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No Alibi
November 22, 2011 2:08 PM   Subscribe

?uestlove is grounded. As the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Roots are known for providing guests of the show with impressive, personalized entrances. Last night, however, in an ill advised attempt at snark that has left some feelings hurt Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann entered the stage to the song "Lyin’ Ass Bitch” by Fishbone.

When Fox Business Network's Lou Dobbs came out, they played part of Genesis' 'Illegal Alien,' a reference to Dobbs' frequent commentaries on the topic.

TV host Keith Olbermann, formerly of MSNBC, heard part of Klymaxx's 'I Miss You.'

Kathie Lee Gifford was saluted with UB40's 'Red Red Wine,' a reference to the drink she often shares on-air with 'Today' co-host Hoda Kotb.

The performance was a tongue-in-cheek and spur of the moment decision. The show was not aware of it and I feel bad if her feelings were hurt. That was not my intention,” Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson said in a statement.
posted by furiousxgeorge (230 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ill advised? It was awesome!
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:10 PM on November 22, 2011 [48 favorites]


?uestlove is physically incapable of doing wrong.
posted by The Whelk at 2:11 PM on November 22, 2011 [24 favorites]


The musicians on Jimmy Fallon are under no obligation to coddle Ms. Bachmann, whose history of dissembling, making unsourced claims, and brazenly stating things that are demonstrably untrue, even when the falseness of the statement has already been pointed out to her. She is a liar, and that's easily documented. I suppose the only complaint I could understand is that the song has the word "bitch" in it, which is a gendered insult that I am not fond of. And I suppose there might be issue with the fact that it is her mouth that lies, and not her ass.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:14 PM on November 22, 2011 [135 favorites]


In fairness to Questlove, Michelle Bachman is in fact a lyin' ass bitch.
posted by zardoz at 2:14 PM on November 22, 2011 [58 favorites]


Well, given that there is no funk song titled "You Are A Horrible Person And Honest About That," you have to allow ?uestlove some margin space, am I right or am I right?
posted by mightygodking at 2:14 PM on November 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


I heard they tried to call a whambulance for Bachmann but the service had been discontinued due to budget cuts. Thanks Obama!
posted by Ad hominem at 2:14 PM on November 22, 2011 [44 favorites]


It was awesome, I know, but it is professionally ill advised to insult the guests of your show like that. There is a reason Jon Stewart is usually nice to Republican guests you know he wants to scream at.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:15 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Lyin' ass bitch" is a love song, essentially.
posted by stavrogin at 2:15 PM on November 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


if you are using your power and influence to make the country worse for women, you don't get to complain about sexism.

<3 ?uestlove. i sort of hope "grounding" means he has to sit in the corner. or that he has to play a night as craig ferguson's robot sidekick.
posted by nadawi at 2:15 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


So many conflicted feelings. On one hand, women in public life being called "bitches" is old hat and insulting, even if it's Michelle Bachmann. Other the other hand, she's a lying liar who lies. But the primary and overwhelming feeling I am experiencing right now goes like this:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Hee! HAHA! etc.
posted by jokeefe at 2:16 PM on November 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


When I saw posts mentioning this, I was thinking "shh, don't say anything, it's not like any Bachmann supporters will be familiar with the song."
posted by drezdn at 2:17 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not ill-advised, just stone-cold ILL
posted by penduluum at 2:17 PM on November 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Michelle Bachmann on Fallon: One Word (NBC clip, summarized here).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:19 PM on November 22, 2011


I'd have gone with Superfreak, but it'd be difficult to make sure that the caveat of "and we don't mean that in a good way" was fully conveyed.
posted by quin at 2:19 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, no, still not a fan of calling women bitches. Even women whom I disagree with! Even women who are dangerous to other women, policy-wise!

Fuck that. Sexism hurts all women, regardless of who the specific target is.
posted by lydhre at 2:20 PM on November 22, 2011 [56 favorites]


Maybe they should have played Springtime for Hitler instead?
posted by jokeefe at 2:21 PM on November 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


I dislike Bachmann pretty damn heavily and this she is an awful awful public figure, but goddam that is a stupid-assed stunt to pull and I hate that it puts me in a place to feel anything akin to a sympathetic emotion for that sleezy politician.

lydhre is correct. We don't get to say we'll don't call Clinton a bitch, that's sexist, but we can certainly call Bachmann a bitch because we don't like her
posted by edgeways at 2:22 PM on November 22, 2011 [22 favorites]


I don't think that was the show's proudest moment, the lady's propensity for refusing to back down from shit she blatantly made up nothwithstanding. But have you actually read that Starnes commentary linked above? It's basically, "Oh yeah, well you're a big smelly skid mark. And your mother's a whore!"

I mean is that representative of the quality of discourse on Fox News? Jesus Christ!
posted by Naberius at 2:23 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Few things piss me off more than seeing people who should know better talk about how awesome gendered slurs are when they hate the woman the slurs are directed at, and/or when they're fanboys or fangirls of the one responsible for the slurs.
posted by cairdeas at 2:24 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's frustrating that the actual meaning of the word "bitch" when applied to humans (complaining in order to get your way, like a whiny dog) is so appropriate for people like Bachmann, but this meaning has been diluted by sexist men who use it to describe all women who aren't doing what those men want. God damnit, men. I am so disappointed in us.
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:26 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it would have been a far better stealth attack, had they simply not done any vocals.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:27 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


if you are using your power and influence to make the country worse for women, you don't get to complain about sexism.

Well there's no indication that she complained about it or has even acknowledged that it happened, according to the articles in the post. And although I think ?uestlove is awesome, casual misogyny doesn't really feel that great even when it's directed at politicians that I don't like. Personally I would have gone with Crazy by Gnarls Barkley.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:28 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can't get behind them using that particular song. To convey the same message (though with a lot less funky Fishbone groove), they should've used Rollins Band's "Liar" and only the most shrill right-wing Fox News crowd could protest, but not on the facts as they stand.
posted by chimaera at 2:28 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry men have such a hard time getting along with women that they write songs with titles like that , but ha, haha, hahahahahahahahahahaha rofl. It might have been written about her.
posted by Cranberry at 2:28 PM on November 22, 2011


But have you actually read that Starnes commentary linked above?

There's an interesting bit in it that seems to take a position on the personal worth of actors that's positively Elizabethan. It has me tittering into the ruffled sleeve of my doublet, I have to tell you.
posted by penduluum at 2:28 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love making fun of Michelle Bachmann and I love Fishbone, but I'm trying to imagine how I'd react if, say, Nancy Pelosi went on the show and they played (for example) this Elton John song. I think it would bother me quite a bit. Ergo, not appropriate. In fact, yeah, not so big a fan of calling women bitches.

Then I got distracted by this sort of amazing moment where Jimmy Fallon sings 'Reading Rainbow' in the style of The Doors and wondered why he wasn't this amazing when he was on SNL.

I would be comfortable with them welcoming her on stage with this song though.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:30 PM on November 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


And it's really ironic that the post just below this one is titled "Women journalists confront harassment, sexism when using social media."

It astonishes me that anyone thinks it's okay to humiliate a female presidential candidate by having her walk out on stage on a television show to a song like "Lyin' Ass Bitch." That's just the same shitty hazing.
posted by cairdeas at 2:31 PM on November 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


It was awesome, I know, but it is professionally ill advised to insult the guests of your show like that.

Pretty much that. If it were me I'd be less annoyed about the "bitch" and more annoyed about the "invited me to appear as a guest in your program and then insulted and mocked me" thing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:31 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I suppose there might be issue with the fact that it is her mouth that lies, and not her ass.

Given the nature of what comes out of her mouth, isn't it possible that they are one and the same?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:33 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


NBC is not commenting and Fallon doesn’t appear to have the fortitude to respond. So allow me to fill in the blanks: NBC, you disgust me.

BRB, buying new irony meter. Old one just blew the fuck up.
posted by Splunge at 2:33 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


It astonishes me that anyone thinks it's okay to humiliate a female presidential candidate by having her walk out on stage on a television show to a song like "Lyin' Ass Bitch." That's just the same shitty hazing.

Yes, it's very sexist. But I suppose they were operating on the 'it's OK to do bad things to bad people' principle. Which is a bad principle, however satisfying it may be. Or perhaps they didn't even consider the sexism angle. Which is also a pretty terrible thought.

If the song had been called 'Lyin' Ass Lady', I would have been fine with it, professionalism be damned. The woman is a toxic blight, who actively works to make peoples lives worse. She deserves to be called out on it.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:38 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I love the dude, but no. Not okay.
posted by Medieval Maven at 2:40 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


i sort of hope "grounding" means he has to sit in the corner

He's a drummer. That's not punishment, that's moving over a few feet to the left.
posted by Hoopo at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2011 [20 favorites]


And I mean, you could also cover Lyin' Eyes, or (as much as I am not a Korn fan) Politics.
posted by Medieval Maven at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2011


i wasn't clear in my comment. i don't think it's ok to call women bitches, even women i disagree with.

i was responding more to something at the end of the first link where bachmann was asked if she was treated differently as a woman - and i was saying that women who make the world worse for women better not complain about sexism when it impacts them. it's like when hateful, homophobic republican senators complain about homophobia when they're caught toe tapping and renting boys.

i absolutely should have been more clear about that.
posted by nadawi at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2011


She lied about profiting from government subsidized dairy farms.
She also stated that she and her husband never made a penny from the family dairy farm, but her financial disclosure forms report that from 2006-2009 she made $32,503-$105,000 in profit from that farm.
She stated that then speaker Nancy Pelosi ran up a $100,000 bar bill on military jets when it actually totaled less than $7,000.
She stated Social Security is broke when it has a surplus.
She said that 30 percent of all doctors will leave their profession under Obamacare; not true.
She said that Acorn is a paid part of the Census Bureau; it is not.
She said that the president released all of the oil from the strategic oil reserve; he did not.
She also claimed that the president’s policies have led to the price of groceries going up by 29 percent.


