Get PJ Media on your Apple

Klavan On The Culture

Katy Perry vs Reality

August 4th, 2013 - 10:26 am

“There’s a stranger in my bed,
There’s a pounding in my head.
Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool.
I smell like a minibar
DJ’s passed out in the yard.
Barbie’s on the barbecue.
This a hickie or a bruise?

Pictures of last night
Ended up online
I’m screwed
Oh well
It’s a blacked out blur
But I’m pretty sure it ruled!”

Lyrics to Katy Perry’s June, 2011 #1 single “Last Friday Night.”

In November of 2011, 15-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons went to a party at a friend’s house and got drunk on vodka. Though she remembered little of the event, four teenaged boys had sex with her and took pictures of it. One of the boys insisted that it wasn’t rape because Rehtaeh had consented. Rehtaeh’s mother responded that her daughter “was too intoxicated to know what she wanted.” It was rape, she said, even if “she was not kicking and screaming…” Her father said,  ”The two boys involved in taking and posing for the photograph stated Rehtaeh was throwing up when they had sex with her. That is not called consensual sex. That is called rape.”

“They don’t even know what consensual sex is,” said Rehtaeh’s aunt of the boys. “They don’t even know that the other person’s supposed to be participating and wanting it.”

Pictures of the rape “ended up online,” to use the phrase from Katy Perry’s unrelated song. Rehtaeh became the target of bullying. Seventeen months after the event, she hanged herself — and died later, when she was taken off life support.

“Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a ménage à trois
Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop
Op-oh-oh

This Friday night
Do it all again
This Friday night
Do it all again.”

Sure, why not, Katy? I’m pretty sure it ruled.

rehtaeh_parsons_klavan_8-5-13-1

 

 

 

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I am horrified at how many in this forum miss Mr. Klavan's point here. Just because this song is not the direct cause of the sad outcome of the 15 yr old, her glorification of the "hookup" culture is demeaning senseless and highly influential. She was raised in a very strong Pentecostal family. But she quickly jettisoned that when it did not provide with the cultural success she as craving. Her marriage to Russell brand was farcical and condemned by her parents with good cause. Her talent is extraordinary and as such she will be held accountable for her use of it to promote anti-Christian lifestyles. Old fashioned?? You bet. Married 36 with two boys who are now you adults. I feel bad for Katy every day.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Klavan is simply illustrating a link between the general depravity of what passes for popular culture these days and self-destructive behavior that seems to be just as popular. No one believes The Beatles' Helter Skelter was responsible for the Manson killings and no one believes that some idiot girl's pathetic song is responsible for a young girl's drinking binge, rape and suicide, but these things are all indicative of a culture that values nothing but its own ability to drown us all in meaningless malevolence.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
She's glamorizing becoming drunk enough that she can't remember anything. She's making it cool and heroic.

Those with the means and ability to communicate have an obligation to take due diligence in making sure that their messages don't damage those not fully able to understand the consequences of the behavior being advocated.

It's the difference between a sane and uplifting culture and one that's not.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (30)
All Comments   (30)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Excerpt from book of Daniel in God's word the Bible

" And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

4 And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.

8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.

9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.

12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.

13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.

14 Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.

15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.

18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God;

21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision"
...................................................................................................
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
First of all, this girl was breaking the law by drinking underage. Where were the adults? What about the responsibility of the girl? This is an example of misandry. There is a double standard. If the boys were drunk and raped a girl, would anyone buy the defense that they were drunk and not accountable for their actions? Somehow, that does not apply to females.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, she obviously was asking for it. Drinking slot.

Oops, sorry, just joking. I actually think you are no better than those punks.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
And if it just so happens that, whist her Father conveniently had perfectly established alibi’s somewhere far away....

These boys just happened to be found occasionally…one by one…. say, on railroad tracks, perhaps?….so mutilated that that no specific cause of death can be determined, and the case(s) remain unsolved?…

While their PARENTS somehow keep getting lumped up put in the hospital, after repeated, mysterious, random muggings?

