Last night, John Mayer’s Playboy article hit the airwaves.  Apparently, he is quite the racist, no?  I know.  He’s John Mayer.  But, let’s call it.  He takes something further than it should go.  I can’t even repeat it here, though I’d like to.  However, besides the N word, and the sexual references that go with it, he also uses the word *fag*, and *sexual napalm*…(what is that?  all i see is death and destruction).  He gives us insight to a psyche that he wanted us to see. 

I’m concerned.  But not for the reasons you’d think. 

Has it crossed anyone’s mind that this interview was in Playboy, who espouses one of the most sexually degrading philosophies of all?  I’m no prude.  I’m just trying to wrap my mind around the outcry from folk who read a magazine that denigrates women?  I know.  You will say…”Playboy?  That’s one of the classiest magazines for that genre!”  Really.  How is stripping or posing nude for money or getting conned into nearby activities “class”?  But I digress.

Okay.  So stay with me here.  He apologized.  He said he was trying to be witty.  There are videos out there of his perfomance last night with apologies prolific.  The music in the background reminded me of a tent preacher…you know, music to stir the soul as he apologized, and cried.

This is not the problem.  Or the concern. 

The problem is that, in 2010, we are still having this discussion.  Maybe someone who is 32 years old can’t reference what type of reaction this brings up in me, someone nearly 20 years their senior.  Because, this isn’t the only issue we’re talking about here.

Before we knew why…

  • Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down when I was 9.  But I didn’t know why. 
  • I saw a Vietnamese child in Life magazine running.  She was covered in napalm, burning.  And, I didn’t know why we couldn’t save her.  Or help her.  Or something.
  • I was sitting in my typing class in 1971 or 1972.  I was in typing class because my teacher said girls could be secretaries.  And that’s all.  But I didn’t know why I couldn’t be a doctor, or why there were no boys in my class except my teacher.
  • In 1976, I was in a college class when a man said something about being “colored”, and two black women stood up and said, “COLORED!  What color are we???”  And because I didn’t know the word colored was a bad term, I watched in wonder at their debate.
  • in 1985, people had to be put in a bubble, no one could touch them, because their immune systems weren’t working.  And no one knew what this *gay plague* was.  And doctors and nurses had to wear gloves, hats, coats just to touch these men who were dying.  And my brother in law, a gay man who slunk down in shame moved to West Hollywood, acquired the plague, overdosed on drugs.  And I didn’t know why.  Why we couldn’t talk about it.  And I didn’t understand it.

But today.  Today we know why.  We are supposed to know better.

And if we know why, why did a 32 year old man talk about his cock like it was David Duke.  Does he know what this means?   Does he know about David Duke, and what he did?  And, this begs the question, does he understand napalm and the murder it meted out in the Vietnam war?  Which means, if he knew, and he knew why, and he still used the terms in an interview, then he is still ignorant.  Or, he is calculating.  Trying to be funny.  And.  How could this be funny?

Yes, he apologized, saying he hurt the ones who loved him.  But really.

He can’t possibly know why…could he?   And that is the most dangerous place of all.  I weep for the work we’ve done, and the work we still have to do. 

John Mayer.  Is he our mirror?

5 thoughts on “Anybody here seen my old friend John? I just looked around and he’s gone.

  1. Well said. John Mayer is like the canary in the coalmine of our collective consciousness. Or is he? Maybe he’s just a giant jackass who was picked on as a kid. I’m 38 and have no direct experience with racism, sexism or napalm but I know this interview in its entirety disgusts me. If John Mayer is as intelligent as John Mayer says he is, then he simply ought to have known better.

  2. Never liked his music. Now, I don’t plan to. What a douche bag. And come on, I’m about his age and David Duke represents one of my memories of politics. Trying to be funny sounds like a cop-out.

  3. Sad isn’t it. The issue is that we (you and me) are old enough to remember things like MLK, school desegregation (remember when bussing hit L.A. Unified) and the like. Our juniors don’t. What is shocking to you and me is not to them.

    BTW, just in case you thought it was dead, there are KKK chapters alive and well in Palmdale, Santa Clarita and Sacramento. The Oildale chapter is just public about it.

    And, we’re fighting a war about religion in the Middle East and Asia.

    Sad commentary on the 21st century.

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