So, a liar. Yes. The rest I'll leave as an exercise for the reader.
posted by gwint at 2:44 PM on November 22, 2011 [24 favorites]


I should be so lucky to live in a world where anytime I enter a room Fishbone is played by a live band.
posted by mannequito at 2:51 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


And Metafilter wrings us all another nice fresh glass of hand juice.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:51 PM on November 22, 2011 [32 favorites]


If the song had been called 'Lyin' Ass Lady', I would have been fine with it

Am I understanding it correctly that they didn't actually sing the lyrics? It might as well have been "Lyin Ass Lady." This seems a bit overblown.
posted by Hoopo at 2:52 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


?uestlove is the olny person I actually follow on twitter. Everyone else on my list is just taking up space.
posted by Sailormom at 2:52 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can think of several other appropriate songs for Bachmann's entrance, but none of them can be played on the radio.
posted by delfin at 2:53 PM on November 22, 2011


Am I understanding it correctly that they didn't actually sing the lyrics? It might as well have been "Lyin Ass Lady." This seems a bit overblown.

They played the instrumental part with the "la la la"s. No words.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:56 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


they should've used Rollins Band's "Liar"

Ooh, yeah! This!
posted by quin at 3:04 PM on November 22, 2011


Kinda shitty and not particularly clever. I can't stand Michele Bachmann in any shape or form, but to invite someone onto your show and then do this is low. It is a joke at the expense of a guest, and it is actually worse that they didn't sing the words and she didn't know the song. Be honest and straightforward in your criticisms, not underhanded and creepy.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:06 PM on November 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Didn't you guys nearly elect Palin, and have Bush jnr for a while too? I reckon this lady is a shoe in...
posted by fistynuts at 3:07 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cee Lo's "Fuck You" would have worked for me.
posted by spitbull at 3:08 PM on November 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Any candidate who goes on a late-night talk show and expects not to be made fun of is too dumb to hold public office, so I don't have much sympathy for Michele Bachmann there. Also, her lies are well documented, so I think it's mostly calling her a bitch that seems out of bounds. They could have made much the same point with Willie Nelson's "Crazy" (made famous by Patsy Cline), Argent's "Liar," or Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack," (with its refrain of "you lied to me"). Plenty of other songs out there about lying liars and/or crazy people, too.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 3:08 PM on November 22, 2011


> I reckon this lady is a shoe in...

She has no chance, actually.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:08 PM on November 22, 2011


Why are people assuming this is sexist? Perhaps they were commenting upon her husband?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 3:09 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't misunderestimate the public.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:10 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking truth to power is what we need more of.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:11 PM on November 22, 2011


On the one hand, I hate it when women are disrespected in public like this.


On the other, there's hardly a woman in the world that deserves it as much as this lyin' arsed witch.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:12 PM on November 22, 2011



I heard they tried to call a whambulance for Bachmann but the service had been discontinued due to budget cuts. Thanks Obama!
posted by Ad hominem at 2:14 PM on November 22 [8 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Everything about this comment is perfect
posted by heathkit at 3:21 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nothing about this is okay at all and everyone here knows it.
posted by Danila at 3:22 PM on November 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I would have gone with Carly Simon' 'You're So Vain'

Naaaah 'B' word not ok. Not o.k. Now something about lying, I can get behind that.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:30 PM on November 22, 2011


> I reckon this lady is a shoe in...

She has no chance, actually.


Didn't you guys RE-ELECT Dubya?
posted by gronkpan at 3:32 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


to invite someone onto your show and then do this is low.

I don't know; if you're a politician and running for president I think you can reasonably expect that not everyone is going to fawn and throw you softballs when you're doing a media appearance. At least I would hope. This isn't like being a guest in someone's house here, this is part of publicity blitz for her nomination campaign. Also if the band always plays personalized songs for guest entrances, her people probably should have looked into what they were planning on playing for her.

Not saying the song choice was a classy move or anything, but I'm OK with it. I like Fishbone and the Roots and if ?uestlove wants to tell off Michelle Bachmann on national TV through choice of cover song, he'll get no complaints about it from me.
posted by Hoopo at 3:34 PM on November 22, 2011


Ok, fine. I will bet you $500 that Bachmann does not get the Republican nomination for POTUS.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:34 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


But I'm not ?uestlove.
posted by grounded at 3:34 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't like it.

It's sexist. Sure, in Bachmann's case, I might shrug that those who choose the sword have no right to complain if they die by the sword. But regardless of whether or not Bachmann has put herself beyond expectation of good treatment in that regard, it lessens us to laugh at it.

It's true that she's a liar. But I don't really like making a joke of it: the lies are serious ones about serious things with serious consequences. I'm not humorless, but it seems to almost make it seem like we think it's OK, and invite her to chuckle with us. Fuck her. I won't smile with her.

Making jokes may be Fallon's business, but making sly ones that to go over a "guest's" head strikes me as shitty and says something uncomplimentary about him.
posted by tyllwin at 3:35 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was ready to say: love the song, playing it was not cool -- but they didn't use the actual offensive lyrics -- I have a hard time being outraged about lyrics that were not actually sung.

And the segment played based on the news clip is a wonderful riff. Fishbone is so, so, so, so underappreciated.
posted by artlung at 3:36 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


From the Fox News link: As for Fallon, what’s there to say about a man who earns his living playing make believe?

But...but you work...for...
posted by Roman Graves at 3:37 PM on November 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Ok, fine. I will bet you $500 that Bachmann does not get the Republican nomination for POTUS.

Not a bet I'd take, but a Romney/Bachmann ticket would put the business and Christian sides of the Republican voting base at ease. I'd be as worried of her being a heartbeat away from the Presidency, as I was when Palin was running.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:38 PM on November 22, 2011


While "bitch" as a slur certainly has enough baggage to make this distasteful, I think we can all admit that its gender connotations were probably not a significant part of the insult here. Somehow I doubt that ?uestlove and co. are sincerely of the opinion that being female is the reason she'd be a bad president. Is that an excuse? No, but I'd think it's at least mitigating circumstances.

What really grosses me out is the "some feelings hurt" link, the Todd Starnes opinion piece on foxnews.com. Apparently this whole thing is "no way to treat a lady" (a reference so clever that he decided to use it for both the headline and opening sentence), and Mr. Bachmann should defend his wife's honor by punching Fallon in the face.

No matter what you think of the original stunt, this is a person who clearly thinks a female presidential candidate is unable to defend herself from a verbal insult, and that her man needs to step in and respond with violence. And he thinks Fallon is the one who degrades women.

Between all that and the "what’s there to say about a man who earns his living playing make believe" line, I'm having a hard time believing Starnes isn't writing his op-eds from 1946 in some sort of right-wing Lake House scenario.
posted by Riki tiki at 3:39 PM on November 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Where was I when the ancient laws of hospitality were repealed? If you invite a lyin' ass bitch onto your talk show, you don't get to secretly tape an "I'm a lyin' ass bitch" sign on their back when they're not looking and giggle about it afterwards. That is so not cool and it has nothing to do with politics or sexism or holding the moral high ground for utilitarian purposes later.

What you do is, you hammer them with the right questions once they've sat down to talk and force them to reveal their lyin' ass bitchery from their own mouths.

I mean, yeah, it's funny, but totally out of line at the same time. And if this leads to a wider appreciation of Fishbone, I guess it's all good.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:40 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


At the end of the day, it's okay to call Michelle Bachmann a bitch, and condemn the calling of any other woman on the planet by the same name, because this is MetaFilter.
posted by phaedon at 3:40 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


> but a Romney/Bachmann ticket would put the business and Christian sides of the Republican voting base at ease

Ah, yeah that does seem a scary possibility. Romney hasn't hinted at her being a choice, but this kind of thing can get unpredictable.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:41 PM on November 22, 2011


> At the end of the day, it's okay to call Michelle Bachmann a bitch, and condemn the calling of any other woman on the planet by the same name, because this is MetaFilter.

Eh? Most people here are saying it wasn't cool regardless of her scary politics and generally crazy countenance.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:42 PM on November 22, 2011


Really? We must be reading different threads.
posted by phaedon at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It astonishes me that anyone thinks it's okay to humiliate a female presidential candidate by having her walk out on stage on a television show to a song like "Lyin' Ass Bitch." That's just the same shitty hazing.

The female part maybe. The presidential candidate part though... what country do you think this is? USians have a long and storied tradition of calling opposing candidates whatever that generations most horrible insult is. Which Fox News is actually the more recent (and most odious) manifestation of.

As for Fallon, what’s there to say about a man who earns his living playing make believe.

That he is AWESOME. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to have a job like that?
posted by JHarris at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sure, in Bachmann's case, I might shrug that those who choose the sword have no right to complain if they die by the sword. But regardless of whether or not Bachmann has put herself beyond expectation of good treatment in that regard, it lessens us to laugh at it.

I agree with you, BUT I don't think the only thing laughing at this does is lessen us in some theoretical way.

I think laughing at this directly leads to people thinking it's okay to use gendered insults to haze women who "deserve" it. In all kinds of scenarios.

I'm not against this solely because it makes me feel lessened in a nebulous moral way. I'm against this because I can completely see gendered hazing happening to me/my friends/the next generation of girls in all kinds of professional scenarios as a woman.
posted by cairdeas at 3:46 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Really? We must be reading different threads.

Hmm, it does seem about even actually. Kind of shitty.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:48 PM on November 22, 2011


Few things piss me off more than seeing people who should know better talk about how awesome gendered slurs are when they hate the woman the slurs are directed at, and/or when they're fanboys or fangirls of the one responsible for the slurs.

It's true, they should call her a stupid prick instead.

But still, that was one of the out-loud'n'est laughs I've had in a few days.
posted by FatherDagon at 3:49 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Prick" Is also a gendered insult.
posted by gronkpan at 3:50 PM on November 22, 2011


to invite someone onto your show and then do this is low.

I don't know; if you're a politician and running for president I think you can reasonably expect that not everyone is going to fawn and throw you softballs when you're doing a media appearance. At least I would hope.


I also hope that. By all means, invite her on and grill her on her dumb lies and hateful rhetoric right to her face and make her answer for it. My objection is to the smarmy joke behind her back; I have no problem with arguments.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:53 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


okay how about:

....Bachmann is an awful human being who deserves ridicule and contempt?
posted by The Whelk at 3:53 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was hoping somebody would make a good post about this. Thanks, furiousxgeorge!
posted by box at 3:56 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


But, but, but let's just be clear, she is a lyin' ass bitch. That is a statement of fact. The original song has a female guest vocalist (Lisa R. Grant according to discogs). Just look at Rihanna's album that dropped what, yesterday, she talks about making a dude her bitch in a loving way.

