Pop crooner John Mayer, embroiled in controversy after saying the n-word in a Playboy interview, apparently broke down on stage last night, apologized for his careless words, and said that he's quitting "the media game." (Update: There's video!) Oh really?
Us Weekly tells us that Mayer was very contrite and hand-wringing at his Nashville gig last night, telling the crowd, while getting "choked up":
I should have just given that up and played the guitar. I didn't. So I decided I would try to be as clever as possible all the time, and I did that at the expense of people that I love and that feels absolutely terrible. ... It's just not worth being clever. I quit the media game. I'm out. I'm done. I just want to play my guitar.
Goodness! This is a fairly watershed moment. Mayer is one of those celebrities who has, like his brother from another career Ashton Kutcher, become more famous of late for his ramblings on the internet than for his supposed craft. Though he is a good fucking guitar player, Mayer is super well-known right now for, yes dating Jennifer Aniston, but also for wielding the awesome power of blogs and then urging his online followers to get the fuck offline. And there was this whole weird splashed-across-the-web thing where he kissed Perez Hilton and then laughed it off as a statement on homophobia or something, and now Perez is going on radio shows and claiming that Mayer is a big old dick-sucking, porn-watching homo.
Mayer's also been giving weird quotes to magazines, knowing full well that they will blow up all over the internet. Basically John Mayer, gooey singer of songs about the daughters that live in the wonderland of high school hallways, has become a Lodwickian fameball, someone ensnared by the false proximity the internet creates between People of Note like himself and lowly, internet-trolling Regulars like us.
And now with his Nashville mea culpa and renouncing of the whirring digital world, Mayer has completed an important step in fameballery, one that Jakob Lodwick himself pioneered: In order to create a new level of relationship with the internet and The Media at large, one must begin to doubt it, to chastise it for being so tempting and cruel and inhuman. Of course it won't last, he'll come back, just a little bit more meta-aware of everything.
Presumably Mayer has People, publicity-minded types who will keep him away from doing any embarrassing blog-bait magazine interviews for a while. Though one hopes that someday we'll get in the in-depth sit-down that explains why Mayer became so enthralled by this examined life. Is he a lonely man-child looking for connection? Is he a fame-hungry exhibitionist? To some degree probably both those things are true. But we also wonder, now that his media-gaming is supposedly done, if he maybe just didn't understand what he was doing. So protected by wealth and some kind of reverent cool-guy fame as he was just a few short years ago, Mayer maybe didn't really get how exactly people pay attention online, how we never forget anything, how the whole thing isn't actually some kind of equal-sided conversation. Not when you're John Mayer. When you're John Mayer the media game is saying ridiculous things for an audience that wants, because what do they have to lose, to watch you fail. Naively, Mayer seemed to figure that everyone is cool and open these days, that we'd respect his candor, that we'd want to be his friend. Which is not how any of this works!
For now we hope that the dejected and shameful fellow will stop the damn Twittering and remember that, should this whole music thing die out because he said a few really dumb things in some magazines and stuff, he always has a home with us.