Klavan On The Culture

Katy Perry vs Reality

“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

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

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