Also Angelo Moore plays a wicked theremin, which is somehow relevant to... how much of a lying bitch Michele Bachmann is.
posted by nutate at 3:59 PM on November 22, 2011


Supposin' you woke up, and were suddenly in a world in which Michelle Bachmann is a respected guest on a TV show as a presidential candidate, no less. Some weird, perverted parallel universe in which this was conceivable IN REAL LIFE! You woke up, and the only way you could react was with your instrument. Wouldn't you? Wouldn't you?
posted by stonepharisee at 4:01 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


In terms of Bachmann lies, evidence suggests she's not really seriously running for president.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:01 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think laughing at this directly leads to people thinking it's okay to use gendered insults to haze women who "deserve" it.

I'm not really sure why all of a sudden we're expecting this standard of conduct for musicians. I'm not saying give them a free pass, but honestly most of you probably dance to songs when you're at the club that are worse than what The Roots did right there, and if you have much hip hop (or even certain Beatles songs) on your playlist the concept isn't foreign to you. Those songs are ostensibly about someone who "deserves it", too. I can still enjoy the song, and even enjoy the sentiment, without caring for the choice of words or gendered baggage. I'm willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to others on that too.
posted by Hoopo at 4:02 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not really sure why all of a sudden we're expecting this standard of conduct for musicians.

Really? We live in a world where basketball players can't use the word "faggot" on the court. Maybe it will be okay if they mouth it, but don't actually say it, as has been more or less suggested above.
posted by phaedon at 4:11 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Prick" Is also a gendered insult.

Five points to gronkpan! Yer pickin' up what I'm puttin' down, no doubt.
posted by FatherDagon at 4:16 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, really. I enjoy a lot of music that contains the word "bitch" and a lot of music that when you really look at the lyrics probably isn't politically correct and doesn't afford people the proper respect they deserve. Yet somehow I'm able to deal with people without doing the same.
posted by Hoopo at 4:17 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, Hoppo, would it be okay for a bunch of 19 year olds in a freshman mechanical engineering class to play "Stupid Bitch" on their phones when the lone female classmate walks in, as a joke, or maybe just because she really is a stupid bitch in their estimation?
posted by cairdeas at 4:21 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was in a liberal arts program. In engineering do you get musical accompaniment when you enter the classroom?
posted by Hoopo at 4:23 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think the difference between liking the songs which may use such language versus feeling like it's difficult when one of these songs is played as walk-on music for a guest on a talk show is the former lacks a target while the latter has a target directly at hand.

When you're in the club dancing to a "bitch" song, there's no specific person immediately at hand which the song is pointing to. When you're watching a show and the same song is played while a person walks on for an interview, there's an implied direct object for the subject matter of the song.

That said, I never would have recognized the song if the name hadn't been pointed out in this MetaTalk thread, because it's not part of my musical vocabulary. I'm sure there are many many people just like me who had no clue what the context of the "la la la" music was. That doesn't make it better or worse, but it does indicate that there's an implied cultural wagon upon which people must be riding in order to get the joke/insult.

It would have been much worse (or is that much less sneaky?) if they'd actually sung the lyric.
posted by hippybear at 4:23 PM on November 22, 2011


Eh? Most people here are saying it wasn't cool regardless of her scary politics and generally crazy countenance.

There's way too many people here who're not only OK with it but OK with repeating it themselves (all flagged). I've seen a number of people, mostly on the right, complain about the level of hypocracy on polarizing issues like politics, usually as they're closing their accounts. I'm pretty far on the left side of the dial but for once I agree with them. I hope it's not a trend because it's ugly & I like this place too much.
posted by scalefree at 4:34 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


[folks, keep this all civil please? thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:44 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


?uestlove is right on. That lady is a Lying Ass Bitch and Jimmy Fallon probably knows he needs to do as much as he can with his show while he has one. Though if not for ?uestlove's tweet most people wouldn't have known about this.

She's a politician, stop defending her honor. She gave that up long ago.
posted by Catblack at 4:45 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


And it's ok for you to make it because you're in the right, unlike ?uestlove. Clearly, standards of conduct you expect of others don't apply when you want to make a point.
posted by stavrogin at 4:45 PM on November 22, 2011


gronkpan: “Didn't you guys RE-ELECT Dubya?”

Didn't you guys have a John Howard government for eleven years?
posted by koeselitz at 4:47 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry guys. Wrong is wrong, even when you dislike someone to the degree that many of us dislike Bachmann.

We'd all do well to think about Jay Smooth here, who recently exhorted us to change the race discussion from a "you're a good person/bad person" debate to a "hey, you've got something racist in your teeth" debate.

Similarly, It's Not Who You Are, It's What You Did.

Hey, y'all. You've got something sexist stuck in your teeth. You might want to do something about it.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:50 PM on November 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


presidential candidate

Please. My garbageman has a better chance of getting the nomination than her.
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on November 22, 2011


He is strong on foreign policy
posted by Hoopo at 4:56 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do you ever get a lulzy first comment on a Metafilter post and then the conversation develops and you realize your comment was kinda tone-deaf and stupid? So, yeah.
posted by thirteenkiller at 4:57 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think a university class and a comedy/variety talk show are very different beasts.

Bachman appeared on a show that regularly makes fun of politicians, no? Some ribbing is normal, is it not? It sounds like the ribbing was excessive.

I think given the relative obscurity of the song, and the absence of playing any offending lyrics, I'm guessing ?uestlove thought it would go whizzing over the heads of most of the audience; that was a bad bet.

What then, would be an acceptable remedy? Should ?uestlove be entirely fired? Should the Roots? Simply off the show without pay for some interval? Public apology? What redress will right this wrong?

I wonder if the reaction would have been different if they had instead played the Meredith Brooks "I'm a bitch" song which is a different take on the "B" word.

And I'd like to stipulate that calling people a bitch is not cool.
posted by artlung at 4:59 PM on November 22, 2011


There is a GOP debate going on at the moment, by the way.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:09 PM on November 22, 2011


They could've sidestepped the sexism if only they'd played instead "You Make Me Wanna Puke" by The Queers. Or maybe "If You Only Had A Brain".

Sadly, too few people know those songs.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:13 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, she lies.
Yes, she's been caught.
Yes, we're better than that and don't need to engage in juvenile name calling.
posted by Alles at 5:24 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


It is a truly horrible insult.

To female dogs everywhere.
posted by plinth at 5:28 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think a university class and a comedy/variety talk show are very different beasts.

Impressionable young guys who don't think about these issues are not going to get that far. They aren't going to sit there and think, "gee whilikers, that was a comedy show but it would be highly inappropriate to behave that way in my own life."

They're going to think, "Ha ha ha, all my bro's think this is hilarious, and ?uestlove is the man. That was an awesome way to show the bitch."

If there are no consequences to doing that, if nobody they respect says "Actually that wasn't hilarious at all and it was a fucked up thing to do," then these impressionable people are absolutely going to go out and act that way in their lives.
posted by cairdeas at 5:48 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


How many conservatives knew that song or what the title was before it was revealed? Gimme a break. This is a manufactured controversy.
posted by Renoroc at 5:50 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


How many conservatives knew that song or what the title was before it was revealed? Gimme a break. This is a manufactured controversy.

So it's OK to be offensive as long as you're obscure about how you say it?
posted by scalefree at 5:55 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


@Renorac:

This is a debasement of the political discourse. Would it be OK for Fox News to have Obama on the air preceded by Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta?

Disagreeing with a person is OK. Calling a person a liar is OK (if you can back it up). But do it to a person's face, so that you can get a response. Doing it in an underhanded way is not just subversive, but pathetic.
posted by timfinnie at 6:04 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I guess next time (if he gets to keep his job and Bachmann comes back on the show) Questlove should search out that other Fishbone song: Creepy Bug-Eyed Pathological Liar Who Uses Jesus to Espouse Homophobia Racism Torture Authoritarianism Pepper Spraying of Freaky Hippies, Work Camps for the Poor, Dismantling of the Middle Class, Eradication of Equal Rights for Women, and Endless Militarism and Fear*.


*Little known highly collectable B-side...

posted by Skygazer at 6:06 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


This only matters in a world wherein Ms. Bachmann is not trying to turn the country I love into a theocratic fuck-nugget. Fuck her and fuck this noise. Pro-tip: if you advocate the subordination of women on Biblical grounds, do not come crying to the rest of us when people take you up on it.

Go away, please. The adults have serious problems to deal with.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:13 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fuck-nugget being a well-established term in case law. Look it up, fuck nuggets.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:15 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


What do you all mean by "OK"? Something can be both offensive and funny, and while I wouldn't have done this myself I still think it was funny. Are you suggesting there should be some sort of consequences for him beyond your own decision not to respect the drummer on a late night talk show anymore? I have not seen a lot of support on this site for silencing people who cross the proverbial line when making a point. Witness the Mohammed cartoon threads.

Impressionable young guys who don't think about these issues are not going to get that far...If there are no consequences to doing that, if nobody they respect says "Actually that wasn't hilarious at all and it was a fucked up thing to do," then these impressionable people are absolutely going to go out and act that way in their lives.


Are you Tipper Gore? I mean, seriously, do these impressionable young guys not know any women? I grew up rocking 2 Live Crew, Guns & Roses, NWA, and Run DMC (yeah them too, they had that song "Dumb Girl") back when I was an impressionable young guy. I never went out and acted like Luke or Easy-E. You're taking the point a bit far.
posted by Hoopo at 6:19 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pro-tip: if you advocate the subordination of women on Biblical grounds, do not come crying to the rest of us when people take you up on it.

What happens to those of us who do NOT advocate for the subordination of women, when people take other women up on it?
posted by cairdeas at 6:19 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta ?

I dunno, when I'm proud of Obama putting one over on the Republicans (Hey, I'm not a total Obama hater) I hear that song in my head in a complimentary way. Is there a better soundtrack for Obama decapitating the Trump presidential run?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:19 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


What happens to those of us who do NOT advocate for the subordination of women, when people take other women up on it?

Uh, we do not use such language and learn to do more than two things simultaneously?
What exactly are you on about here?

