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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Why I hate Katy Perry (and you should, too)”

    For reasons which elude me, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona has decided to bring Katy Perry to Centennial Hall. If this doesn’t make you sick a little bit, well – it doesn’t really make me sick either. But it’s still extremely disquieting that ASUA would bring an awful pop star to our institution rather than a more worthy artist. If you’re not convinced, or you’re unfamiliar with Perry, read on.

    Perry gained notoriety – I hesitate to use the word “”fame”” – with her single, “”Ur So Gay,”” an ode to an ex-boyfriend of hers whom she detests for being what she refers to as “”gay.””

    It hardly needs to be said that the use of “”gay”” as an insult in a pop song is a step backwards for gay rights. In an interview with blogger The New Gay Zack, Perry tried to backpedal over this speedbump by stating that her ex-boyfriend was metrosexual and therefore “”should have been gay.”” Imagine if the song were instead called “”Ur So Jewish”” and were filled with Jewish stereotypes, such as lending money, eating latkes and drinking the blood of Christian children. It should be obvious why most thinking people find this song patently offensive.

    Perry’s mockery of homosexuals might cross the line from patently offensive to mildly amusing if she could get her stereotypes right. But the metrosexual ex-boyfriend she mocks isn’t even that metro. How many metrosexual vegetarians do you know who read Hemingway? And since when are shopping at H&M and listening to Mozart characteristics associated with metrosexuality?

    Instead of mocking a gay stereotype, Perry has chosen a list of things she didn’t like about her ex, such as being interested in literature and music, called it “”gay””, and written a song about it. What preening drivel. This sort of self-indulgent nonsense is a common theme for Perry.

    Her efforts to take advantage of gender stereotypes don’t end there. Perry is certainly most famous for her hit song, “”I Kissed a Girl,”” in which she proclaims happily that she kissed a girl and she liked it. The double standard here should be obvious: Being “”gay”” is something worthy of mockery and derision, but sexual experimentation between girls is praiseworthy and special. It’s a strange form of sexism.

    Perry’s endorsement of casual, attention-whorey lesbianism is an insult to people who really struggle with gender identity issues. (For the record, Perry has never kissed a girl, as far as I know.) Adam Holz, writing for a division of Focus on the Family, decries the song for suggesting that “”sexuality is a malleable commodity that can be reshaped at will”” and encouraging women to adopt “”a damaging, demeaning stereotype.”” Take note: This is the only time you will ever see me agree with anything written by Focus on the Family.

    Smutty and vacuous subject matter like this might be forgivable if it were at least presented in a talented manner. But this isn’t the case, either.

    If you’ve never heard Perry sing live, do yourself a favor and YouTube it, or perform this thought experiment: imagine a completely normal girl with an unpleasant, grating contralto voice and no sense of vocal control trying to shout forth pop-rock lyrics. That’s pretty much Katy Perry. Remember all the high notes she hits in her studio tracks and how clean her voice sounds beneath several layers of effects? Away from the special equipment of a recording studio – with which anyone can be made to sound presentable – she fails.

    Perry apologists assert that her music, far from merely preying on gender stereotypes, is actually complex and introspective explorations of sexuality and what it means to be male or female.

    Perish this thought. In order to make a serious argument that a piece of writing has hidden meaning or thematic content, it at least has to be mature and well-written. Perry’s lyrics are neither, and the only themes that can be plucked from the morass of her music are self-indulgence and edginess for the sake of edginess.

    And this captures well the main reason why I hate Katy Perry and you should, too: She’s been successfully marketed as rebellious, in-your-face, and subversive when her only real qualities are dullness and attractiveness – things which are hardly reason enough for someone to ascend to megastardom.

    ASUA deserves a scolding for their decision to subsidize bad music by inviting Katy Perry. But there’s hope. If you haven’t bought a ticket yet, don’t buy one. If you already have, scalp it to some high school student who doesn’t know any better. Send a message to ASUA that they should bring music worth listening to, not trashy pop-rock that profits by bathing in egotism, homophobia, and faux sass.

    -ÿTaylor Kessinger is a senior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, math, physics, and black metal studies. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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