Letter to the editor: Robin Thicke article embarrasses reader

Are we a such a rube outpost of a city that a salivating report on the quality and quantity of T&A in the latest Robin Thicke video passes editorial muster [“ Thicke knows that sex sells”, August 15-22]? Mike Usinger gives a groaning account of how awesome the tits are in the video and how horny he seems to have been made by said tits. He does provide a glib, perfunctory, and, frankly, backhanded mention of how “Bikini Kill fans are wondering where everything went terribly wrong in the world,” a line that he obviously hopes will inoculate him against charges of sexism. Indeed, Usinger doubles down on this lame strategy with a stunningly disingenuous “joke” about how it’s “the ladies” who are filling up on the eye candy.

The song’s lyrics are the definition of douchery, and the video is just another in a long line that uses women’s bodies to sell its product. But having Usinger’s lip-smacking appraisal take up a third of a page in an arts and culture weekly of a major North American city is just embarrassing.

> Peter MacRaild / Vancouver

Comments (23) Add New Comment
Rhetorical Question Answerer
"Are we a such a rube outpost of a city"

Yes.
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Former GS Fan
I actually gagged when I started reading that editorial. Closed the paper, didn't read further.

It made me feel gross all over.
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Forest
And coming up next, for your continued T&A pleasure, an "article" on the new Victoria Secret store, here in Vancouver to teach all 12 year old girls what's what in the world of patriarchy.
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Thank you
What a waste of space that "editorial" was.
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Alan Layton
It just shows that Usinger is a guy with a healthy drive. Any het male who would get offended by it is a just a weenie. Anyone who I've talked to who has seen it (male or female) didn't find it to be any worse than an average music video during the entire history of music vids, that goes back to the 1980's. Go down to the beach and you'll see women strutting around with only a couple of square inches more fabric than the models in the vid. Thicke, and his co-producer wife, just saved us the trouble of undressing the models in our minds. Lol. Lighten up, it's summer and there's skin everywhere.
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boris moris
There are so many up tight people in this city. No one forces you to read or look at articles, reviews and videos do they? Judging by the tone of numerous scathing comments directed at Usinger and the explicit Blurred Lines unrated version video....

www.vevo.com/watch/robin-thicke/blurred-lines-unrated-version/USUV71300526

...it's obvious that more Vancouverites need to put the brakes on their junk food and right wing xian hypocrisy addictions and get a lot more of this: O==3
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Peter MacRaild
I know length s an issue, but the the editing my letter received leaves it sounding stilted and incoherent. My original letter, for the people:

"I'm not sure how tenure at a weekly like the Straight works, but is Mike Usinger really a good enough writer to represent a paper that aspires to be some sort of reflection of a city of nearly 2.5 million people? Are we a such a rube-outpost of a city that a salivating report on the quality and quantity of T&A in the latest Robin Thicke video passes editorial muster? Let's leave aside the fact that Robin Thicke is a bland cipher/hack and that the only interesting thing about his song "Blurred Lines" are the accusations of it being "rapey". Maybe it's a slow week and the time has come to address the Robin Thicke phenomenon. Fine. But Usinger's treatment of the song and video is to give a groaning account of how awesome the tits are in the video, how horny he seems to have been made by said tits, and, you know, TITS (they're great). He does provide a glib, perfunctory and, frankly, backhanded mention of how "Bikini Kill fans [is this code for "shrill feminists?] are wondering where everything went terribly wrong in the world", a line that he obviously hopes will inoculate him against charges of sexism. Indeed, Usinger doubles down on this lame strategy by closing with a stunningly disingenuous "joke" about how it's really "the ladies" who are filling up on the eye candy. Usinger seems to be saying, "Hey, hey, it's the ladies lookin' at ladies, get it? Subversive? Queer? Am I right?" The song's lyrics are the very definition of douchery, and the video is just another in a long line that uses women's bodies to sell its product - it is what it is. But having Usinger's lip-smacking appraisal of the video take up a half-page in an arts and culture weekly of a major North American city is just embarrassing."
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The Longer Version
is even better.
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Charlie Smith
Peter,
The letter was trimmed so we could have room for other letters in the print edition. You wrote that Mike's article took up a half-page. That's not true. It actually only took up 30 percent of the page, which is why I edited your letter to read "a third of a page".

