Things that shit me: Why it is so easy to loathe Fox News, Avicii, Pitbull and pretty much most things on the TV.
By E.F Nicholson
I am thinking of changing this blog from “things that matter” to “things that basically shit me,” which seems to be many a thing when it comes to switching on the TV. Considering what galls me and bugs me seems to be the only inspiration I have been getting for writing, I guess I just have to go with it.
Living in Spain and being a typical English-speaking whitey mio espanola muy malo (which is fancy Spanish for saying how shit my Spanish is), the only thing I can watch on our cable TV in English is 24-hour news and music videos. Lucky for me, both either depress me or annoy me to such an extent that I don’t find myself tuning in very often. I’d like to say I never partake of this filth, but I’ll admit, I do get bored enough to plonk myself down in front of the flat rectangular nipple and drink of its virtual and pixilated milk.
I surf news channels such as Fox, BBC, CNN and MSNBC, which is in order from highest to slightly less offensive on a sliding scale of bullshit and blood-pressure-raising overall shitiness. Fox I can’t even watch in that kind of “I am only watching 50 Shades of Grey ironically to poke fun at it, not because I’m sick in the head” type of TV watching you can do sometimes when the content is too far-fetched to take seriously. It’s not so crappy it’s funny, it’s so crappy it’s like having some knob you have just met at your uncle’s bbq shouting out at you from the TV his racist, petty-minded, pro-rich anti-poor baloney, without the ability to push him into the pool or set him on fire. The only thing to do is press the + on the remote and then move on to BCC. Here we get a more posh-voiced condensed version of the same bullshit. What’s worse is that the pundits at Fox know their souls have been sold to the devil, yet at the BBC they not only sprout the establishment status quo, they do so with such a smug conceitedness that if it was them at the party you would want to pull their pants down before pushing them into pool. Moving on to MSNBC and CNN is just more of the same, only blander and even more tedious. So to avoid getting angry and depressed I switch to VH1; surely songs like “Wiggle” will help me to lighten up and see the lighter side of life, right? It appears not.
I have various personality types that are best represented by Sesame Street characters. I have my inner Elmo, my inner Grover, my inner Cookie Monster, my inner Ernie and Bert, and my inner Oscar the Grouch. Lately Oscar’s voice seems to boom every time the TV is on, and poor Elmo only gets to talk when I’m playing with my kids. So I start watching “music videos” and come across two songs one after the other that really shit me, and Oscar and I would like to share with you why.
Avicii: The Nights
This guy should start his own musical turd factory. It’s up there on the scale of lazy “McMusic” badness with David Guetta. This is music for the masses geared toward dumbing them even further down. It’s like the Bacardi Breezers and West Coast Coolers (for those Australian’s of my generation) to the ears: something teenagers love, but past the age of 15 they realise it tastes like shit and is bad for the liver and the brain. One of his latest songs is meant to be an anthem for living life to the fullest. He starts by quoting his dad’s unheard of WASP work ethic that if you work hard you can have whatever you want (conveniently leaving out how this is only valid if you’re not a disadvantaged minority, poor, a threat to the status quo, or living in a third-world country). He tells us he wants his life to be remembered by “how he lived,” not the “money he has made,” then hops in a bad-ass car and travels the world spending all the money he doesn’t want to be remembered by, showing us all what “living life” really means.
So what does that entail? Starting a worldwide charity to help lepers? Using your intellectual skills to teach children the joys of science? Maybe just getting through a shitty day without losing your fucking mind? Well, not quite; it’s basically expressed by being a goddamn fucking daredevil and spraying graffiti on non-corporate property. Jumping off buildings, going skiing, snowboarding, shooting lions, staying at 5-star resorts, and all sorts of Pepsi Max shit. Cus hey, Bro! You could die any day jumping off a bridge! So you should jump off more bridges before that day comes! He lets us know how his dad gave him this advice and how they are best buddies. We even see him in a totally not-fake way looking at a picture of him and dad being best buddies, smiling that not-unnatural smile of “ahh shucks dad you’re the greatest,” as he rereads a card his dad sent him with lines like “I believe in you and I am pretty sure you exist,” and other awesome affirming things to help remind you all of how average or shit-house a dad yours probably was. It appears they are serious arse besties.
What annoys me about this song is how a grown man with shits loads of money boils living life to the fullest down to going places and doing things only rich and privileged people can do. It also works on a vain assumption that he will, in fact, be remembered. Sorry, bro, but 150 years from now probably no one will know your name, as you ain’t a modern Mozart. All this captures exactly what my definition of living life to the fullest was when I was 12 years old, although he left out motor-boating a pair of giant boobies. Life is about doing shit that makes you feel alive in a giant pile of horse shit feed to us by various sugary soda brands and other “just do it” type of clothing manufacturers. Sure, do fun and exciting shit; I do all the time. The other day I crossed the road before the little dude turned green, and I felt so alive. So I do believe jumping, skiing, swinging, putting your hands up on a car you have just pretended to do up is part of what makes life fun. Yet turkeys like this guy are peddling the cultural distraction of “Me-ism” (which is a word I just made up) that is a big part of what’s stank about our current mono-thematic McCulture we live in. I know songs like these are for fun frivolous teenagers with the world ahead of them, not grouchy puppets living in a garbage can. Yet I still object and, yeah, I hate all fucking Disney princesses and most fucking Disney movies. So yes, I am exactly one of those guys. Sentimentalism is bad enough, but what’s worse is contrived and manufactured sentimentalism wrapped in shitty brain-thumping tunes. This guy appears to give the impression that he hasn’t awoken to the fact that he is a fucking activated Pepsi sleeper cell peddling a lifestyle that only rich, famous morons like himself can live. So yes, he can go fuck himself. Don’t get me started about another song of his wherein the moral of the story is hot models should live with other hot models, instead of dirty farm people.
Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo: Time of Our Lives
First, Mr. Pitbull, aka “Mr. Worldwide,” is starting to look like plain old Mr. Wide. His tux looks likes it’s getting a little small. Yes, as a corpulent 41-year-old man I can rightfully fat-shame whoever the fuck I want. The premise of the song is, on New Year’s Eve 1999, this struggling poor Latino family can’t pay the rent, so they hold a “rent party.” You know, it’s what most poor do when struggling with crippling debt peonage: they invite other poor people over to the rented flat to trash it and give them money for the same bills their lucky guests also struggle to pay for. We then see Senor Pitbull enter the party and steal from the “rent party” donation jar with a cheeky wink. Like being a complete cunt is kinda cool.
The song does have a catchy chorus from Ne-Yo with his gimp gloves, but that’s its only minor redeeming factor. Everything else about the song I really loathe in a colossal way. Again, this fucking message that life is about parties and having a good time. Really, for fucking who? Again, we get a Coke branding message wrapped up in a song millions of unsuspecting teens are going around singing, thinking they are making a statement.
So we get a fake party with models being paid to dance and have a fake awesome time. You know it’s fake; if sleazy Pitbull walked around any real party ogling at gyrating booties like a judge from “Best in Show,” he would be either beaten senseless by an overly protective boyfriend or reported to his parole officer for being within 100m of any under-age teens. We get a real feel for fake naturalness, and they include all the things you would expect at a fake real New Year’s Eve party:
- Token chubby girl being cheered and encouraged to dance while everyone applauds her on, instead of booing her and throwing mini-frankfurters at her.
- Token older persons shown just long enough that you don’t need to think too much about why they are there.
- Even a token guy vomiting for all of half a second with models’ hands patting his back, which makes it so authentic, as when I barf up a whopper in some stranger’s toilet I always find hot models stroking my back with a reassuring, “It’s ok, Ewan, get it all out, everything’s going to be ok.”
- Then the countdown in Spanish just to show how culturally sensitive Bullman is to his roots, and to make sure all those WASP teenager can join in, as we all know how to count from finko to uno in Spanish, si?
Then we have the lyrical content. Seriously, I should research how many songs in which he mentions squirrels and nuts. My guess is many, as “nuts” is the only word he can think of that rhythms with butts (C+C Music Factory, sue that arse-hole!). So we get Mr. Pitbull waxing philosophically about the cosmological constant, post-modern cubism, and not to forget girls’ booties. Young impressionable teenage girls watching this soon get the idea that, at a party, their role is to wiggle their butts and look hot, while the guys’ role is to ogle and leer sleazy sniggers of validation at said wiggling butts. That’s basically it, and whilst doing this remember life is all about doing that. As Mr. Bull says, “Not being dead is something to feel great about,” or something to that effect. Fuck that shitty menial job you have, and fuck the debt you clocked up on your credit card buying credits for Farmville. Fuck all the injustice, poverty and the emanate cluster-fuck that is climate change. Yeah, fuck it and PAR-TEE mother funkers. Let’s remember the 15-20 demographic are stupid and just want to party. Although, maybe they don’t. Maybe they are caring, intelligent and soulful beings, but if we play this shit often enough they might start to think being shallow and stupid is kind of a cool life philosophy. Thank you, Pitbull, for writing yet another shitty song to add to the gargantuan list of other shitty songs. Thanks, Ne-Yo, for lending your sweet soulful voice to yet another piece of auditory fecal matter.
I remember Peter Gabriel’s song “Biko;” I was about 13 when it was released for the movie of the same name. The lyrics, the tune, the way it was sung, all really impacted me, and maybe gave me my first political-type thoughts. He was singing about something important, and he made me want to know more. Same with Billy Bragg, The Clash, Disposable Heroes of Hypocrisy, Public Enemy, Midnight Oil and a whole host of other dissident voices of my youth that had great tunes and meaningful lyrics. I know there are plenty of contemporary bands and hip hop artists writing great songs, and I know that’s not just a thing of old. It just seems the deluge of shitiness just gets piled higher and higher. So to bring some balance and hope to this caustic and cynical article, here is a great song by rapper J. Cole about the shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri. It has everything Pitbull songs don’t, meaning depth, heart and an exploration of the relevant issues of our time. It is great to know there must be many 15-year-olds who relate more to this than the dog shit of Pitbull and Avicii. This makes my inner Grover really happy.