Particuarly with the Daily Show and Colbert Report off the air, my TV and TiVo work as an expensive stereo. In my home wireless network, I’ve connected my TiVo box. With a couple little legal hacks, it can play any music from iTunes. Thus, instead of buying a stereo, when I want to listen to the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, I can fire up the TiVo. Sometimes, when I want to keep track of today’s hits, I’ll tune up one of the many channels on the digital music tier: 5 MTV brands, 3 VH1, 2 BET, 3 country, and two other. Of course, of those fifteen channels, only about two are playing music videos at any given time (and the count is going down), but I will see videos eventually.
One interesting remix is Kiss Me, by New Found Glory, a 21st century boy band. It’s number 1 on the pop countdown on Fuse this week. New Found Glory doesn’t call themselves a boy band, but there are young men, high pitched singing, no depth, and simple melodies. Same thing, different instruments. However, because this boy band isn’t hot, they got mostly actors for their video. In it, shirtless shaved teenagers run around a giant mattress-covered treehouse, engaging in random carousing, jumping, and kissing. There’s very little subtlety, romance, or permanence. It’s a scene, a feeling, for a day. That’s hedonistic, but doesn’t rise to the level of offensive. The original, sung by Christian band Sixpence None the Richer, is just much better. That song was sweet and charming. This new version is basically forgettable.
It doesn’t take long to find something offensive and non-forgettable, though. This month’s example is Soulja Boy and the single Crank That. It’s gotten a lot of airplay, reaching number one on the Hot 100, video charts, and Billboard ringtone charts. I heard undergraduates playing the video at Bellarmine. It’s popular. And it’s offensive. The chorus involves the phrase “Superman that Ho.” My street lingo, well, is practically nonexistant. I shouldn’t have had good expectations given the last word of that phrase, but I decided to look it up anyway. Then I felt sick. I try to keep PG-13, so I have to wordsmith a little here. A male climaxes on a woman’s back. Then, he puts a sheet on her back. When she stands up, the sheet sticks, making it look like Superman’s cape. Often this is performed after a woman is asleep, having refused an offer of sex. I heard that, and I’m sick.
Because it’s catchy, this tune gets played in some college arenas. Would it still be if the DJs checked as I did? Sports Illustrated at least noticed that the act couldn’t be described in their magazine. My thesaurus has trouble finding words. degrading? mortifying? wretched? Here’s a commentary from the paper of the school I knew as wustl, Washington University in St Louis. Somehow, two of the four comments are against the article.
In general, I detest the people who feel that Catholics should remove themselves from society, with special music, special TV, special books, and special activities. There’s still plenty of place available, and retreat is surrender. I’d rather try to create and support positive culture. Sixpence None the Richer can and will win over New Found Glory, a winsome tune over mediocrity. But what do I do when arenas dance to a song about physically degrading a woman? Really, what do I do?