Robin Thicke and the Greatest Crevasse in the Modern World of Crass

Why does it seem the longer we live, the crasser the world around us becomes?  Language degrades into cursing every other word and sportsmanship on the basketball court, gridiron and baseball diamond become all about who can be the loudest, and not who is really the best team player.

The greatest crevasse in the modern world of crass is found in the entertainment business.  Decades ago, we had quieter movies and songs and other Art that challenged our thinking and emotion; while today, we are “bonked” over the head with obviousness and bad taste and the resurrection of outright misogyny masquerading as a music video.  Nothing is left to imagination.  It’s all obvious, bad taste.

We need look no further for evidence of this modern lack of class and subtlety and human civility than the “Bare Bouncing Boobies” video for Robin Thicke’s smash summer hit, “Blurred Lines” — that you may, or may not, be able to watch on YouTube unless you confirm you’re older than 13-years-old.

Are we really so fascinated by “following the bouncing boobies” that we get a thrill watching beautiful topless women prancing around a video?  And yes, unfortunately, these women are actually… prancing.

Must we have to have the crassness of it all spelled out for us?  The Thicke “bonk” answer is also, “yes” as evidenced in the balloon words tirelessly taped to the video wall.

Let’s flashback 27 years to 1986 for a looksee at Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video that set young male hearts afire and led to the female rediscovery of the “Little Black Dress” as a fashion icon and music video accessory:

When that Palmer video hit MTV, people were astounded how sexy a music video could be with just synchronized swaying, makeup, and guitars and dresses.

It didn’t matter the women weren’t really musicians — the only thing that mattered was that they were the stars of the video, while Robert remained the star of the song — a perfect mix of subtle sensuality and authentic talent.

A lot of guys I knew admired Robert Palmer.  He was “the coolest guy in show business” because he knew how to move and groove a song surrounded by immense icons of beauty.  He set a music video standard of excellence that has endured almost 30 years — until Robin Thicke came afoot with a pale imitation.

I wonder if there is the same sort of admiration and reverence for Robin Thicke today?  Is he perceived as an iconic pillar or merely the next faux-talent to be pilloried in the common consciousness as soon as his 15 minutes are faded?

What will the next 27 years bring us in the entertaining realm of the non-subtle crassness?  Full-on sexual penetration in the mainstream media as the ordinary matter of the day?

Then what will the next 27 years bring?  Torture?  Live murder in the public square?

Are we expanding our morality as a society, or are we slowly making the indiscriminate turn in a never-ending circle that leads us straight back to the hangman’s noose on display as both behavioristic codicil and cruel entertainment in the cobblestone streets?

I hope we don’t have to be drawn and quartered to find out.

13 comments

  • Gordon Davidescu

    I had a hard time watching even ten seconds of this video. As a child I loved the Robert Palmer video — it was one of my favorites at the time. I thought it was one of the most rich videos — it enticed without giving away too much. This comes at you full force and just, excuse the expression, tries to spew all over you. No thanks, Robin! This is not how Dr. Seaver on Growing Pains would have wanted you to be!

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    • I felt such pity and sorrow for the lead young woman in the video. Yes, she is incredibly beautiful and perfect, but there is such a sadness in her performance that belies the alleged joy of being “public sexy naked” for pay. A shame, really.

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  • Robert Palmer (not Plant ;-)) died in 2003 and I don’t think Thicke could hold a candle to him. And agreed – Palmer had nuance and sexiness, but Thicke is in your face. Kinda like bikini baristas; if you have to be naked to sell it, how good is it, really?

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    • Ah! My Led Zeppelin is showing! SMILE!

      I made the correction in the article to Robert PALMER!

      http://www.robertpalmer.com/

      Thank you! Wrong name — same love for the man.

      You make an excellent point about necessity. If Thicke wants nudity in his videos, why doesn’t he get undressed instead?

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      • You’re welcome — I knew you must be a Zep fan. And amen about Thicke. I recently saw that there’s a TV show called Naked Castaway or something like that, and that shows that television has sunk to new lows, as well. Sigh. Titillation is not content.

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        • Your comment made me remember there was always confusion between Robert Plant and Robert Palmer for those who were not paying attention:

          http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080831222127AAr0lfM

          I’m glad you were paying attention!

          That reminds me of the David Doyle/Tom Bosley confusion where David Doyle played the patronly “Bosley” on “Charlie’s Angels” and actor Tom Bosley played the father on “Happy Days” and both guys looked like each other and both had raspy voices!

          http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2002&dat=19770409&id=oMYuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ENsFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2621,1673345

          http://www.theonion.com/articles/no-youre-thinking-of-david-doyle,10842/

          I’ve seen those awful promos for “Naked Castaway” — the naughty bits are always covered in mud or seaweed or leaves. So silly! I will never watch that sort of crass show!

          Modesty is no longer a virtue — it’s simply passé — and soon to be reviled in common media.

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          • Yes! I remember the Bosley confusion.

            My confusion lay between Robert Palmer/Carl Palmer (of Emerson, Lake and Palmer). When I first heard of Robert Palmer, I made the assumption that he was one-third of ELP, a group I really liked; I knew they’d broken up in the 70′s so I thought this was him going solo in the 80′s. Kind of a different direction for his music, though, I thought. I wasn’t disabused of that notion for a while, though, until my then-boyfriend and his brother, huge ELP fans, showed me the light. Power Station vs. ELP. Fun times to think about.

            Modesty is so old-fashioned; it is only important to us fuddy-duddies. Sad, really.

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          • Right! I am familiar, and fond of, ELP and our beloved Palmers! Those were the days of great music and when radio made a difference in making a hit or not.

            I also remember a lot of confusion with ELO and Jeff Lynne — and now there’s even a page dedicated to sorting it all out:

            http://www.jefflynnesongs.com/notjeff.htm

            What would we do without the internet to set us straight today? I guess we’d have to wait for your then-boyfriend and his brother to help right us. SMILE!

            I’m shocked at what I see walking down the street now. People look like they just got out of bed and are wandering the streets sleepwalking.

            Some of the tops the young women wear — revealing everything and leaving nothing to the imagination — is another shocker, and if you get caught looking at what they’re revealing, you’re the one being inappropriate, not them, for dressing so intentionally provocative. Such a world!

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  • It is all part of the dumbing down which the powers that be find easier to do than raise up. Robert Palmer had real class – Thickie – deliberately misspelt appears to live up to his name. Sex sells unfortunately and it has to be bolder brassier and in your face to push the envelope of so called sexiness.

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    • I wonder if “Thickie” really lives up to his name or not — usually when you have to tell people in blow-up balloons, you’re needfully inflating the truth for a reason. Those who know, don’t tell, and those who don’t know, prefer the fantasy of wondering. SMILE!

      The sex storm is starting all over again this week with the Miley Cyrus/Thicke sex meltdown at the Video Music Awards. I prefer to read The Onion’s take on the silly matter:

      Over the years, CNN.com has become a news website that many people turn to for top-notch reporting. Every day it is visited by millions of people, all of whom rely on “The Worldwide Leader in News”—that’s our slogan—for the most crucial, up-to-date information on current events. So, you may ask, why was this morning’s top story, a spot usually given to the most important foreign or domestic news of the day, headlined “Miley Cyrus Did What???” and accompanied by the subhead “Twerks, stuns at VMAs”?

      http://www.theonion.com/articles/let-me-explain-why-miley-cyrus-vma-performance-was,33632/

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  • The Onion is spot on!

    Like

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