My gosh, what a freaking coincidence..

I’d be SO sad to hear of such things, wouldn’t I?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Songs don't make people do things? I had dreamed for years of seeing the star constellation "Southern Cross" after hearing Crosby, Stills and Nash sing about it. When I finally did see the "Southern Cross" it was a fabulous moment. If that song had never been written, I don't believe I would have ever thought about it. If words don't "hurt" why all the attention about bullies at school? If songwriters start writing clever songs about the effects of drugs on the human body or the long term effects of STDs, there might just be a turn for the better.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Linking Katy Perry to this rape is wrong - but perhaps the rapists' defense team can pick up on this theme - "The culture made them do it!" Let's put the blame where it belongs - on the "boys" who did this unconscionable, despicable act, not on a talented popular singer. The song does not promote rape - and neither, for that matter, does the "hook-up culture."

If you want to complain about the change in values, that fine. Every generation believes the next generation is taking us to hell in a handbaskst. But don't single out one singer (or one song) to blame for this evil crime.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Except one not be worried about "kids today" or even Katy Perry in particular to see Klavan's point. What happened to Parsons is the reality of the fantasy Perry described. The reality isn't cute. Or funny. Or clever. It's horrifying. And ugly. And tragic. The song is what happened to Parsons. You can count angels on the head of this pin, but what Perry sings about is someone who got wasted and participated in the sort of things that Parsons did.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
NO I want to complain about the fact that people who think like you
are responsible for the decay of this society. It's thinking like this that
looks the other way when harm is done. You are not shooting par, you
are in double bogey land and would have everyone else join you there.
As society slips further and further from the good things, the good acts,
your response is "that's life, what ya gonna do" I totally reject that thinking.
Bruce F Moon, ditto.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Saying that, because I don't blame Katy Perry for this 15-year-old girl's rape, I am looking the other way when harm is done is total BS. I condemn the rape and hope the criminals are severely punished (although with our juvenile justice system, I wouldn't bet on it). I believe in calling out the "evil-doers," as President Bush might say - not blaming "Society" or "Culture" or some pop singer for some sociopaths' behavior. I believe in individual rights and RESPONSIBILITIES, including personal responsibility for one's own bad behavior, but not for somebody else's.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Klavan is right to put some blame on the banal pop culture and valueless values that people like Katy Perry get filthy rich off of by purveying amorality and self-destructive behavior onto malleable teens. Music has influence. Teens pick up the imagery and attitudes that the music projects and glorifies and immediately, almost unconsciously, adopt them as their own. That is the power of pop culture. And it all comes down to greed. Liberal greed. Pop culture icons, the vast majority flaming Leftists, want to absolve themselves of any guilt or responsibility that their lyrics and messages cause in their young audiences. Society, ie. rational, caring, thinking people, should not absolve them. God certainly will not.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's a special place in hell for those boys - but it doesn't give me much comfort.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am horrified at how many in this forum miss Mr. Klavan's point here. Just because this song is not the direct cause of the sad outcome of the 15 yr old, her glorification of the "hookup" culture is demeaning senseless and highly influential. She was raised in a very strong Pentecostal family. But she quickly jettisoned that when it did not provide with the cultural success she as craving. Her marriage to Russell brand was farcical and condemned by her parents with good cause. Her talent is extraordinary and as such she will be held accountable for her use of it to promote anti-Christian lifestyles. Old fashioned?? You bet. Married 36 with two boys who are now you adults. I feel bad for Katy every day.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Klavan is simply illustrating a link between the general depravity of what passes for popular culture these days and self-destructive behavior that seems to be just as popular. No one believes The Beatles' Helter Skelter was responsible for the Manson killings and no one believes that some idiot girl's pathetic song is responsible for a young girl's drinking binge, rape and suicide, but these things are all indicative of a culture that values nothing but its own ability to drown us all in meaningless malevolence.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can't quite believe anyone ever got a song this wrong, or that Mr. Klavan would also get it this wrong. The song has nothing whatsoever to do with non-consensual sex--it's about sex had fairly irresponsibly, but there is nothing to indicate in the lyrics or the video that Katy wonders if anything happened nonconsensually.

