Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Annoying Boy of the Week: Adam Corolla

Usually I like to do a little research before I blog about our annoying boys, but I can barely bring myself to do it this time. I just hate Adam Corolla that much. I can't even type his smarmy, smug little name without getting this really awful taste in my mouth. And I don't want to face the google results, which will surely include links to a bunch of dumb boys' websites that praise old AC for being so awesome. Yuck.

What I've never understood is how this guy is considered a comedian. Aren't they suppose to be funny? The funniest thing AC does is mock himself for masturbating so much, and that ain't sayin' much.

For some reason, the once sorta-cool but now sorta ridiculous Dr. Drew teamed up with AC to do
Loveline -- that once sorta-cool but now absolutely ridiculous relationships and sexuality call in show. The idea behind the pairing is that Dr. Drew is the practical and actually helpful one and Adam is the "funny," unhelpful, annoying one. To their credit, they actually have a book that looks like it could be useful to young people who may otherwise ignore issues of sexual health, and I'm sure their advice has convinced at least one idiot to appease his girlfriend and wear a condom. But every time I've had the unfortunate experience of listening to Loveline, I've just wanted Adam to shut up so Dr. Drew could actually get through a sentence without a chorus of fart noises in the background.

Anyway, AC had that show -- The Man Show -- because men don't have enough shows and someone needs to look out for them. And his new show,
Too Late with Adam Corolla, looks suckier than a leech. And, as if we couldn't figure out that AC sucks on our own, Comedy Central put his show on after The Daily Show. That's like listening to Vanilla Ice after Jay-Z: a big, wet, letdown. The sort of occurrence that makes you wanna yell "FOOL!!!" out loud.


adam corolla said...

oh that's right. lines like "I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one" are really all about female empowerment. how quickly i forget.

femme feral said...

Hey Adam! Thanks for stopping by!

When I brought up Jay-Z, I did so to make a point: he is a much better rapper than Vanilla Ice, just as Jon Stewart is a much funnier guy than, well, you.

But since you mention Jay-z's lyrics in 99 problems, I thought I'd address them.

Here's a verse:

Now once upon a time not too long ago
A nigga like myself had to strong arm a ho
This is not a ho in the sense of havin' a pussy
But a pussy havin' no God damn sense, try and push me
I tried to ignore him and talk to the Lord
Pray for him, but some fools just love to perform
You know the type loud as a motor bike
But wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight
The only thing that's gonna happen is i'm ma get to clappin''n'
He and his boys gon' be yappin' to the captain
And there i go trapped in the kit-kat again
Back through the system with the riff-raff again
Fiends on the floor scratchin' again
Paparazzis with they cameras snappin' them
D.A. tried to give the nigga shaft again
Half-a-mil for bail cause i'm African
All because this fool was harrassin' him
Tryin' to play the boy like he's saccharin
But ain't nothin' sweet 'bout how i hold my gun
I got 99 problems, bein' a bitch ain't one
Hit me

Jay-Z plays with the multiple meanings of the word "bitch." In none of the verses does he use the word "bitch" to refer to a woman. In fact, he subverts that meaning (which many listeners hear in the lines "If you're having girl problems I feel bad for you son / I got 99 problems but a bicth ain't one.") when he changes it to "being a bitch ain't one" at the end of the song.

But, if you look at the lyrics (http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/99-Problems-lyrics-Jay-Z/91AC14F077BCF79848256DDF0006C3F1)
you'll see that the bitches in the song are the magazing editors who try to capitalize on his success, the police officer who gives him shit for nothing, the dog who the police officer alludes to when he says "We'll see how smart you are when the K-9 come," and the people who give him shit when he's waiting to get out on bail.

So, I see your point, and yes -- using words like "bitch" and "pussy" will always raise eyebrows, but in this case I think Jay-z is doing something else with the words -- he's playing with them, turning them around, and referencing their various meanings in the slang lexicon, and -- ultimately -- challenging and attempting to errode references to gender in the more typical uses of the word "bitch." I think that's pretty interesting.

Adam Corolla said...

Nice try, Dollars, but you're still missing something here.

I think Jay-z is doing something else with the words -- he's playing with them, turning them around, and referencing their various meanings in the slang lexicon, and -- ultimately -- challenging and attempting to errode references to gender in the more typical uses of the word "bitch."

So there is some truth in this comment, if only in the sense that there are multiple targets for the word "bitch" in this track. You're right-- everyone from magazine editors to "pussies" who he has to "strong arm" are labeled as "bitches". There's definitely some wit to this, and yeah-- some clever wordplay, but this does _not_ mean that the words used don't retain some sort of defamatory connotation.

And where, exactly, does this connotation come from? Social contexts, to be sure, but also the contexts created within the track that align, within the reference point of the chorus, a "girl" with a "bitch". There's lots of linguistic pragmatic terms for this sort of thing, but the effect is simple to see: put two things together in spatial/ dialectical proximity, and the effect is that those two are related. In this case, girl = bitch. If the use of bitch was not supposed to be aligned with negative connotations of femininity, then why doesn't the chorus say something like "If you have your own problems, I feel bad for you son" or, "If you're having life problems I feel bad for you son"? Even in this context, your argument that the term "bitch" is being subverted still holds true, even more so, in fact, than before (although it still references a hypothetical implied male figure in deference to a "bitch").

But as it is, just like in the first verse which equates pussy to ho-dom, referential terms of femininity are employed to imply a _lack_ of masculinity and, by extension, the uber-masculine voice of J Hova. Saying otherwise would be like insisting that something like "Fuck the Police" is really a love song directed towards law enforcement. (And if you want a better idea of Jay Z's penchant for "slang lexicon", check out his old shit, not the trendy, "he's saved hip hop all by himself" stuff. I'm talking the early, crack-slanging mix tape tracks. People can change, I agree, but if Jay Z has changed this dramatically...).

zp said...

Oh, I wish this were Adam Corolla. But I don't think it is. I suspect the brilliant femme feral has stage managed this to help her approach the problem of AC and Jay-Z dialectically.

If it IS Adam Corolla, thanks for making fun of yourself on Dawson's Creek . . . that was pretty funny and I, for one, hated you less afterwards.

And if that book is helpful for young dumb kids, that's a fair trade for all the fart noises in the world. When the school nurse can't honestly and practically address the biggest health issues of teenagers, someone has to. So thanks for that, too.

femme feral said...

Hey “Adam”,

Well, I never said that the word “bitch” was stripped of its defamatory connotations. I simply said that multiple meanings were working at once and that I thought that was interesting. Moreover, I never claimed that “99 problems” was some sort of feminist anthem. You made that suggestion (albeit ironically) when you missed my point in the post: Jay-z is a better rapper than Vanilla Ice. Wanna debate that? Bring it!

Anyway, your explication of how the word “bitch” retains its defamatory connotations is well-put, even though it is totally condescending and pedantic. I’m just a little annoyed that you put words in my mouth. When I said “challenging and attempting to erode references to gender in more typical uses of the word ‘bitch’” well, that’s what I meant (he uses the term “bitch” to describe men). It’s clear that for Jay-Z “bitch” is still a derogatory term. I never suggested otherwise.

As for constructions of “masculinity” and “femininity,” I’ve never been a big fan of those. I guess that’s why I like it when terms get broken down and made fluid, even if they become contradictory. When I hear female students greet each other by saying “what up bitch?” I think it’s funny. Though not as funny as “biatch.”

But aren’t you going to defend yourself, Adam? I called you an “annoying boy.”

porkmuffin said...

One of the only men i hate more than Tom Cruise is Adam Corolla.

adam corolla said...

I prefer "annoying non-gendered man".