Alright, maybe it’s because I’ve been reading too many horror stories (see Wednesday’s post for some of them). Maybe it’s because this this song hits buttons about how I used to be with my Mother (which I’ve talked about here and there). Maybe it’s just because I realize what is “underneath the underneath” of this song, or its rather Unfortunate Implications.
Grrrr. All I can say to start with is that if it was a woman singing this song, there would be an every loving riot in the streets. Oh, people can go “Aww, that’s so sweet of him,” but really now. He’ll take the black eye, he’ll take her trashing him to their friends, people he’s probably known for years, if not decades, just so she doesn’t have to feel bad about beating him up and trashing him? He’ll let her do whatever she needs so she doesn’t have to love him, just so he can hold on to the memories of the good times?
This is going to be one of the few times I use all caps, but here it is.
WHAT THE FUCKING HEL, MR. JACKSON!
You just made a song glorifying Female on Male abuse! You just made a song from the perspective of an abuse victim, and instead of making this a lesson in what is not acceptable behavior, made it about how the abuse victim happily accepts the physical injuries and being turn into a social pariah! All so his abuser doesn’t have to feel bad!
Gods above, I’ve been there. I’ve been in that place where you say “I’ll be the bad guy so you can be happy. I’ll be the one who you can take your pain out on, even though I’m innocent, if it makes you feel better.” And guess what, it’s not worth it! You will blind yourself to their sins so that they can beat on you physically, emotionally, mentally, or all three. You help them ignore their sins, their faults, their mistakes which led them to that point. In the end, all that happens is that the cycle of abuse doesn’t end. It only grows. Until at last, if you are a lesser person, if after years of the abuse you can no longer stand up to it, you finally agree that you are the bad guy, that it really is all your fault, and you’ll let them abuse you further. There are days I sit back and thank the Gods and Goddesses that when I agreed to be the bad guy I opened myself to it fully and learned from that darkness and that evil and that violence, because It helped me to come to realize that it wasn’t my fault, that I hadn’t done anything wrong, that it was my abuser who in her abuse had done the same thing to everyone else she knew and I was the last one left as she unleashed her fury. The last one left, who’s every little action was an excuse to scream and rail about how horrible a person I was, the constant knowledge of how disappointed she was in me, for being me, for being my father’s son, for being a Germanic Heathen when the only viable truth in the universe was Judaism, for being a guy, for wanting to grow up, for wanting to dream.
For drawing a hammer on a Hanuka cookie when I thought the holiday was about family, and it was really only about her. (By the way, the main hero of Hanuka is Judah the Maccabee, or Judah the Hammer. Yet so great is my mother’s hatred of Heathenism that anything also relating to the Norse was cause to scream at me for a month about how I ruined Hanuka).
I’ve been the bad guy Mr. Jackson. And It was only through luck, skill, and a willingness to follow things to the end that I managed to survive. Most people, man or woman, aren’t that strong, aren’t that ruthless. They get crushed, because they are raised to not be evil, and in being the bad guy they destroy themselves even as their abuse destroys them.
And that’s not even getting into the number of men who get to live through that situation, either as boyfriends or husbands, who get to watch as their lives are destroyed, ending up with police records, lawyer fees, legal troubles, destroyed reputations, and even sometimes in jail, all because their ex-girlfriends/wives want to destroy them and take out all their pain and rage on those men, who are as often enough innocent of any wrong doing as they are guilty of anything? And something tells me the guy in the song is one of the innocent, because a guilty man would never just accept the blame, violence, and abuse!
So tell me, Mr. Jackson, why would you make a song about an abuse victim happily taking the abuse for his abuser to be happy?