In fact, by acknowledging she chose to become drunk enough that she can't remember anything, she's acknowledging she has no grounds to claim what she wonders is "a hickey or a bruise", is the result of an assault of any kind.

In fact, that's more reality and acceptance of personal responsibility than most people who get blotto manage to scrape together.

In short, as described, there's no "there" here.

What happened to Rahtaeh Parsons has nothing to do with anything Katy Perry is describing in the song. If I were Katy Perry, I'd feel slandered by the idiotic assertion that it does.

51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
With all due respect, Mr. Perkins, the only distinction I can really see between the two is morning regret. If Parsons were had no moral base and thought her actions "cool" she'd be the girl Katy Perry is singing in the voice of.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Mr. Klavan is making the point that the attitude is so pervasive (reinforced by pop culture like Katy Perry's song), that it created the situation where the boys in the event didn't see anything wrong with what they were doing.

I'm not saying (nor do I believe is Mr. Klavan) that the song provides an excuse for the boys' actions, but it is a window into the culture of our youth (far more common than most adults would like to think) and glamorizes it, so that the next Rehteah will purposely get smashed at a party and wind up a victim of similar crimes perpetrated by other youngsters having their actions glamorized (by other songs, if not that one). The song serves as both barometer of the culture and buttress for the disastrous behaviors of both future victims and future victimizers.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Funny how some people believe that art can elevate yet never cause people to do bad things.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
She's glamorizing becoming drunk enough that she can't remember anything. She's making it cool and heroic.

Those with the means and ability to communicate have an obligation to take due diligence in making sure that their messages don't damage those not fully able to understand the consequences of the behavior being advocated.

It's the difference between a sane and uplifting culture and one that's not.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hate to make excuses for, or second guess Perry's thought process, but she can also be lampooning that mindset/lifestyle. I couldn't name 2 or 3 works of hers, tho.

So, Perry's glamorizing being a drunk airhead. So what? Do you think people really can't realize that it's a dumb thing to do? The act of elevating Perry's example of 'cool' behavior to any relevance in this case is what's actually doing damage to personal responsibility. Anyone who thinks Perry or her peers should *ever* be considered some moral authority or lifestyle reference needs their head examined.

Shoving ANY burden (civally or morally) onto Perry for the crap stupid (illegally) drunk teens do when their parents let them out of sight, or any other adult that's not their parents or in some way, actually entrusted with the care and supervision of these idiot teens, is wrong. Holding these boys, criminally, and their parents, civilly, responsible, is what needs to be done.

It will cause every work to require a body to review it to make sure that no douchebag lawyer can make some claim that his client committed a rape based on some stupid thing he saw or read, and is therefore, somehow less responsible for what happened, or a similar lawyer claiming that some work led to someone else victimizing his client, and therefore should pay his ginormous fee.

We get enough of that "you're too incompetent to think for yourself" crap from Michael Doomberg, Nancy Pelosi, and the enabler-in-chief, and I'm sick of hearing it.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"She's glamorizing becoming drunk enough that she can't remember anything. She's making it cool and heroic. "

She's singing about the serious consequences of her actions as well, that's hardly glamorizing it.

"It's the difference between a sane and uplifting culture and one that's not."

I'm 100% sure you won't know a sane or uplifting culture when you are looking at it.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's 100% certain that singing about waking up drunk next to a guy you've never met and having a ménage à trois and saying you're going to do it again in a week is not treating that behavior as having serious consequences.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
You must not be familiar with human nature, especially as it is exhibited by those too young to realize their time is marked.

That the serious consequences are mentioned is sufficient in my view.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All