Saturday, July 4, 2009

Shut Up, Cunt! The Cultural Logic Of 97th-Wave Feminist Band Millionaires

Ladies: I have bad news for you. Feminism is over.

No! I am serious! Feminism - that is, the belief that women deserve full autonomy, full participation in the public sphere, and the right to make their own choices - is totally dead. No sane person can believe in it now. Why is that, you ask? Well, because SOME OF YOU - and I am not naming names, here - made the choice to participate in the public sphere by starting the band "Millionaires."



You know, Millionaires, I have some thoughts about this video. My thoughts are: WHAT.

Millionaires has been around for a year or more, apparently! Sometimes on a thing called "The Warped Tour"? I don't know what the kids are up to today.

Now: I have been engaged in Millionaires Studies since 9:00 this morning, when the gentleman with whom I happen to date woke me up, with a manic gleam in his eye, and was like, "ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE A BLOG POST ABOUT MILLIONAIRES? YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO IT. YOU SHOULD WRITE A BLOG POST ABOUT MILLIONAIRES. LOOK AT THIS MILLIONAIRES VIDEO I HAVE SEEN." Also he showed me videos by Brokencyde and Attack Attack? I don't get him.

Now: I will, indeed, write a blog post about Millionaires. ("CALL IT 'MILLIONAIRES: THE CULTURAL LOGIC OF LATE CAPITALISM!'" No.) Because one of the most interesting things about Millionaires is that many of their songs are about how much people hate the music of the band Millionaires! The people that they envision as "haters" of the band Millionaires are, specifically, girls.

They have an entire song about this! It is called, "Talk Shit," and it is available on their MySpace! Which is kind of what it would look like if one of those girls who self-tans a lot and wears the Playboy bunny shirts vomited out 19 apple martinis and also the contents of her subconscious onto your face! It has done a lot for me, in terms of illustrating how any dialogue with Millionaires might go.



"Seriously, Millionares: WHAT?" I would say. "Shut up, cunt! I'll cut your tongue," Millionaires would say. "Again, WHAT?" I would say. "I fucked your son," they'd say. "I don't even have a son! That makes no sense," I would reply! "You can get [your boyfriend] back; look like this and fuck like that," would be Millionaires' response.

That's where things would get serious. Because, seriously, Millionaires: what is up? Why all of the references to girls who think you are "annoying" because they are "jealous?" Do you really think that all of the women who have issues with you are upset because THEY are not the ones paying half-naked black men to play strippers who pour champagne directly from bottles into their mouths in what is more or less a direct rip from porn (THE BOTTLES SYMBOLIZE PENISES)? Is the problem just that we all wish we could be huge racists? Because I do not think that is the problem, actually, Millionaires.

I think the problem is that when you are including lyrics like "no talent, just lucky, they still want to fuck me" in your singles you are basically saying that there is nothing good about you outside of the fact that boys want to touch you with their boners, and selling your fuckability as literally the only valuable thing about your person - the badge of your worth, and the sum total of your accomplishment, in fact. Whereas a whole bunch of us are not so convinced. We know that you are actually probably having unsatisfying two-minute hump sessions with dudes who think that Brokencyde is the sound of their souls and also don't want to use condoms because they might extend the hump sessions past two minutes, which would be AWFUL. We are not "jealous" of this! You will never believe it, but "jealousy" is actually the very last thing we experience when faced with such a prospect!

But that makes us cunts, right? Whereas the guys who are doing you or determining you to be a candidate for doing based on the fact that you pour play money over your boobs are totally awesome. Those are the dudes who are going to be there for you when the chips are down. Those are the people whose good opinion and respect and friendship it is not only desirable, but totally possible, to obtain.

