In the 2006 cult favorite Idiocracy, Mike Judge provides a frighteningly hilarious satirical look at what American culture might look like in the future. In the film, the year is 2505, everyone wears Crocs, you can get handjobs at Starbucks, and the President of the United States is named Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.
One scene halfway through the film shows a character named Frito sitting in his recliner watching television; specifically his favorite show, which is named “Ow My Balls!”
The humor being, of course, that “Ow My Balls!” is so unfathomably moronic, there is no way that could ever actually be a popular television program.
Well, it is with great fear and disappointment that I hereby declare Mr. Judge’s vision of a dystopian idiotic future was correct – only he placed it 491 years too far in the future; because today I saw this :
This is the “music video” for the new “single” Anaconda from “musician” Nicki Minaj. This “video” has been viewed over 112,000,000 times in the two weeks since it has been published. Those quotation marks are necessary to be able to type those words without dry heaving. While I hope that a certain portion of that traffic was driven by morbid curiosity and hate-watching, surely many million views were unironic and – dear God – enjoyed.
Go back and watch the “Ow My Balls!” clip, and then watch 30 seconds of that “music video.” Could they not be used interchangeably in a satirical movie about just how far down a rabbit hole of stupidity a society has gone? If Frito was watching ‘Anaconda’ sitting in that recliner, wouldn’t the message of the scene remained intact? The message being ‘it doesn’t get any dumber than this.’
Evaluated from any viewpoint, ‘Anaconda’ is a new low in pop culture :
MUSIC : The rhythm section of the entire song – and the complete chorus – is an unaltered sample of a previous hit song. Not a creative repurposing of an obscure track, not an artful manipulation of something common – just taking a full track from another artist and cut-and-pasting it into a new song. There was literally no music created in the “writing” of this “song.” The one redeeming aspect of this atrocity, though, is that at least chronically-unappreciated Sir Mix-a-Lot will get some royalty checks.
LYRICS : In case you don’t have the stomach to watch the whole thing, here’s some excerpts of the lyrical wizardry you missed :
“Boy toy named Troy, used to live in Detroit
Big dope dealer money, he was getting some coins
Was in shootouts with the law, but he live in a palace
Bought me Alexander McQueen, he was keeping me stylish
Now that’s real, real, real,
Gun in my purse, bitch I came dressed to kill
Who wanna go first? I had them push daffodils
I’m high as hell, I only took a half a pill
I’m on some dumb shit
This dude named Michael used to ride motorcycles
Dick bigger than a tower, I ain’t talking about Eiffel’s
Real country ass nigga, let me play with his rifle
Pussy put his ass to sleep, now he calling me NyQuil
Now that bang bang bang,
I let him hit it ’cause he slang Cocaine
He toss my salad like his name Romaine
And when we done, I make him buy me Balmain
I’m on some dumb shit
Yeah, he love this fat ass
Yeah! This one is for my bitches with a fat ass in the fucking club
I said, “Where my fat ass big bitches in the club?”
Fuck the skinny bitches,
Fuck the skinny bitches in the club
I wanna see all the big fat ass bitches in the motherfucking club, fuck you if you skinny bitches. What?
I got a big fat ass. Come on”
It’s always a nice touch to throw some references to both drug use and dating drug dealers in songs aimed at a teen and tween demographic. I will give Minaj some credit for a moment of clarity and self-awareness : “I’m on some dumb shit” is beautifully, succinctly accurate.
VIDEO : A whole lot of asses and entendres applied with the subtlety of a flamethrower. It’s not even the amount of sexuality I find offensive – I’m on record as a big fan of hard core pornography – it’s that it’s just so… damn… uninspired. Madonna, who occupied roughly the same shameless provocateur role in pop culture twenty years ago, at least managed to make her T&A feel freshly daring and new. Hell, even the animal kingdom was embarrassed to be a part of this trite-fest.
So yes, at the risk of sounding like an angry old man yelling at kids to get off his property – before I’ve even had my first prostate exam (a video of such, incidentally, would have more artistic merit than ‘Anaconda’) – this is where I bid adieu to trying to stay current with music tastes. I’ll rock the fuck out to dusty, creaky tunes from the 80’s and 90’s, take my place at those artists’ concerts as someone stuck in the past, and no longer twitch uncomfortably when I don’t know anything about a current pop artist being discussed or interviewed.
I always hoped it wouldn’t come to this – watching my Dad crank up Neil Diamond well into the 2000’s, I swore I would be the guy that stayed current. Nope. I’m out.
If you’ll excuse me, I have some 1990’s Public Enemy and Soundgarden to go listen to. Now get off my damn lawn!