Michele Bachmann is an embarrassment to the species. Not losing any sleep over any of this.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:27 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge:

Imagine being in the "contemporary conservative mindset" witnessing the situation I proposed. The ("media"-driven) outcome would certainly be different from what you personally think is likely.
posted by timfinnie at 6:27 PM on November 22, 2011


Are you Tipper Gore? I mean, seriously, do these impressionable young guys not know any women? I grew up rocking 2 Live Crew, Guns & Roses, NWA, and Run DMC (yeah them too, they had that song "Dumb Girl") back when I was an impressionable young guy. I never went out and acted like Luke or Easy-E. You're taking the point a bit far.

If you believe that nobody's attitudes and behavior is ever influenced by their surrounding culture, then there's nothing I can say to you that'll make a dent in that.

I think, like all of us, you've been influenced by your culture and you do the things that are acceptable within it. You aren't going to go out and act exactly like Eazy E because driving around selling crack all day and shooting at people probably wasn't a realistic and acceptable thing to do where you grew up. But do you believe you weren't influenced at all by casual misogyny? After all, here you are now on the internet saying that was ?uestlove did was something you have no problem with.
posted by cairdeas at 6:29 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh hey, I know. That was tongue in cheek. Fox is the network that made Common, of all people, into a violent cop killing gangsta.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:30 PM on November 22, 2011


[This thread is NOT going to turn into a "let's slam Michele Bachman by calling her the most horrible names we can think of" Have some class, or go to MetaTalk.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:30 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a debasement of the political discourse. Would it be OK for Fox News to have Obama on the air preceded by Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta?

Aside from the fact that Fox News is, well, news, or at least political posturing masquerading as news, and Jimmy Fallon is an entertainment talk show, yes, I think it would be perfectly fine. Obama's in one of the most powerful and consequential positions in the world. He'd better have balls enough to put up with some name-calling. In fact, I don't recall him ever complaining about the issue, whether in office or while still running for it, and he's had to put up with some pretty severe insults.
posted by xigxag at 6:32 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I reckon this lady is a shoe in...

...a human face — forever.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:35 PM on November 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


If you believe that nobody's attitudes and behavior is ever influenced by their surrounding culture

An isolated incident on the Jimmy Fallon show is not "their surrounding culture."

do you believe you weren't influenced at all by casual misogyny? After all, here you are now on the internet saying that was ?uestlove did was something you have no problem with.

Christ almighty this fucking place sometimes.
posted by Hoopo at 6:39 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


We're going to have to discuss this at the weekly Patriarchy meeting.
posted by FeralHat at 6:42 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just came in to say I saw Fishbone live in 1982. Yessss.

That said, public figures should be able to take this sort of thing.
With good humor. And a lack of internet butthurt. I suppose that's asking too much of self-righteous egotists.
posted by zomg at 6:42 PM on November 22, 2011


xigxag:

I wasn't talking about Bachman as a person, but as an effigy burned for the popular mantra. Whether here on Metafilter or elsewhere.

It does not matter whether a person has the personal fortitude to undergo a popular backlash. It does matter that the people make it OK to insult the candidate.

It would not be any more "fine" for a "news" organization to politicize the appearance of a current or potential figure through obviously biased music/graphics/whatever than any other organization that hopes to claim relevancy (and if they don't want relevancy, then don't invite candidates to the show?).

It's subversive, it's pathetic, and defending what happened as acceptable must allow all parties to be openly disrespectful and ugly, on national TV or otherwise.
posted by timfinnie at 6:42 PM on November 22, 2011


This is a debasement of the political discourse.

"This arsenic has contaminated my strychnine!"
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:43 PM on November 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Because I was afraid of worms, Roxanne! Worms!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:45 PM on November 22, 2011


An obscure meaning cannot be offensive since the target would have to look it up and study it before being offended. When she walked out, I bet she was all, "wow, that band is playing me a very funky tune. I dig it."
posted by Renoroc at 6:54 PM on November 22, 2011


Fuck you a thousand times ?uestlove (what a ridiculous turd of name) for putting me in the position of having to defend Michelle fucking Bachmann. Fuck you, hope that stunt costs you the gig.
posted by falameufilho at 7:04 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus, all the hand-wringing over what is really a pretty tame diss.

Bachmann can expect more of this, and not just because she's a mindless tool who has insulted far, far more people with way more obnoxious words and meanings.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:05 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


ZOMG: That said, public figures should be able to take this sort of thing.
With good humor. And a lack of internet butthurt.


Exactly. This is woman, who never, ever, ever, ever... lets pass an opportunity to spew the nastiest, back-stabbingest, inaccurate, mendacity, vile utterly vile drivel, every...single..godawful......fuck-ton whackadoo....time she speaks of Obama.

She has said things about Obama that are much worse than the title of that Fishbone song. She is divisive, ignorant and poisonousness, and yet, she is almost NEVER CALLED ON IT.

Good for Questlove for having the balls to do what very few in the media have had the balls to do. Someone had to do it, and Bachmann needs to be able to suck it up if she's going to dish it out, and parade her ignorance and hatefulness for the whole world to see all the time. The woman is not only woefully unqualified for office of president, she's woefully unqualified to be taken seriously under any circumstance.
posted by Skygazer at 7:05 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Fuck you a thousand times ?uestlove (what a ridiculous turd of name) for putting me in the position of having to defend Michelle fucking Bachmann. Fuck you, hope that stunt costs you the gig.

Please stop. Just stop.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:07 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fala: for putting me in the position of having to defend Michelle fucking Bachmann.

Why do you need to defend her exactly? Michelle Bachmann is a big girl. A DC operator who can take quite good care of herself, and for you to think, you have to defend her, is unnecessary, and too easy. The woman puts out poison, is it any surprise she would reap some antogonism?
posted by Skygazer at 7:11 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


She's ignorant, unprepared and her campaign is a sham. We all agree on that. But she's playing the political game by the rules, and one would expect she wouldn't be insulted in a creepy way, behind her back, on a TV show she was invited as a guest. She's a liar? Fine! Sit her down, give her a glass of water, and run through all her lies and contradictions and debate her. It's so easy, she's not that bright - it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. But no, out comes an idiot and gives her side some fodder for drama and hysteria, which just allows her to play the victim, and kinda deservedly so. Nice move, dude. The GOP should put you on the payroll.
posted by falameufilho at 7:29 PM on November 22, 2011


The GOP should put you on the payroll.

Why, do you get a referral bonus?
posted by joe lisboa at 7:30 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ouch.

Okay, let's all take a deep breath here folks, everyone's friends here...

posted by Skygazer at 7:33 PM on November 22, 2011


Yeah, my bad. Sorry folks. Stepping away.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:39 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


and one would expect she wouldn't be insulted in a creepy way, behind her back, on a TV show she was invited as a guest

Is that how becoming a guest on a late-night TV talk show works? I always figured your agent basically called them up and said that you wanted to come on their show and promote your new so-and-so project. Like an extension of marketing. And it doesn't always go well; Letterman in particular has been known to take shots at certain guests from time to time.
posted by Hoopo at 7:45 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


COED: I have a weird fascination with names and nicknames. You have a bunch – I was hoping you could tell us the backstory on each of them…

QUESTLOVE: [laughs] “Long story short, when I was younger, Tariq and I were trying to figure out our titles. I told him I hate nothing more than to be caught with a dated hip hop moniker. You can always tell what era of hip hop someone is from based on the nickname they have. Very rarely do people create nicknames that stand the test of time, like ‘Q-Tip’ will never be a dated name; neither will ‘Fife’ or ‘Keith Murray’.

But, in my case, I just wanted a simple question mark symbol, anonymity, like I don’t have a title. But the unfortunate thing was early on the media started calling me “Mark” ‘cuz they thought my name was “question mark” so it wasn’t until our third record that I added an old school last name to it, which was “love”. Love is the constant old school hip hop name; Big Buff Love (The Fat Boys), Run Love – Run from Run DMC considers his last name to be “Love”. But maybe after this undun record, I’ll go back to the question mark symbol.”

posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:48 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Does Letterman takes shot at guests behind their backs?
posted by falameufilho at 7:50 PM on November 22, 2011


Wouldn't the correct question be, does Paul Schaffer take shots as Letterman's guests during the show?
posted by hippybear at 7:55 PM on November 22, 2011


as = at, of course.
posted by hippybear at 7:55 PM on November 22, 2011


Behind their backs, of course.
posted by falameufilho at 8:05 PM on November 22, 2011


Fuck you a thousand times ?uestlove (what a ridiculous turd of name) for putting me in the position of having to defend Michelle fucking Bachmann. Fuck you, hope that stunt costs you the gig.

Um...how dare you be forced to see things in shades of grey instead of black and white?

yeah, yeah, I know, I've been harping on this string a lot lately
posted by davejay at 8:05 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


With some reflection, here is where I am. You can't blame Fallon and the show, they leave the music decisions pretty much all in the hands of ?uest and The Roots.

You can blame ?uest for making a poor decision here, but I don't think you take it further than asking him to apologize since he is generally an enlightened and progressive guy who doesn't buy into the hip hop misogyny routine. He was trying to make a joke, and he made the wrong call. Leave the joke decisions to Jimmy, like he leaves the music to you ?uest.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:08 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meh. I'm ok with it. Then again, to my ears "bitch" is a lot more than simply a gendered insult; it is, or should be, more specific. For some reason I would find "bitch" to be misogynistic if someone hurled it at Margaret Thatcher, because (although I'm no fan of her work) she was strong, smart, and had what it takes to play at the highest level. She was made of fucking iron; to call her a bitch could only be about her gender. It's Congresswoman Bachmann's odious antics that make her a legitimate target for such rudeness; it's the content of her character, not the content of her pantsuit.

Yeah, I wouldn't say it myself. Yeah, it was unprofessional and rude. But I'm not going to reproach ?uestlove here. Fuck being polite to people trying to turn American some twisted theocratic Hobbesian nightmare.

While we're on the subject, what does sound offensively misogynistic to me is the "that's no way to treat a lady" rebuke in the "some feelings hurt" link in the OP. No way to treat a lady? Starnes wishes "Mr. Bachmann" would "deliver his response to the bridge of Fallon’s nose"? For fuck's sake, she's running to be Commander in Chief of the most powerful military force in history and you think she needs a man to defend her honor because a musician on a comedy show indirectly called her a bitch? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
posted by kprincehouse at 8:09 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the concern trolling is strong in this thread, but I won't argue there. But defending her because she didn't expect to be insulted on late night television, really? She has the right to never go on that show again, and that's all, and that's probably enough judging by how deferential hosts usually are to their guests regardless of how loathsome they may be.

Does Letterman takes shot at guests behind their backs?

No; he does it to their face, which I'd expect is even more embarassing.
posted by JHarris at 8:11 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have no idea of Letterman insults people behind their backs, and I don't really care if an entertainer does something like that anyway. What I'm saying is that as a politician, either yourself and your image consultants/media strategists/whatever-you-callits should be prepared for a talk show appearance, what you're going to be discussing, and somewhat familiar with how things work on that particular show. I don't watch the show much, but I gather they personalize the music for your intro. And have been known to do this sort of thing in the past. It would be worth looking into beforehand if you were say, hoping to become president. Michelle Bachmann is a public figure in the national spotlight and is not lacking the sophistication to know that media appearances can be confrontational and can go wrong. She does not need anyone to come to her aid because Jimmy Fallon's band was mean to her.
posted by Hoopo at 8:19 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and if all this is a devious publicity stunt, I would like to apologize to The Roots for not mentioning in the FPP that they have a new album coming out on December 6.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:22 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Behind their backs, of course.

Oh, no. The equivalent would be if Paul Shaeffer took direct shots at Letterman's guests while on the show.

This incident happened right there, in front of everyone, right as Bachmann was walking on stage. There was no "behind her back" about it.
posted by hippybear at 8:46 PM on November 22, 2011


Grrr. Paul Shaffer. I keep misspelling his name. I apologize for that.
posted by hippybear at 8:47 PM on November 22, 2011


It was behind the back because it was an insult she would not be aware of.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:48 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe the correct term for that is "over her head".

"Behind the back" implies that she isn't witnessing the event. "Over her head" means she was there for it, but she couldn't catch the reference.
posted by hippybear at 8:50 PM on November 22, 2011


Then I got distracted by this sort of amazing moment where Jimmy Fallon sings 'Reading Rainbow' in the style of The Doors yt and wondered why he wasn't this amazing when he was on SNL.

just wanted to pop in here 150 comments later and say that clip was seriously pretty awesome.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 8:53 PM on November 22, 2011


Oh, no. The equivalent would be if Paul Shaeffer took direct shots at Letterman's guests while on the show.

You mean like the time he played "Don't Fear the Reaper" when John Travolta entered & when Dave asked him about he said "I just thought the show could use a little Cult"?
posted by scalefree at 9:04 PM on November 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm not going to judge ?uestlove until I've had the opportunity to walk a mile in his shoes. really, call me ?uestlove we'll set something up
posted by Sailormom at 9:12 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


You mean like the time he played "Don't Fear the Reaper" when John Travolta entered & when Dave asked him about he said "I just thought the show could use a little Cult"?

I think Dave calling him out on the reference, and Paul letting Travolta in on the joke, is the classy way to handle this kind of situation.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:29 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


On further reflection I am neither here nor there on a guy playing a song with the word bitch in it when Bachmann walks into a room, this is just further grist for the mill.

I am sure of one thing, she will not be president, she will not even be the nominee. I don't think she even wants to be president. This is all free PR for her, raise her national profile and rake in the crazy speaking fees.

For that matter I don't think any of them really want to be president except maybe Ron Paul and Romney and I'm not too sure about them. I think the party elders are thinking Romney is pretty much self funding, so might as well let the guy give it a shot if he wants.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:59 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the party elders are thinking Romney is pretty much self funding, so might as well let the guy give it a shot if he wants.

Yeah, I read something a while back about how the Republicans are pretty much giving up on 2012 and really focussing on winning in 2016. All this current sturm and drang is really just for show, and if they happen to win, they'll actually be in a weak position because they're going to end up inheriting a weak economy (which they've created themselves to an extent, trying to force Obama out of office), and they'll be in the loser position come 2016 when things still haven't improved.

The thing is, they'll probably lose, because they aren't going to throw their best efforts behind Romney, and he's the most likely candidate and has been for months if not years. The apparent plan is for them to lose now and dig in their heels with an even stronger "party of no" standpoint, let everything completely fall apart, and then get elected with sweeping majorities in 2016, just in time for the natural cycle of everything to start to pick up the pieces 8-10 years after the collapse of 2008.

If there's one thing the Republicans have been doing for decades now, it's play the long game. They don't care about the actual state of the country -- they care about reshaping reality into the image they feel it should have, and they're willing to burn down the barn if it means they get to claim someone else did the arson and eventually get to build their castle on its foundation.

Ultimately, when they do win with huge majorities for both elected branches of government (whether this happens in 2012, 2016, 2020, or much later), they'll take that opportunity to enact every possible social and economic policy they've been denied and have fought over for the past 50 years. They'll roll back rights for women and gays, they'll increase the free market, they'll cut taxes, they'll cut entitlements, and they'll succeed in their quest to prove that the government they have fought so hard to be in charge of should be drowned in a bathtub.

It's a sad thing to know, but it's the vision of the future I've lived with for some time now. The only thing which could possibly stop it from happening at this point would be if somehow between now and 2016 the entire fabric of our social and economic existence changed so dramatically and there was such a need for real action in a time of crisis that a new New Deal (whatever shape that may take) had to be enacted to keep the country from collapsing altogether, and that new New Deal proved to be so popular with the masses that it prevented the Republicans from taking power again for a decade or two.

So, truly, unless we have a crisis so severe that the Democrats end up putting on a metaphorical superhero costume and somehow end up being seen as saving the day and both being able to own the solution AND being able to put that solution in place in an enduring fashion, we're going to end up with some bit of really ugly times in the next generation or so.
posted by hippybear at 10:25 PM on November 22, 2011


Michelle Bachmann is a public figure in the national spotlight and is not lacking the sophistication to know that media appearances can be confrontational and can go wrong. She does not need anyone to come to her aid because Jimmy Fallon's band was mean to her.

Who really knows what you're getting at in this thread. But it sure sounds like you're suggesting that high-profile, controversial women are putting themselves in situations to be called a bitch, and the solution is not to sanction the offender, but rather have said women avoid these situations in the first place.

So for Michelle Bachmann, if she weren't blindsided, it would work something like this: "Well, I can't do Fallon because I talked to the producers and they're going to hum along to "Lying Ass Bitch" when I walk on stage. Guess thems the breaks."

Well you know what, fuck that. Public figures shouldn't have to avoid public appearances on network for fear of being artistically referred to as bitches, crackers, niggers or faggots. I'm sure you don't think they should either.

So I'm not exactly the word police, but I will stand up for the minority view when I know a place like MetaFilter would be losing its shit if someone held in higher regard than Bachmann were slurred on television like this. I also do not have the social expectation that women can be called bitches on network television by people working on the show and keep their jobs. Sorry, save that for your next fucking album.
posted by phaedon at 10:46 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


"okay how about:

....Bachmann is an awful human being who deserves ridicule and contempt?
"

No, but if you hum a few bars I can fake it.
posted by klangklangston at 11:23 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


But it sure sounds like you're suggesting that high-profile, controversial women are putting themselves in situations to be called a bitch, and the solution is not to sanction the offender, but rather have said women avoid these situations in the first place.

What? Why? Nothing I said w/r/t going on late night TV has anything to do with the fact she's a woman.

The unfair situation of not being able to appear on any network TV show you want is not unlike Obama refusing to go on Fox News a few years back. If you're facing the possibility of a hostile interview, then you're free to prepare for it and go for it anyway, and you're free to turn it down if you want.
posted by Hoopo at 11:27 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hoopo: “Michelle Bachmann is a public figure in the national spotlight and is not lacking the sophistication to know that media appearances can be confrontational and can go wrong. She does not need anyone to come to her aid because Jimmy Fallon's band was mean to her.”

The critical thing I think is being missed in your argument is the fact that I don't believe anyone is really concerned about Michelle Bachmann's feelings, or that she'll go home and cry her eyes out. I guess I'm not happy about anybody having their feelings hurt but there's a much, much more important issue here. The problem is that women everywhere are hurt when anybody acts as though the mere fact of someone being female qualifies them for insult. That's the trouble.

It's really tempting, I understand, to say, 'well, she's a liar, and she's a woman who happens to be a massive jerk, so yeah – she's a lying bitch.' But – that's a fallacious sort of reasoning that assumes that an insult is just a matter of addition rather than multiplication. It's the same if you call someone a 'dirty Jew' – saying 'well, he's dirty, and he's a Jew!' doesn't cut it, because the basic implication of the insult is that Jews are dirty – flat racism.

In other words, when you call someone a 'lying bitch,' that's flat sexism.

Maybe you already concede that; I can't really tell. Mostly I wanted to clear up any misunderstanding.

“Yes, really. I enjoy a lot of music that contains the word "bitch" and a lot of music that when you really look at the lyrics probably isn't politically correct and doesn't afford people the proper respect they deserve. Yet somehow I'm able to deal with people without doing the same.”

First of all, the term 'politically correct' is a bullshit term which means almost nothing and should be excised from common parlance. But that's a side issue. You hardly mentioned it, so I won't make it a big thing.

That aside, I probably like a lot of the music you like, and maybe some worse. I like plenty of music that uses the word 'bitch' over and over and over again, and like you I concede that it doesn't 'afford people the proper respect they deserve.' The difference is that I don't think it's worth ignoring this kind of thing. I don't give the musicians I like a free pass because they're musicians, or because they're 'street people,' or whatever. They're intelligent human beings – rappers, for instance, are intelligent human beings, often more intelligent than most musicians – and there's no call for just letting things slide. I take this seriously, and it doesn't mean I don't like their music; but it does mean that this is a point worth insisting on. And if I had any one of them in front of me, I'd tell them to their faces: this shit doesn't fly. It damages both genders when women are dragged down.
posted by koeselitz at 11:38 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Apropos of her Newsweek cover, perhaps The Eagles’ Lyin’ Eyes would've been a better choice (though admittedly not funk).
posted by blueberry at 11:57 PM on November 22, 2011


I was responding to falameufhilo with that koeselitz; it seemed to me he was saying it was unfair she was insulted on a late-night TV show and that he now felt the need to defend her.

The second objection was in response to the idea that any impressionable young man that sees ?uestlove cover a song from a fairly obscure EP released in 1985, for about 30-45 seconds on a late night talk show, without even using the lyrics, is going to emulate his supposed hatred of women instead of any number of other influences in his life. I think that is overstated, based on my own experience listening to Fishbone and worse; songs which while not used to serenade Michelle Bachmann are presumably written about some woman somewhere. Yes, the bad man played a bad song on TV. It was inappropriate. But I laughed. Something offensive and inappropriate made me laugh, can you believe it? You are all entitled to your opinion on that, and hell you're even entitled to your opinions on my mom. But I'm done here taking it from all sides, goodnight.
posted by Hoopo at 12:09 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, remember all those threads where we complained how Fox News and talk radio were ruining the political discourse in this country?
posted by munchingzombie at 2:34 AM on November 23, 2011


Well you know what, fuck that. Public figures shouldn't have to avoid public appearances on network for fear of being artistically referred to as bitches, crackers, niggers or faggots. I'm sure you don't think they should either.

False analogy. Those other terms are words for minorities. "Bitch" is a slang term for an evil woman. That is to say, the word's existence signifies by its exclusivity that not all women are bitches. The sexist connotation to the word is that it is a word only used against women, not the value judgement that it makes -- people can be bad and liars whether they are male or female. The bad part comes first, and ultimately, that is the part that is telling.

The word is bad, but it's not as bad as a term that dismisses an entire category of people by its mere existence. And it doesn't carry the connotation that you claim for it, which is akin to those days when shows would make causal reference to "negros."

I welcome the opportunity to be proven wrong on this.
posted by JHarris at 2:52 AM on November 23, 2011


This is 24 hours after the entire online right giggled with glee over an obnoxious and possibly racially-motivated NASCAR crowd booed the First Lady because LOL we hate that person who thinks differently than us. So, at best, congrats to ?uestlove for pulling a move worthy of people like Ann Coulter. We should all be proud of him for that. Really.

Meanwhile, saying that Bachmann is a "bitch" gets over 50 favorites. I get really disappointed in this site sometimes.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:26 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Bitch" is a slang term for an evil woman.
I don't know how it is in the U.S. these days so much, but when I was young I heard enough of "I don't use the N-word for the good ones" to last me a million years, so the bitch="evil woman," not all women, not good women – isn't at all convincing for me.
posted by taz at 3:35 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


That is to say, the word's existence signifies by its exclusivity that not all women are bitches.

By this logic, "drunken Irishman" or "thieving Gypsy" or "shifty Jew" are all in fact terms of respect, because they signify by their exclusivity that not all members of those ethnicities share those stereotypes.
posted by Etrigan at 4:21 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I recognize that, and it's part of why I don't think the word is fully acceptable. Still, I argue that the N-word is most frequently considered a derogatory catch-all for the race, while no one would accept bitches as a general term for all women. Some people might consider that different slight, but I think it is stronger than that. Does this make sense?
posted by JHarris at 4:27 AM on November 23, 2011


Still, I argue that the N-word is most frequently considered a derogatory catch-all for the race, while no one would accept bitches as a general term for all women.

You don't listen to much hip-hop, do you.
posted by Etrigan at 4:32 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Etrigan, comment 1: No. You misuse the phrase "term of respect," the absence of a negative trait is not positive. Comment 2: Admittedly, I don't listen to hip-hop, but I am aware of the general stereotype in that culture. You may have something here. I'll think about it.

I feel like the most pedantic person in the world arguing this way! But I frequently see people here on Metafilter, and other places, arguing past each other. I don't want to do that, I want to engage with opposing viewpoints and try to find a synthesis, if a valid one can be found. The reason I'm bothering is that I don't want to be one of those people who makes broadly dismissive statements without examining them; if I'm wrong, I want to know it, I want to know how I can know it. Not because someone told me it's wrong, but I want to figure it out. Maybe this isn't the right place for this, but if it's not then why do any of us even comment here?

I don't know. Maybe I'm going about this the wrong way.
posted by JHarris at 4:41 AM on November 23, 2011


Yeah, the last thing you want to do with a demagogue like Bachmann is give her a legitimate reason to act like a victim.
posted by dry white toast at 4:56 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think the issue here is that you're trying to tell people why they shouldn't be offended at something. Which rarely works well, and almost never works well when you're not a member of the group that's offended, and never ever works well when you're a member of the group that does most of the offending of the group that's offended. You're kind of mansplaining here, is what I'm saying.

However, I don't think that's your intent. So, that aside, "bitch" does not, in and of itself, in any way, mean "evil woman who is more evil than most women because I think the majority of women are good people," any more than "faggot" means "overly fey homosexual who is worse than most homosexuals because I think the majority of homosexuals are good people." They're both bad, and they're both designed to demean someone based almost solely on a single characteristic, which has the (not always unintended) side effect of demeaning everyone who shares that characteristic.
posted by Etrigan at 4:59 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


But do it to a person's face, so that you can get a response. Doing it in an underhanded way is not just subversive, but pathetic.

This is known as irony, which has been the stock in trade of late-night comedians for thirty years now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:26 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I told my wife about this, she thought I said that he played a song called "Lion Ass Bitch." Now I really need to let Questlove know about this, so that he can write this song before the guest is Cersei Lannister.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:28 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Lion Ass Bitch" is a c-list Chimera who you'll occasionally see in your straight-to-video sandal-n-sword extravaganzas.
posted by everichon at 7:35 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the last thing you want to do with a demagogue like Bachmann is give her a legitimate reason to act like a victim.

As I stated, I have a problem with the fact that the song used "bitch." But the fact that it will give Bachmann license to feel like a victim is largely irrelevant. Had she not been given a legitimate reason, should would have invented an illegitimate reason. One was or another, she was going to walk off this show claiming victimhood, and those who believe her would believe her regardless of what actually happened.

The last thing we should be concerned about here is how Bachmann felt about it. If we want to discuss it being a bad precedent because we shouldn't be calling female politicians "bitches" on television, yes, that's a worthwhile discussion. But to say it gives Bachmann license to claim victimhood is like claiming chum gives sharks license to eat fish.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:45 AM on November 23, 2011


Just to stir the pot a bit more, my daily aggregate news got me this: http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/11/bull-beware-truth-goggles-sniff-out-suspicious-sentences-in-news/

which links to this: http://www.politifact.com/personalities/michele-bachmann/

Bachmann not only gets caught stretching the truth (i.e., "lying") she gets caught stretching the truth more often than her peers.

I'm sorry, but I'm too old to give a shit about how a song makes her feel after the fact. My heart bleeds cold borscht for her that she (or anyone else) feels she was treated "unfairly" in this setting. She has a large, national pulpit from which she manages to say all sorts of things, true or not.

A house band on a talk show that slips in a few /seconds/ of a song to express there politics is a whole different scale that doesn't even show up on this graph.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:46 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


s/there/their/
posted by clvrmnky at 7:46 AM on November 23, 2011


The best thing that could come of this would be for Fallon's show not to have political guests, they just don't work with the overall happy-go-lucky tone of the show.
posted by drezdn at 9:05 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


...gets over 50 favorites...

Keep in mind that favorites aren't always in support of the thing being described; sometimes they're bookmarks, sometimes they're an indication of something interesting. So don't be too disappointed in us just yet.
posted by davejay at 9:20 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


bitch="evil woman," not all women, not good women – isn't at all convincing for me.

In the context of the Fishbone song, it was written and sung by Lisa Grant who I'm fairly certain was not talking about all women. When it was used as Michelle Bachmann's TV entrance music the song was used in a different context, but because I'm familiar with ?uestlove and the Roots I have difficulty believing they mean "all women" either. I don't think it's really a "precedent"--we are all aware of the type of shit Hillary Clinton has had to deal with. But it was problematic, and a bad decision that obviously offended people.

The Roots are hardly Too $hort though and I can't think of many Roots records where they throw that word around. I hope no one will pass over the Roots because of this, cuz they're a pretty great band and you're missing out if you do. Fishbone's pretty great too for that matter. But yeah, i think it wouldn't hurt to take this incident as a cue that maybe you shouldn't let the Jimmy Fallon Show inform your politics.
posted by Hoopo at 9:21 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


if you are using your power and influence to make the country worse for women, you don't get to complain about sexism.

It seems like any legitimate feminist movement includes all women, not only those who agree with them.

Fuck that. Sexism hurts all women, regardless of who the specific target is.

Or that. Well put.

I actually like Fishbone, but I'm not a fan of the lyrics of that song.

Think about how much TV news has discussed the physical appearance of Hillary Clinton, Madeline Abright, or Janet Reno (or Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi) through the years compared to their counterparts--Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, etc.

This sort of behavior, albeit pretty trivial, reinforces that sort of media treatment of women.

While "bitch" as a slur certainly has enough baggage to make this distasteful, I think we can all admit that its gender connotations were probably not a significant part of the insult here.

Ridiculous. If she wasn't a woman, they wouldn't have played that song. No?

I heard they tried to call a whambulance for Bachmann but the service had been discontinued due to budget cuts. Thanks Obama!
posted by Ad hominem at 2:14 PM on November 22 [8 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Everything about this comment is perfect


Except for the spelling. I think it's "waahmbulance"

In terms of Bachmann lies, evidence suggests she's not really seriously running for president.

Of course not. She was on the show to plug her book, not her campaign.

She has said things about Obama that are much worse than the title of that Fishbone song.

I'd be curious to hear what she called Obama that was worse than "Lyin' Ass Bitch." I know she's said stupid stuff like Obama lets the ACLU run the CIA or whatever, but what has she called him that's worse than "Anti-American" or "Marxist"?

Honestly, I do not follow cable news at all or watch much TV, so I almost never see or hear about Michelle Bachmann. What's she done that's as offensive as calling a woman a bitch?

while no one would accept bitches as a general term for all women

lol. yeah, no one would ever do that. or what Etrigan said.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:47 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gosh, I guess it's not like a lot of people define 'evil' women as women who do not comply implicitly with all their expectations.

Bachmann is a deeply stupid person who has no empathy or long-term thinking abilities. But calling her a bitch, however passive-aggressively, is denigrating her by using a word that makes all her bad qualities the result of having been born to the female sex. No, thank you.
posted by winna at 10:02 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well you know what, fuck that. Public figures shouldn't have to avoid public appearances on network for fear of being artistically referred to as bitches, crackers, niggers or faggots. I'm sure you don't think they should either.

What's ironic is that you're losing your shit over a human being who thinks gay people are "faggots", as much as the subhuman equivalent thereof, who either need reprogramming (or other forms of extermination).

I probably wouldn't call her a bitch, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over her being called one, and I refuse to be manipulated into caring about her being called one.

Bachmann is a horrible human being, and worse yet, she has somehow managed to install herself with power over other people. Maybe save a little of your outrage for her victims.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:04 AM on November 23, 2011


The only difference between a bitch and, say, an asshole or a prick or a dick or a jerk or a douchebag -- of which there are many in politics -- is that a bitch happens to be a woman.

The use of gendered epithets is not automatically misogynistic. Nearly all such epithets are gendered; it's unfortunate, but that's just the way it is.

Yes, women who enter politics absolutely should expect to be called names, just like men would. Being called names is a huge part of being a politician, and if being called names on the sly is too much, well, maybe that person's not the greatest choice for Leader Of The Free World. (Though I doubt anyone seriously thought Bachmann was.)

If there's anything worth calling out, it's the laziness and puerility of calling someone names rather than criticizing their specific misdeeds. But in a five-second bit of music played over a talk show entrance, I think that can be forgiven.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:11 AM on November 23, 2011


Be honest and straightforward in your criticisms, not underhanded and creepy.

Not a fan of the tale of Gonzago, I guess.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:21 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The only difference between a bitch and, say, an asshole or a prick or a dick or a jerk or a douchebag -- of which there are many in politics -- is that a bitch happens to be a woman.

Yes, women who enter politics absolutely should expect to be called names, just like men would.



No, it's not true that that's the only difference. And women aren't called names "just like" men are, it happens differently and for different reasons. When was the last time you were walking down the street doing nothing but minding your own business and a woman leaned out of a car and yelled, "Nice ass, dick!"

In this society, people very very often call women bitches to sexually harrass them, to express contempt for *all of them* as a gender ("bitches ain't shit"), to make them feel low and ashamed, to put them in their place, to make sure they know that they don't belong.

I'm not okay with gendered insults towards men, but sorry, I've never seen a group of high status women in a professional setting try to shame a man back into a lower position by using one. I've never seen women on the street sexually harrass a man using one.

"Bitch" is a slang term for an evil woman.

Don't you see that to a whole lot of people, a woman not behaving as you think she should be behaving is an "evil woman" who needs to be put in her place? And if we start saying it's okay to slur women when you think they're evil and need to be put in their place, Michele Bachman is not going to be the only person targeted?

This is not about Michele Bachman and her hurt feelings, this is about what happens to the rest of the women, when you start saying it's okay to treat one woman this way.
posted by cairdeas at 10:26 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is not about Michele Bachman and her hurt feelings, this is about what happens to the rest of the women, when you start saying it's okay to treat one woman this way.

This is about Michele Bachmann pretending to have hurt feelings so women like you will vote for her in kneejerk solidarity without stopping to question her stances on women's rights.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:40 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, of course, she doesn't really have feelings. How could we be so blind?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:42 AM on November 23, 2011


Yes, of course, she doesn't really have feelings. How could we be so blind?

Of course she's devastated by the slightest insinuation that she might be a lyin'-ass bitch; she's a woman!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:45 AM on November 23, 2011


Or, you know, maybe she's a politician playing politics.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:49 AM on November 23, 2011


cairdeas: This is not about Michele Bachman and her hurt feelings, this is about what happens to the rest of the women, when you start saying it's okay to treat one woman this way.

Sys Rq: This is about Michele Bachmann pretending to have hurt feelings so women like you will vote for her in kneejerk solidarity without stopping to question her stances on women's rights.


Thanks for that, Sys Rq: It seems like you didn't read a word of what I said, and aren't interested in engaging in any kind of good-faith way.

It's been really heartening to come to the blue, and put my time into trying explain to a bunch of middle aged guys why calling a female presidential candidate a bitch on TV hurts me. And have them consistently reply to what I say with nothing more than jokes and zingers.

This is why I rarely come here.
posted by cairdeas at 10:51 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


dry white toast: "Yeah, the last thing you want to do with a demagogue like Bachmann is give her a legitimate reason to act like a victim."

YES, THIS. This is exactly what that stunt accomplished. I don't care if Bachmann's feelings were hurt. I am positive her skin is much thicker than that. I am willing to bet money her staff rejoiced when they put two and two together and saw that someone made a fool out of her on TV, using a misogynistic term to boot!
posted by falameufilho at 10:53 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


middle aged guys

HEY
posted by Hoopo at 10:57 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: "Yes, women who enter politics absolutely should expect to be called names, just like men would. Being called names is a huge part of being a politician, and if being called names on the sly is too much, well, maybe that person's not the greatest choice for Leader Of The Free World. (...)

If there's anything worth calling out, it's the laziness and puerility of calling someone names rather than criticizing their specific misdeeds. But in a five-second bit of music played over a talk show entrance, I think that can be forgiven.
"

I hear what you're saying. I think it's safe to assume that by the same measure you would quickly dismiss Sean Delonas's cartoon as a non-incident.
posted by falameufilho at 11:07 AM on November 23, 2011


And have them consistently reply to what I say with nothing more than jokes and zingers.

you know what, that was really dismissive and condescending. Everyone has heard you. Some of us don't entirely agree with you. Thanks for your time I guess?
posted by Hoopo at 11:18 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


cairdeas: And have them consistently reply to what I say with nothing more than jokes and zingers.

Hoppo: you know what, that was really dismissive and condescending. Everyone has heard you. Some of us don't entirely agree with you. Thanks for your time I guess?


Sorry Hoppo, I didn't realize you would consider your reply to me below as a joke. If that was your best attempt to substantively answer the question I asked you, then I apologize for dismissively characterizing it as one.


So, Hoppo, would it be okay for a bunch of 19 year olds in a freshman mechanical engineering class to play "Stupid Bitch" on their phones when the lone female classmate walks in, as a joke, or maybe just because she really is a stupid bitch in their estimation?
posted by cairdeas at 4:21 PM on November 22 [3 favorites +] [!]



I was in a liberal arts program. In engineering do you get musical accompaniment when you enter the classroom?
posted by Hoopo at 4:23 PM on November 22 [5 favorites +] [!]

posted by cairdeas at 11:24 AM on November 23, 2011


OK let me spell it out: no, that would not be OK, and no, those are not the same thing. That is a cheap rhetorical tactic.
posted by Hoopo at 11:28 AM on November 23, 2011


I think it's safe to assume that by the same measure you would quickly dismiss Sean Delonas's cartoon as a non-incident.

I find this sort of "so if I understand you correctly...." debating tactic tiresome. If you want to talk to people about what they think and how they feel, why don't you just ask them instead of taunting them with over-the-top assessments about what your parody of their beliefs are? It's totally okay to basically think that there are ranges of "okayness" to the things people do to be shitty to one another and that perhaps five seconds of music is at a different place along that continuum from a political cartoon that appears in a major newspaper, for some people. You're not going to learn anything about people--if that's actually your plan--by hurling insults under the guise of asking questions.
posted by jessamyn at 11:28 AM on November 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yes, of course, she doesn't really have feelings. How could we be so blind?

It is becoming increasingly clear that some of you have a blind spot for the significant and irreversible damage she's caused in many people's lives. At least, overlooking it by focusing on someone's childish stunt is a fairly large failure of perspective. If the worst thing that happens in Bachmann's life is that she gets called a bitch, then the wheel of karma is broken.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:36 AM on November 23, 2011


I'll go ahead and call that: the wheel of karma is broken.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:43 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's totally okay to basically think that there are ranges of "okayness" to the things people do to be shitty to one another and that perhaps five seconds of music is at a different place along that continuum from a political cartoon that appears in a major newspaper, for some people.

As long as we're playing games of scale, ?uestlove has three times as many Twitter followers as the Post sells papers. "Late Night" averages four times as many viewers.
posted by Etrigan at 11:48 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


?uestlove has three times as many Twitter followers as the Post sells papers

And a drawing likening Obama to a monkey doesn't require looking up lyrics to understand a subtle reference. I don't really think what ?uestlove did was particularly cool or amusing, but clearly some people do. On my particular continuum of what is and is not okay and why, that's where my feelings lie. Everyone places dots on their line differently and interrogating individuals about their particular preference just to score rhetorical points is antithetical to community discourse here.
posted by jessamyn at 12:27 PM on November 23, 2011


I dunno. I thought it was a fair analogy.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:30 PM on November 23, 2011


It is becoming increasingly clear that some of you have a blind spot

Love it, keep it coming. Only in little internet shitpools like this thread do people have the nerve to defend the referring of a female public official of much higher standing than yourself, despite or maybe due to her repulsive politics, as a bitch.

Defending the practice, by the way, with ridiculous arguments like, "well I hear the word in rap songs all the time!" "She's a politician, she knows what she's getting into!" or "Bitch is not even getting what she deserves, which is much worse." The fact that a word like this is directed at a woman, to effectively put her in her place - and is defended by members in a community whose conversation I have often come to appreciate - really irks me.

The reason I'm losing my shit is because I've been around here long enough to see certain double standards defended. My previous comment got deleted because of its sharp tone, but along the same lines, if anybody "in theory" wants to entertain the possibility of having their mom chicken-shitly referred to as a bitch, and then discuss the pros and cons based on her views and decisions in life, and then has no problem accepting the word "bitch" as some kind of actual determination of their mom, then let's go for it. Let's spin that karmic wheel, big guy. You clearly have a very sharp sense of where that wheel stops.

In the meantime lets throw etiquette out of the window. Because even though I've lost my perspective according to MetaFilter standards, qua defending a Republican, let's be real, ?uestlove got canned, and broadly speaking rightly so, and you're the one suffering from a reality-based loss of perspective. There is apparently a qualitative difference on MetaFilter between calling Obama a monkey, and Bachmann a bitch, that is totally lost on me.
posted by phaedon at 12:39 PM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


And a drawing likening Obama to a monkey doesn't require looking up lyrics to understand a subtle reference.