Bad news, ladies: you're cunts, too. We're all cunts, to those guys. We're either cunts they're going to fuck, or cunts they used to fuck (SHE WAS A PSYCHO, BRO. SHE GOT ALL MAD JUST BECAUSE I SLEPT WITH A BUNCH OF OTHER GIRLS AND DIDN'T TELL HER ABOUT IT) or cunts they don't want to fuck, which are the worst cunts of all, of course, because the cunts they don't want to fuck often scare the shit out of them, due to the fact that those cunts don't constantly send out signals indicating that it would just be the bestest thing ever if boys such as themselves would honor them with a boner. And this is a survival tactic, for many cunts of the latter category: we're actually, purposefully, trying to scare those guys off, so that we can determine which ones get freaked out by women who act like people, and maybe eventually end up dating ones who don't get freaked out, who not only sleep with us and maybe have feelings for us that are of the romantical nature but actually like us, the way you would like a person.

Millionaires? Are you listening to me, young ladies? This is the voice of wisdom! I am TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD, so I can speak to the younger generation!



Oh, Jesus. "Let's get fucked up?" This is not even a lyric. This is a vague mission plan for what a lyric might be, should you ever get around to writing lyrics. This is like if Nirvana (a band the old people once enjoyed!) wrote a song called "Let's Do A Lot Of Heroin And Be Depressed." It is like if there were a Ramones song called "This Is A Limited Number of Simple Chords, Played Really Really Fast." If Eddie Vedder ever wrote a song called "I Will Now Bellow Earnestly Into Your Ear," that is the equivalent of this lyric, I am telling you. Millionaires: WHAT?



You're twelve years old. You're twelve years old, aren't you? Only a twelve-year-old thinks of White Zinfandel as the height of alcoholic debauchery. Well: you are either twelve years old, or my mom.

30 comments:

  1. Oh, Jesus. "Let's get fucked up?" This is not even a lyric. This is a vague mission plan for what a lyric might be, should you ever get around to writing lyrics. This is like if Nirvana (a band the old people once enjoyed!) wrote a song called "Let's Do A Lot Of Heroin And Be Depressed." It is like if there were a Ramones song called "This Is A Limited Number of Simple Chords, Played Really Really Fast." If Eddie Vedder ever wrote a song called "I Will Now Bellow Earnestly Into Your Ear," that is the equivalent of this lyric, I am telling you. Millionaires: WHAT?

    I love you. I want to have, like, ten thousand of your babies.

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  2. I, for one, won't venture to explain the Millionaires' mindset. But I would like to know more about this keyboardist in the second video. Do you suppose that being the Millionaires' keyboardist is his career? His life's ambition? Or that he is a starving artist and this gig alone hept him in ramen noodles in a difficult time? Perhaps the most intriguing possibility is that he dating a Millionaire, which is surely either the cause or substance of karmic punishment.

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  3. I would like to have ten thousand more of your babies. I am so glad that the first time I heard of this "band" was while reading this post.

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  4. Interesting. I'd never seen or heard of this group before, but after watching your first embed, I assumed it was satire: three women playing the "male" role. They behaved like "typical" urban rap stars, rolling in money, drinking a lot, while the men were the desired sexual objects with no voice, and often, no heads.

    I'm not sure if there was a racist angle (that may just be white privilege speaking). Yes, there were black men being objectified, but there were white men objectified as well - in fact, it was the white men who were leashed up and treated as pets. Taken as satire - the flipping of "normal" sexual roles - I didn't find this racist, just diverse. Both black and white men use women as sexual objects - ornaments - in musical videos. I just read that as having the tables turned on them.

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  5. It's also interesting to me that the comments on the YouTube video reflect that "tables turning" seems to be what the average YouTube viewer is reacting to. The women are acting as the sexual desirers (rather than just the desired) and they are being reviled as undesirable skanks, hos, and disease ridden, while of course other videos with the genders flipped are "cool", the men studly, and the women HAAWWWTT and desirable.

    On the other hand, after hearing some of the other songs you posted, I have to wonder why they are attacking other women for their supposed disapproval, given that it seems like young men are their most active disapprovers. Or maybe that was just the one video. I'm curious, but not curious enough to actually investigate this. :-)

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  6. Yowza, that's some serious bulllshit. In parts of that first song, it sounds kind of like they are modeling their vocal stylings on Mindless Self-Indulgence, which just makes me think more about the fact that male singers often say things like "Bitches love me 'cause they know that I can rock," (even if they do also acknowledge that the bitches enjoy their ability to fuck), whereas obviously bitches themselves, even when making music, cannot claim to have any kind of skills outside of sexin' and lookin' good.

