Monday, February 25, 2013

We Saw Your Boobs

Seth MacFarlane sang "We Saw Your Boobs" at the Oscars of 2013 where he hosted the event.   You can listen to and watch the performance here.

A catchy song, and MacFarlane is not too bad at singing it.  I sat mesmerized expecting the bit where he would sing "But We Did Not See Your Willies."  You know, with the same listing of movies and the actors in them.  For each woman whose boobs were seen, give me a guy whose willie was not seen in a movie.

Because that would have been hootingly hilarious!  Well I think so.

Of course humor is in the eye of the beholder, like a mote or a beam, to mix my metaphors.  And it may well be, as these gentlemen tell us, that humor is meant to be goofy or edgy or subversive:

  • Seth Rogen and Andy Samberg, from the more Hollywood insider of comic camps, qualified their comments, insisting that hosting an awards show can be difficult, and that MacFarlane's schtick was about being weird than anything mean. Rogen said: "Good comedy is subversive." Samberg? "I always like the goofier stuff."
But come on, humor about boobs is not subversive.  Humor about willies would have been, actually, if we define subversion as going against the stream.  Like the salmon.

Now forget the rest of MacFarlane's performance (which would have been pretty good from any knuckle-dragger) and ask yourself what the meta-joke might be in the Boob Song. 

Is it that these serious female actors are defined as mere boob carriers, and that this is why they are watched on the screen?  Or is it a deeper joke about the men (I assume it's heterosexual men MacFarlane means by "we") who pay attention to nothing but bare boobs and are very proud of that, the way MacFarlane played it?  Or is it even something deeper than that,  a synechdoche for women of all types, not just those in the acting business?   The way The Onion tweet perhaps implied in that extremely nasty tweet about a child (though a female child) which was removed and for which The Onion apologized?

Nah.  I think MacFarlane wanted to shock.  That's why the built-in false-angry reactions by a few of the women mentioned in the song.  We are supposed to admire his gall at shocking those famous actors and being naughty while doing so.  Except that jokes about boobs or talking about boobs or pictures about boobs are not shocking.  They are boringly universal and impossible to avoid on the Internet.  There's nothing subversive about such jokes.  Indeed, they are as traditional as white sliced bread and Miracle Whip.

If there was anything subversive about MacFarlane's whole performance,  it was his perseverance, his insistence at sticking it to the female gender in those jokes, and most of them were like white bread with Miracle Whip on top, boring and bland to me.  "A woman's innate ability to never let anything go?"

I thought that women could never make up their minds about anything?  But perhaps that's for the next time MacFarlane hosts this show.  --  The point is, of course, that our Seth saw his audience as hetero guys, pretty much.  Perhaps white, hetero guys?

And yes, he was pretty mean to several individual men, too.  But not really to the male gender, as far as I could tell.  Of course, the default value for an individual is still a man, so it's hard to see what one man does as somehow indicative of all men, though there is little difficulty of drawing conclusions about all women from a handful of female actors.

The really interesting bit about this all is this, by the way :

To an extent, MacFarlane gave the academy exactly what it deserved. (And let’s remember, people, his script was pre-approved, probably by many layers of powerful vetters.)