You're spinning it pretty hard to align to your own political leanings. ?uestlove acted like a schoolboy sniggering loudly about what he wrote on the chalkboard and then erased, and you're acting just as offended at the teacher for "choosing" to peer at the chalkboard to see what all the fuss was about.
posted by Etrigan at 12:52 PM on November 23, 2011


I think the "lying" part was the part they were trying to get across more than the "bitch" part. That's how I read it. It was a poor choice of songs. I'm not "defending the practice", as much as you'd like to think so, and bringing up the fact that the word gets used a lot in hip hop and pop music was me expressing why I'm a little surprised at the shocked reactions on display here. I don't share your view that this incident is indicative of an attempt to put all women "in their place" or something, nor that Michelle Bachmann enjoys such high standing that she is above getting insulted.

BTW randomly telling a stranger's mom off is ridiculous even as a rhetorical tool. I was not offended in the least, because you obviously don't know her and you have nothing to base that on. It's just a dumb and confrontational outburst that you were obviously expecting some sort of reaction to.

?uestlove got canned

Did he? I don't think he got canned actually.
posted by Hoopo at 1:00 PM on November 23, 2011


Let's spin that karmic wheel, big guy.

Okay, let's, "big girl".

You clearly have a very sharp sense of where that wheel stops.

I have a sharp sense that Bachmann would be happy to throw me and my husband into an oven, if she was given half a chance, and so I'm not going to let you manipulate me into feeling sorry for her being called childish names, and I know enough to know that your sense of perspective on this is almost as warped as she is.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:02 PM on November 23, 2011


I don't really think what ?uestlove did was particularly cool or amusing, but clearly some people do.

I haven't seen many people saying so. I certainly haven't said so. It'd be a lot cooler if they hadn't booked Bachmann in the first place. Her bullshit doesn't deserve any kind of national venue.

Mostly I just think what ?uestlove did was a naughty prank that's not worthy of anything nearing the attention it's got. We're talking a five second clip of a song from a 26-year-old EP by a band that is familiar to a very small segment of society, where the only words sung are "la la la" and "she's just a." You'd have to recognize the song, remember the title, and connect the song to the guest before it's anything.

There is apparently a qualitative difference on MetaFilter between calling Obama a monkey, and Bachmann a bitch, that is totally lost on me.

Calling a man a monkey, because he is black = Only ever racist and nothing else

Calling a woman a bitch, because she is a terrible person who, if she were male, would be called other, similarly invective names that traditionally aren't used for women = Obviously not helping the cause of feminism, but it's not sexism for sexism's sake
posted by Sys Rq at 1:04 PM on November 23, 2011


(and let's not overlook the fact that, in that cartoon, the monkey is being shot to death.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:11 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And a drawing likening Obama to a monkey doesn't require looking up lyrics to understand a subtle reference

I agree with your overall point, but part of the problem with the discussion around that particular cartoon was the fact that many people did not get the monkey = racist symbol thing at all, even after the history of racist caricatures involving apes was explained to them. Many people do not automatically make that connection. Obviously with an obscure song it's even less likely that people will get the reference, but "subtlety" is a factor in both cases.

Calling a woman a bitch, because she is a terrible person who, if she were male, would be called other, similarly invective names that traditionally aren't used for women = Obviously not helping the cause of feminism, but it's not sexism for sexism's sake

I don't really get the distinction here either. If someone uses a racial slur because the target is a terrible person, rather than slurs that aren't traditionally used for people of that race, is that okay? Or are you saying that intent determines whether it is okay or not to use these sorts of terms and that racist terms are always used with racist intent whereas misogynistic terms are not always used with misogynistic intent?
posted by burnmp3s at 1:20 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]



I don't really get the distinction here either. If someone uses a racial slur because the target is a terrible person, rather than slurs that aren't traditionally used for people of that race, is that okay? Or are you saying that intent determines whether it is okay or not to use these sorts of terms and that racist terms are always used with racist intent whereas misogynistic terms are not always used with misogynistic intent?


Is there a sometimes-racist term that is equivalent with "asshole"? I don't think there is.

I'm saying that "bitch" is not a misogynistic term per se, though it can certainly be used that way. I'm saying (for the third time) that invective slurs are, unfortunately, gendered. There are many synonymous-but-male words that bitch stands in for on a regular basis. Using it is lazy, it's childish, and it fuels the debate that is currently raging here, but that's just how the language, for better or worse (okay, yeah, worse) is set up.

And they never actually said it.

And, seriously, shot to death. Not equivalent. At all.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:51 PM on November 23, 2011


There was nothing shocking or unforgivable about this, it was just kind of a dick move. Dickish behavior doesn't become non-dickish when you direct it at heinous public figures. Even if their ideas are really really terrible. If you can't afford an invited guest a modicum of respect before they've even had a chance to say a word, don't invite them in the first place!

Bachmann's feelings about this, and our feelings about her feelings, are totally irrelevant to whether or not the behavior is dickish. Also note that we have crossed the line into dickishness before we even get to unpack the implications of the specific perjorative term that was used in this instance.

I figure ? had a point he wanted to make and was aware of what he was doing and willing to deal with the repercussions that might follow. I'm not out to see the guy fired or censured or forced to tweet a more sincere-sounding apology or anything, what happens next is between him and Late Night and it's none of my business. It's just, if the question is asked, is this kind of thing defensible? Is it a decent way to act towards people you have profound disagreements with? Well, no, it isn't really, would be my answer.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:58 PM on November 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


YES! exactly that.
posted by Hoopo at 2:12 PM on November 23, 2011


Is there a sometimes-racist term that is equivalent with "asshole"? I don't think there is.

I'm saying that "bitch" is not a misogynistic term per se, though it can certainly be used that way. I'm saying (for the third time) that invective slurs are, unfortunately, gendered. There are many synonymous-but-male words that bitch stands in for on a regular basis.


Well, I tried to address this, Sys Rq, but you chose to completely ignore what I said when I laid out why this isn't true, and instead made a completely non-sequitur reply about how "women like me" will now vote for Michele Bachman in kneejerk solidarity out of sympathy to her feelings.

Maybe rather than repeating yourself over and over it would be better to engage with people who are actually engaging with you and what you are saying.

Is there a sometimes-racist term that is equivalent with "asshole"? I don't think there is.

Of course there is, in the minds of some. Chris Rock has a whole skit about what you call someone who's a black person, and what you call someone who's an asshole black person. That doesn't make it okay.
posted by cairdeas at 2:17 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't thought about Fishbone in years. What a great band.

This incident actually inspired me to download their first EP. Lyin' Ass Bitch is a great song. Just absolutely electric. Maybe not as good as Ugly, though. (Good thread title, by the way, george).
posted by mr_roboto at 9:59 PM on November 23, 2011


I, too, had sort of forgotten them, but in the summer I picked up Truth & Soul for 4$ at a record swap, rekindling my love. Still haven't seen them live sadly.

Back on topic - somebody upthread said that ?uest had been canned, any confirmation on this?
posted by mannequito at 10:04 PM on November 23, 2011


RCP: Earlier today Bachmann gave her reaction to the incident during an appearance on FOX News. Bachmann accepted an apology from host Jimmy Fallon, however she said if this had happened to Michelle Obama the band would have been disciplined or fired.

"If that had been Michelle Obama, who'd come out on the stage, and if that song had been played for Michelle Obama, I have no doubt that NBC would have apologized to her and likely they would have fired the drummer, or at least suspended him," Bachmann said.

Rush Limbaugh gave Bachmann's idea a try and introduced "Michelle Obama" to the song "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot. If you are unfamiliar with the song, it starts with "I like big butts." The music video is available on YouTube.


It's kind of funny thinking of the idea that ?uest could be fired from his own band. It's kind of an all or nothing deal there, Michele.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:19 AM on November 24, 2011


Maybe rather than repeating yourself over and over it would be better to engage with people who are actually engaging with you and what you are saying.

Physician, heal thyself!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 10:00 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's kind of funny thinking of the idea that ?uest could be fired from his own band. It's kind of an all or nothing deal there, Michele.

She was pretty obviously referring to NBC firing him, not the Roots.
posted by Etrigan at 11:14 AM on November 24, 2011


So now that everyone has apologized to this woman, is she going to apologize to Obama for referring to his administration as gangsta government in her book and on the PBS Newshour on Wednesday night?
posted by Skygazer at 6:45 PM on November 24, 2011


She was pretty obviously referring to NBC firing him, not the Roots.

My point is they can't do that and still have The Roots.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:48 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


is she going to apologize to Obama for referring to his administration as gangsta government in her book and on the PBS Newshour on Wednesday night?

In her defense, her best friends are gangsters.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:38 PM on November 24, 2011


is she going to apologize to Obama for referring to his administration as gangsta government in her book

You don't have to apologize when you're in such high standing.
posted by Hoopo at 12:15 PM on November 25, 2011


My point is they can't do that and still have The Roots.

My point is that she probably doesn't particularly care. Are you desperately clawing for an angle that somehow makes her look bad for not knowing that the Roots exist as a separate entity from "Jimmy Fallon's show's house band"? Because you really don't need to stretch that far to make her look bad. Honest.
posted by Etrigan at 3:24 PM on November 25, 2011


My point was it's kind of funny.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:03 PM on November 25, 2011


Pitchfork: Do you regret playing that walk-on music for Michele Bachmann?

?uestlove: It wasn't like a chess move where you have to think 12 steps ahead; you're just, like, "Fuck, all right, I'm gonna do it," in a kamikaze-type way. And I really didn't think about how it could be perceived as a misogynist swipe-- it didn't hit me until my [Twitter] timeline started showing up that it was seen that way. I was like, "Fuck, I forgot 'bitch' is actually in the title."

It deeply offended a lot of women's groups and non-Bachmann supporters, and for that I'm deeply sorry. I'm not parading like I'm the poster boy for the feminist movement, but those who truly know me know that that's not me. I was really just going with her whole revisionist history angle, I wasn't calling it out on her being a woman.
posted by nadawi at 12:06 PM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I wonder what they'll play for Rick Perry tonight?
posted by drezdn at 7:35 PM on December 1, 2011


Ooh, maybe it'll be a medley of Kool Moe Dee's 'Wild Wild West' and Intelligent Hoodlum's 'The Posse.'
posted by box at 8:02 PM on December 1, 2011


That was a decent enough apology, even though "I was like, "Fuck, I forgot 'bitch' is actually in the title."" is a little ???, as if being in the title is worse than in the other lyrics. But overall, decent.
posted by cairdeas at 8:04 PM on December 1, 2011


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