    Also, seriously? A pillow fight? Come on.

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  7. I hate it when people use "cunt" as an insult. I LOVE my cunt. Why would I use it as an insult? Baffling.

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  8. So, I take it that if you mixed together the essences of one-hit wonders Daphne and Celeste, Eric Cartman from South Park, softcore porn and Youtube commentary, the result would be the Millionaires?

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  9. I couldn't watch! I did try, but the first one was just so awful. The saddest bit is that I likely would've lol'd in my youth, before I understood that this faux empowerment turn-the-tables business just brings everyone down to a much lower level. Thank goodness it was all Bjork "Here I Shall Make Nonsensical Noises That Vaguely Remind You of Yodeling" and Ani "I Will Sing You Beautiful Lyrics But They Will All Be About Relationships Even Though I Am A Feminist Icon" Difranco in my day.

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  10. from what I could get from their bios they made some songs in Garage band, this is just one more reason why it shouldn't be free with every mac.

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  11. Wow. I am a longtime lurking fan of this blog now breaking my silence to warn your readers of another danger posed by the nightmare that is 'Just got paid, let's get laid:' I watched the video this morning before work and have had the chorus stuck in my head all damn day! Be warned!

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  12. I must warn your readers about another danger posed by the nightmare that is "I just got paid, let's get laid:" I watched this video before going to work this morning, and the chorus has been stuck in my head all damn day! (Coincidentally my office is populated by women who might already consider this song an anthem.)

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  13. You know what, Kate? My head was blissfully free of that chorus until you mentioned that it got stuck in yours, and now I find myself humming it as I'm trying to enjoy some idle net-surfing. So thanks a lot for your "warning." Grrr, I am so angry, no I'm not really just kidding! But it really is stuck in my head now. So my warning is: don't read Kate's warning, which, if you're reading this, you probably already did, so nevermind.

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  14. They were born to back up Sarah Pallin in her new career as Person In Media! SP has warned the Media that she is now Person IN Media, not a person who is media abused.

    Love, C.

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  15. Isn't the legal age for alcohol consumption in the states twenty-one? Aren't they, hm, my age, which would make them about twenty tops, wouldn't that make the vast majority of this song pointless?

    After seeing on this on the efagz community on livejournal for a few months I was wondering when it was going to end up here or somewhere similar. Tripe. Utter tripe.

    It bothers me that it's because of girls/women (age unknown!) that I as a female musician don't get taken seriously.
    Argh.

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  16. Once upon a time, my roommate told me about this music video I would just abso-fucking-lutely love (My Humps). At the time I thought it was one of the greatest travesties to ever pretend to be music (still gets randomly stuck in my head on occasion).

    But now I feel the urge to go and apologize to the BlackEyedPeas. Because this reaches an incomparable level of pop horror.

    And Kate, your warning came to late. I watched the first video all the way to the end - hoping there would be a punchline. Now I will forever suffer. At least until something worse comes along to dethrone this moment of music-ish agony (I say 'ish' because it's debatable that this even really qualifies as a song. It's more a repetitive screech of internalized misogyny).

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  17. "Girls talk shit, we don't care, we'll take off our underwear!"

    Me-Millionaires, you are awful, shreiking talent-vacuums, insulting to the collective intelligence of your target market and one of you appears to be a badly-downloaded copy of another one of you, rendering your videos very confusing.
    Millionaires--remove underwear-
    Me...Ah, I see. Therefore all my points are invalid.

    A cunning tactic indeed.

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  18. Thankfully, the comments on YouTube resembled that of Sady's and the poeple commenting here. It's all sad rather than funny... *sigh*

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  19. @Constant Reader and Orestes: Please notify me of your identities, that I may pay you one million dollars for your commentary.

