Singer Katy Perry is at best a pretty pop princess in retro riot grrl makeup and at worst an enemy of the gay civil rights movement. Her song "I Kissed a Girl" is a paean to girls getting drunk and sucking mug with other girls while their boyfriends watch. I don't want to sound uppity, but it's kind of a shitty song with a shitty message—that cutesy fake homosexuality is silly fun and good for attracting boys. So it pisses me off a bit that she's on the cover of Out magazine's "Out 100" issue this month. Why is this tittering dykesploitationist worthy of gay hero status? Sure, OK, Out isn't exactly the arbiter of gay culture it sometimes seems to fancy itself, but still! The bulk of the little bit on Perry is pretty praising (though they do at least mention the fact that some gay activists aren't happy with the song or Ms. Perry—who also has a song called "Ur So Gay" about a po-mo/homo ex-boyfriend who like, drinks wine and drives a hybrid) and that, I think, is pretty embarrassing for the magazine. Harmless fun is only fun when it's, well, harmless. This kind of co-opting of a hard-fought cause does, I suspect, do some damage. Both of her geigh-themed ditties are kind of "jokes" in that way where they actually aren't jokes at all but the problem is that people who are smart enough to "get" "it" (common idiots, out of work chimps) are also smart enough to, you know, not like her music. It's her impressionable teeny bop fan girls who I worry about. I worry, frankly, that when they are of age... they will go wild.
But that's not the real problem, I don't think. The real problem is that this discussion is being had at all. It's a dumb little song, and yet has sparked all of this furor and debate on both sides of the queer issue. Was "I Kissed A Girl" really popular music's most salient commentary on homosexuality this year? I mean, I don't doubt that it was, but that's just downright sad. In this time of new and fabulous Jym Crow laws, a cherry-flavored (and, you know, borderline offensive) twitter about a drunken peck is... it? That's all s/he wrote?? Pretty depressing if you ask me. Here's a much better and older song of the same name, from folksy indie queen of yesteryear Jill Sobule, proving that not only is Perry a tiresome poseur, she's also a thief: