I hadn’t heard of Redfoo before he was announced, with great fanfare, as a judge on a reality show I don’t watch.
Since he became a permanent fixture on tv and in our gossip columns, I’ve been unable to overcome my bafflement at his choice of moniker. Red for the hair, okay, sure – and he certainly seems proud of that unkempt mop, doesn’t he, the scamp? But “foo”? Indefensible.
Is he purporting to be some kind of associate Foo Fighter, as yet unrecognised by the undisputed leader of the Foo Army, Brigadier Dave Grohl? Is it a shout-out to the appalling 90s hip hop crew Fu Schnickens, who collaborated with Shaquille O’Neill to record a rap song whose chorus “What’s up doc, can we rock?” mandates the answer – no, you can’t, please just Fu off.
Or is he using Mr T’s preferred contraction for “fool”, a species of people that T famously pities? In that case, I guess it makes sense. If the “foo” fits…
At the time he was appointed to the X Factor judgeship, I applauded the decision to give a prestigious job on prime time television to a minority group. Sure, he’s yet another white man from a privileged background – but he’s a redhead, and there aren’t as many of them on Australian TV as there used to be, what with Kerry O’Brien only on our screens once a week, and Julia Gillard even less.
But despite being a member of a group that’s frequently discriminated against with vile terms like “ginga” or “bloodnut”, Redfoo has placed himself firmly on the side of the oppressor in his new song.
I don’t want to overanalyse lyrics that Redfoo probably scrawled on a first-class airline coaster in five minutes, but ‘Literally I can’t’ is appalling. And I don’t just mean musically or grammatically. The constant objectification and silencing is obnoxious in the extreme, and the video’s characterisation of its target as dumb, spoiled college girls is not only sexist, but lazy. Mocking straw-woman bimbos is about as original as, hmm, releasing a song with the refrain “Party rocking in the house tonight”.
I mean, the guy is 39. Why’s he even pretending to talk to college girls half his age? That’s utterly creepy. You’re about to turn forty, Redfoo. Enough with the endless going on about partying, before you seem like pop music’s answer to Silvio Berlusconi.
The only useful advice Redfoo can offer the much younger women he’s addressing in this disgrace of a song is to steer clear of guys, well, like Redfoo. Whereas when tools like ‘Foo tell them to shut up, they should listen to Ms Swift instead, and shay-shay-shake it off. Like I imagine Redfoo shakes his enormous mane to get rid of the inevitable lice.
After all this is a guy who reckons his celebrity status makes it fine to slap random women’s posteriors on the dance floor. Seriously, who would do that? How does him being “Redfoo, with the big-ass ‘fro” make assaulting a stranger okay? If anything, people slapped by Redfoo should get exemplary damages for enduring such a humiliating ordeal. If he tried it on me, I’d be telling him to Lawyer His F***ing Ass Up.
Why didn’t he realise that there would be huge backlash? Well, the answer to that’s fairly obvious – but why did nobody at the record company raise a Redfoo flag?
Or perhaps Redfoo knows his song is sexist twaddle straight from the Blurred Lines Institute of Mi$ogyny. Perhaps that’s why he’s so defensive about it on Twitter, where his response was “I love & respect women and feel they are the most powerful people on this planet!” he wrote. Which displays blissful ignorance of the patriarchy he’s perpetrating – but regardless, if so, why release a song that’s an instructional manual for disempowerment?
“(This is) another example of critics victimizing an artist by purposely misinterpreting his/her work to support a pre-existing agenda,” he went on to say. Mate, your rhymes aren’t exactly TS Eliot. There aren’t that many different interpretations that can be given to lyrics which find several different ways to say “shut up because I’m interested in your body, not what you have to say”.
Although Redfoo is very interested in what his critics have to say, apparently. The Herald-Sun apologised to Redfoo for a lyric which the “musician” claims is “I said jump on the poll, I don’t need your opinion”, and this in a verse that already mentions pogo sticks. But it doesn’t matter what he claims the lyric sheet says, it’s an obvious double entendre (and one that Are You Being Served? would have rejected, for that matter). And how exactly is it possible to jump on a series of survey questions designed to determine political affiliation, anyway?
Enough of this twit. We have plenty of our own homegrown sexist fools without needing to import extra ones from America. Why do we need Redfoo when we have, for instance, Family Feud survey designers? Just call one Redfeud, give him attention-seeking glasses and we’re good to go.
And why would we want Redfoo on the X-Factor in a role where he gives career advice to aspiring musicians when he’s made it abundantly clear that the only people he wants to hear from are those who have the XY Factor?