    @Wondering: Well - the reason I think the black man in the video is racialized is that he's framed as somehow more virile and active than the white men. He does more TO Millionaires, whereas the white men (who are scrawnier and more Pete-Wentzy) have things done to THEM by Milionaires. Also, they're put on leashes and treated like "dogs" and "slaves" in a way that the director of the video maybe had the good sense to recognize would not play, should a bunch of girls who look white do it to a black man.

    But, yeah: there's a lot going on there, in terms of race and power and who has the power to purchase or control the sexuality of whom, but for right now, I'll say that the black man in the video is hypersexualized in a stereotypical way but also framed as a commodity who can be purchased. And that lit up little red warning signs in my brain.

    ANNNNNNNNNYway, about the "turning-the-tables" question: you can't, ever, really, just "turn the tables." Oppression and privilege are too complex to just be REVERSED. And, for me, the YouTube comments (including a really depressing number of dudes who've weighed in to share their personal desire to rape Millionaires) just demonstrate that internalizing your oppression doesn't magically get you into the Oppressors Club. You can either be TOO sexual and worthless or not sexual ENOUGH and worthless: either way, your sexuality or "attractiveness" can be called into play as the determining factor of your human worth, and you don't have control over when that happens or who does it to you or what they determine. Nor is there really a good outcome possible for you when that process starts. At best, you get acceptance contingent on continuing "good" (whatever that happens to be at the moment) sexual behavior.

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  20. This is like if Nirvana (a band the old people once enjoyed!) wrote a song called "Let's Do A Lot Of Heroin And Be Depressed." It is like if there were a Ramones song called "This Is A Limited Number of Simple Chords, Played Really Really Fast." If Eddie Vedder ever wrote a song called "I Will Now Bellow Earnestly Into Your Ear," that is the equivalent of this lyric, I am telling you. Millionaires: WHAT?

    I love this entire post with wild passionate abandon, but this part...I wanna do your taxes.

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  21. Eighteen kinds of awesome right here. Amen!

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  22. Oh, my. I am absolutely in love with this post. You are awesome.

    Also? I am really, really sorry that you had to listen to brokeNCYDE. I don't get them either.

    Maybe I'm just too old, but I don't see the appeal of a group of pimply anime rejects with godawful clothing singing utterly dull, pedestrian songs laced with faux-gangsta posturing and casual misogyny, punctuated with some horrible shrieking noise that sounds like a howler monkey vomiting up metal filings.

    But maybe that's just me.

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  23. Yes! This is hillarious! Love it.

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  24. I couldn't, just couldn't listen all the way through even one of them. So, thank you for throwing yourself on that grenade, so that I may be a hedonist and enjoy all the wonderful commentary and mocking without having to slog through the pain of watching.

    I too would like to commend especially:
    This is like if Nirvana (a band the old people once enjoyed!) wrote a song called "Let's Do A Lot Of Heroin And Be Depressed." It is like if there were a Ramones song called "This Is A Limited Number of Simple Chords, Played Really Really Fast." If Eddie Vedder ever wrote a song called "I Will Now Bellow Earnestly Into Your Ear," that is the equivalent of this lyric, I am telling you.



    *I am home sick with some type of disease, and as such, make no garuantees about the wittiness or coherency of any points I may make.

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  25. I appreciate the obvious homage paid to the "Bring it On" franchise. The cheerleader cadences in "Let's Get Fucked Up" were on purpose, right?

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  26. I watched exactly one minute of each video, and then stopped, because honestly, I realized there was absolutely NO substance--at least, no positive substance. Watching the first video, I wondered if maybe they were supposed to be satirizing certain rap groups and pointing out how ridiculous they look, but after watching the other two vids, I realized that wasn't the case.

    Thank you--your commentary made this bearable.

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  27. you don't realize that it's exactly this kind of commentary that makes/keeps this kind of stuff popular?

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  28. I cannot thank you enough for writing this.

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  29. Thank you for this.

    I would love for there to be more all-female groups in popular music. It's hard out there for ladies in the music industry. But this. This is just depressing.

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  30. This....all of this.

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