Charlie Smith
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Mike Usinger
Peter,
"I know length's an issue". Heh.
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HellSlayerAndy
Congrats Mike!

Not only did the original 'article' inspire so many Offended Canadians© to write, but it also created a LTTE in which many many more Offended Canadians© chimed in with their life-altering testimonials.

Rip Snorting Success, Sir!

Keep Up The Good Work

Oh Peter 'Streisand' MacRaild...no you didn't come across as stilted and incoherent in the general release and your director's cut didn't add much depth to the plot...so your even more silly.

Oh the 'Streisand' ref is twofold:

1) The Streisand Effect -- bringing even MORE exposure to something you don't want people exposed to because you complained about it

2) Rumour has it that during the TV premiere of her film 'The Prince of Tides', the Diva actually phone NBC (I believe) during the airing to complain that it was too loud and could they turn down the sound She was livid when they told her 'No'. In other words, GS already obliged you by giving your nonsense more attention than it deserved and you BITCHED about that TOO!)
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Amber Webber
Well put Peter!
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Peter MacRaild
I really only wanted the original to appear because it explicitly asks HOW IN THE HELL Mike Usinger is able to continue as a staff writer at the GS. Forget how sexist the piece is for a moment and read it for sentence-by-sentence quality. It's the GS--the salad days are long over--but this guy is an irredeemable hack.
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Tyrone Pynchon
Usinger is no more than a shock-jock, not quick or clever enough for radio. His time will be up sooner than later, and The Straight will be better for it.
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boris moris
Bellyachers don't seem to be getting enough O==3

While I'm kissing titties you cranky pants could be throat and ass deep in O==3 after which you'll mellowtfo.
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out at night
Yes, it is true: The Straight's music section has reminded me of an in-joke riddled college rag ever since I started reading it and, truly, we Vancouverites deserve better.
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pffft
Don't take it so personally Mike. You write for a paper that has a huge readership, have you faced no criticism before? This not about uptightness nor libido. It is about some of your readers being genuinely upset about the validation and flippant analysis of a video that is sexist and lyrics that are date-rapey. Like the video as much as you want because it gets you off and represents your sexuality. It has a different meaning for others especially those of us with daughters we want to be able to be strong women who can say "no" without them being told "I know you want it". There should be no blurred lines, only good, hot consensual (and equally nude) sex.
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Jackie
Thank you, Peter! It's nice to read a healthy intelligent male perspective. Women get labelled as bitter dykes for saying such things, so thank you so much. Men who say "lighten up and take a look at the scantily clad women on the beach" are completely missing the point. The point is, this Usinger character is not worthy of writing articles if his only point to make is that these womens' tits are giving him a woody. Fucking sick.
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Mr A
As a guy whose taste in music is in the NIN, Ministry, Tool,Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine, System of A Down etc etc I have no time for light weight, flaky, pop stars like Robin Thicke, I mean how many more months will that song be played until his fans get tired of it & get into the next "best thing" & then get tired of that too?
So like when someone has constipation, his music shall pass as well.
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James G
I once had a thuggish reaction to an Usinger column but I have learned from my mistake.

It's fucking hard to critique music. Just try it. Start anywhere. Would we really want our Vancouver's Free Press, which was founded in the era of "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll" to be sedate? Would we enjoy the musings of a bowler hatted John Cleese parody claiming to "delight in all manifestations of the Terpsichorean muse"? Would we read reviews of Morris dancing and yodelling competitions (not that there's anything wrong with that)?

For those so offended to find that the "Straight" is a sex-positive space, please go pick up a print copy and flip to the back. Be careful, though, you may need an ambulance.
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