This thing is everywhere, particularly on conservative websites. It was even quoted on Ethics Alarms.
1. It’s not true. Try not to embarrass yourself by quoting it, for “Wet Ass Pussy” was not, in fact, the “Song of the Year.” At last year’s Grammys, which gives out the annual “Song of the Year” awards, “Wet Ass Pussy” by female rapper Cardi B was not even nominated in the category. The nominees were…
- Natalie Hemby, Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey & Lori McKenna for “Always Remember Us This Way” performed by Lady Gaga
- Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas O’Connell for “Bad Guy” performed by Billie Eilish
- Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth & Tanya Tucker for “Bring My Flowers Now” performed by Tanya Tucker
- Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth, D. Arcelious Harris, H.E.R. & Rodney Jerkins for “Hard Place” performed by H.E.R.
- Taylor Swift for “Lover” performed by Taylor Swift
- Jack Antonoff & Lana Del Rey for “Norman Fucking Rockwell” performed by Lana Del Rey
- Tom Barnes, Lewis Capaldi, Pete Kelleher, Benjamin Kohn & Sam Roman “Someone You Loved” performed by Lewis Capaldi
- Steven Cheung, Eric Frederic, Melissa Jefferson & Jesse Saint John for “Truth Hurts” performed by Lizzo
The winner was “Bad Guy.”
This year’s Grammys have not yet been awarded, so “Wet Ass Pussy” can be called the “Song of the Year” by any measure.
2. Therefore the irony, the dripping contempt for contemporary culture, and the implication of corrupted societal values are only effective if one is ignorant of the topic. Nice.
3. This is why I detest memes, with political cartoons only a few laps behind in the race for my contempt. They are almost always intellectually dishonest. They are used as cheap, short-cut arguments by those who are usually incapable of making a legitimate one.
4. Of course, there are always exceptions. For example, I might well want this meme on my gravestone…
However, that one has no political content whatsoever.
5. Now, “Wet Ass Pussy” was unquestionably the most argued about and controversial song of the year. It has a huge Wikipedia entry, larger than almost any single song title on the web. It is typically referred to by its initials, even by Cardi B. (This seems strange to me.) Essentially the song, like a lot of rap and hip-hop, is vocal porn, which is protected speech. and the fact that adults get all huffy is one of the things that make kids want to listen to it. It is essentially the same phenomenon as the uproar over Elvis Presley, rock and roll, and before that, comic books and dime novels.
6. Conservatives went bonkers over the song and its predictably provocative video. The Federalist’s Libby Emmons gave the song a negative review—why would The Federalist review such a song at all? Who reads The Federalist who would buy or listen to “Wet Ass Pussy”? Did The Federalist review “Yummy Yummy”? Those who review art should never be individuals biased against the art form. Move reviewers who hate slasher films shouldn’t review slasher films. Someone who finds men in drag disgusting should not be a judge in a drag beauty pageant.
Other critiques from the Right just made conservatives look silly, male, and old. James P. Bradley, a Republican running for a California congressional seat, tweeted that the song “is what happens when children are raised without God and without a strong father figure.” Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro sneered, “This is what feminism fought for,” in a video that includes him giving a dead pan reading of the song’s lyrics. Of course, you can do the same stunt with hundreds of hip-hop songs. Yes, conservatives don’t get hip-hop and rap. Who cares? Certainly not rap and hip-hop fans.
On Fox News, Tucker Carlson also attacked the song, saying that “it’s aimed at young American girls—maybe your girls, your granddaughters and what is it doing to them? Can you imagine what it’s doing to them?…The people pushing it clearly are trying to hurt your children.” I bet research would show that somewhere a critic of Elvis in the Fifties said exactly the same thing, possibly using the same words. Viewed today, those critics look ridiculous, and Tucker will look similarly ridiculous in a decade or so. In fact, his paranoid claims sound ridiculous now, because it is ridiculous.
7. And this is the ethical problem with the meme. What it implies is that banning art that someone else is offended by is an offense to free speech and common sense, while banning art that conservatives find offensive is defensible. Meanwhile, the song and the children’s books are not equivalent, so the irony doesn’t work. If public schools were promoting “Wet Ass Pussy” to elementary school students, the meme might be justified, but they aren’t, and there’s no reason to think they ever will.
8. The meme’s real value is to show how our schools fail to train students in critical thinking and logical analysis, so they grow up to make memes that mislead and confuse.