as soon finished the first paragraph as Aidan does address the line in question and rubbishes the link between Thicke and it. Silly keyboard warrior.

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Jul 12, 2014 3:32pm

In reply to Harry:

It was a bit of a feeble defense though: even though Thicke didn't pen the line, it still featured in a collaborative song.

It's tricky, because pop shouldn't be sterilely PC. But you can't help but watch a video like this and think somethings gone a bit wrong. Moffat's defence of no opinion being anymore valid than another is an classic example of the kind of reactionary hippiedom that disapproves of any political criticism of anything cultural as illiberal. Of course the song shouldn't be banned, and neither shop pop be so tidied up that it doesn't express anything ugly or raw or dangerous. But whereas, say, the Stones translated raw sexuality into rock dynamics so as to make music sound dangerously basal and elemental, 'Blurred Lines' just cringe-induces. It's a lot of tired, pathetically self-justificatory tack and sleaze that's depressingly familiar; the audio-visual equivalent of a dirty uncle on a dancefloor. It's neither sexy nor romantic nor shocking nor rebellious, and doesn't so much celebrate sexual interaction as semi-parody it to absolutely no point whatsoever. It's sneering and cynical and boring.

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Joe
Jul 12, 2014 3:35pm

In reply to :

Sorry the above comment was by me by the way!

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Apop
Jul 12, 2014 4:43pm

I spend an inordinate amount of time listening to, reading about, and thinking about music. But not anything by this schlub. I'm a fan of Mr. Moffat's writing but I didn't read this one.

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Raffles
Jul 13, 2014 1:28pm

In reply to Joe :

Somebody give this guy a prize. The last two reedy paragraphs deserve a battering on their own as well. Incredible how quickly the author managed to monumentally discredit his entire article with that Lennonist tripe.

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Jenny
Jul 13, 2014 9:11pm

I was trying to restrain myself from on this but no one has brought up the point that of course everyone objects to brutal and violent rape of the kind that Aidan describes in the last paragraph. However, some men fail to understand the ever present danger of ambiguous 'blurred lines' violations of consent that almost all women will experience. That is why this song in the context of not just the lyrics but the entire package is so nefarious. And saying that Thicke doesn't deserve to be the whipping boy smacks of whiny poor oppressed white man. Historically, black men have borne the brunt of castigation for misogyny in music when white men have been equally responsible, so this time it's the white guy's turn. Excuse me if I don't cry for poor Robin and his huge wang.

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Aidan Moffat
Jul 13, 2014 10:42pm

Thanks for all the comments, folks – it's reassuring to know that most of us can remain civil when discussing such a controversial matter. I don't have time to respond to everyone, but let me offer some further reading for those who are interested (as long as The Quietus don't mind!):

A great piece by Dorian Lynskey from last year which addresses some of the same issues and more –

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/nov/13/blurred-lines-most-controversial-song-decade

And 'Blurring The Lines OF Feminism – A Criticism Of The Criticism of Blurred Lines' from the Polemique blog, which also makes some great points –

http://polemiqueoccasionelle.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/blurring-the-lines-of-feminism-a-criticism-of-the-criticism-of-blurred-lines/

I'm not trying to change anyone's mind, but I hope these will help elaborate and clarify my thoughts above.

Over and out.

Cheers,

Aidan

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Jenny
Jul 14, 2014 11:42am

In reply to Aidan Moffat:

Thanks for the links. I appreciate the point you are trying to make. I don't think you are a 'rape apologist' and I agree that we do need to bin this phrase. I don't either believe that song needs to be banned.
However, what I think defenders of this song are missing is the fact that you can't extricate the lyrics from the society in which we live. Blurred Lines does not exist in a vacuum. If the song is open to interpretation then it is certainly and equally open to interpretation of the most heinous kind. What I think you are missing is that the backlash against this song did not come from joyless feminist who want to fuck up Robin's career and want to take the fun out of pop music but from the thousands of women who have had their consent violated in an oblique 'I know you want it' way.
I understand that Thicke may have been misinterpreted but any interpretation was made in the context of:
A video featuring naked young women dancing round suited middle aged men (I am not slut-shaming but you can't ignore the power issue here).
A lyric about tearing your ass in two
And the repeated phrase 'I always wanted a good girl.' Which I don't think is about the virgin/whore dichotomy but simply about diminishing women. Good girl is something you say to your pet not your lover. (Say whatever turns you in role play, fine. But in the context of an international pop hit there's an issue here).

The truth is whatever he is trying to say, Thicke is being punished for the sheer hubris of it all.
"Dance for me ladies. Dance for my big dick. I don't need to wait for you to acquiesce. I know you want it."
How Robin? How do you know she wants it?
Whether he means that in rapey way or an arrogant way, it's still ill-judged.
In a world where men have always been allowed to define the sexual parameters, women are now converging on social media to redefine sexual boundaries. That means no more ambiguity. No more Blurred Lines. Female sexual subjugation works on this whole 'I know you want it' cat and mouse game. If she wants it. Let her articulate it. Don't infer it.

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Joe
Jul 14, 2014 3:53pm

In reply to Jenny:

Superbly articulated. I'm sure Thicke wasn't consciously advocating sexual assault, but that's not the point. It's the context in which the songs meaning is constructed that makes it problematic. Which is why this kind of literalist, close-reading justification doesn't work at all.

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