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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


John Mayer: Jerk/genius

After the release of his interview in the March issue of Playboy, singer-songwriter and Twitter personality John Mayer received much attention and criticism for his use of racial slurs, his admission that his sexual organs are “”white supremacists”” and his discussion of his relationship with Jessica Simpson, whom he describes as “”sexual napalm.”” The entertainment blogosphere was all a-Twitter about the relative douchebaggery of the thirty-two-year guitarist, who has been noted in the past for “”womanizing”” his celebrity girlfriends and, in simple terms, being mean to people on Twitter. He has now apologized to his Twitter followers for the interview after an emotional breakdown during a concert on his “”Battle Studies”” Feb. 11.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “”John Mayer broke down on stage on Wednesday night. The tearful singer interrupted a performance in Nashville, Tennessee, stopping his track “”Gravity”” halfway through as the backlash from his recent Playboy interview.””

The article quotes Mayer saying, “”I quit the media game. I’m out. I’m done. I just want to play my guitar.”” In his apology to fans, Mayer wrote, “”I’ve been trying to prove to people I’m not a douchebag by not dating, by keeping my name out of Us Weekly.”” Mayer went on to apologize for using the racial slur, saying that he was trying to “”intellectualize”” the term.

“”It was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize using it because I realize that there’s no intellectualizing a word that is so emotionally charged,”” Mayer wrote in his Twitter-pology late Wednesday. He also wrote, “”And while I’m using today for looking at myself under harsh light, I think it’s time to stop trying to be so raw in interviews…””

Whether or not John Mayer is, in his words, a “”douchebag,”” he has navigated the media machine with suspicious prowess this week. Mayer is making headlines and selling albums, regardless of his personal merit. He’s not trying to convince the public of anything — he is trying to manipulate people’s emotions to sell records.

Mayer is obviously a talented musician and a smart man, as he displayed in his Playboy interview. The criticism of Mayer for being racist was blown grossly out of proportion, but Mayer knew it would be: He can play the new celebrity media just as sweetly and softly as he’ll play his guitar on his next chart-topping single.

Being in the media (and, therefore, selling records) is a formula, and Mayer knows it. Guitar + husky voice + luck = minor music star. Add the bad-boy attitude, womanize some starlets, get drunk at an interview and flood the Internet with quotes comparing former girlfriends to chemical warfare, and you’re on the tip of everyone’s tongues and “”trending”” — a Twitter term for being one of the most talked-about subjects. 

A keen student of pop culture might believe all that was authentic, but Mayer’s actions reek of public relations consultation when he not only broke down during a concert but also blamed the big bad media for victimizing him. Mayer said he’s going to stop being so “”raw”” in interviews, implying that the interview is the problem rather than his statements. Mayer is a smart enough man to know that he can’t talk about how much “”ass”” he gets and compare his ex-girlfriend to napalm without being called a douchebag. He makes himself into the victim.

There’s no better way to make women love you (and therefore buy your music) than to break down and cry. — He’s a real man! He can cry! He plays guitar! He can get a billion more Twitter followers! And he’s smart, too: smart enough to manipulate celebrity culture into hating him, loving him and talking about him more than anything else on Twitter — all in the span of less than 48 hours.

—Anna Swenson is a sophomore majoring in English who actually really likes “”Georgia,”” so long as Mayer shuts up and sings. She can be reached at

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