As Jim Croce one sagely noted, “you don’t tug on Superman’s cape.” And as the 1975’s Matt Healy discovered instantly yesterday, you don’t fuck with Lucy Dacus.
Actually, “fuck” is probably too strong a word, and if there’s a lesson to be learned here it’s that one needs to choose their words carefully at this point in time.
Before we get to last night’s brutally effective social media takedown of Healy, a bit of backstory.
Arguably one of the biggest rock stars of his generation (admittedly not as impressive of an accolade now as it once was, considering hip-hop now rules the world), Healy isn’t a stranger to putting his ink-black Chelsea boots in his mouth. Recall, if you will, the frontman using Twitter in 2020 to, ostensibly, show his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Tweeting, “If you truly believe that ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’ you need to stop facilitating the end of black ones,” Healy also included the 1975 song “Love It If We Made It” in the post, presumably to educate the common rabble about police brutality. Healy was quickly accused of using an important global movement to boost his band’s streaming stats on Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. After apologizing, he deactivated his Twitter account until the mob got distracted by Kanye West (again).
Then, a couple of months back, the British singer opined that Irish people are “simple” (which he might have some valid insights into, given his family lineage is more Irish than English, but still). And let’s not even get into the whole Ice Spice thing with the exaggerated Chinese accent. Or the revelation that he’s been known to furtively pull his pud to a charmingly named website called Ghetto Gaggers—the owners of which have a special gloryhole in hell waiting for them.
But back to the here and now.
If you’re clever enough you can get away with almost everything, no matter how offensive on paper—something that has been proven by the subversive brilliance of Ricky Gervais, Larry David, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Seth McFarlane.
The key word there is “clever.” Which Healy evidently is, in case it’s not already obvious, not.
Last night the singer fired up Twitter to post the following: “I told Lucy Dacus that ‘Boygenius’ had inspired me and George to start a new band called ‘Girlr*tard.’ I don’t really hear from her that often.”
When not making her own records, Dacus is of course a member of the indie-pop supergroup Boygenius with fellow powerhouses Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers.
Dacus could have gone many routes with a reply. One would have been to give Healy a reminder that it’s 2023: a time when the people who use the r-word, the n-word, or any word that requires an abbreviation belong at the same lunch table as Lauren Boebert and Morrissey.
Two would have been to politely suggest he go fuck himself.
Instead, Dacus nailed her response by going the beautifully subtle route, Tweeting: “You don’t hear from me at all.”
That was it, short and simple. Given that the 1975 sells more records than Bridgers, Dacus, Baker, and Boygenius combined, the 28-year-old singer could have easily given Healy the celebrity hall pass. You know, the one where celebrities are allowed to get away with saying stupid things—or making ablest “jokes”—because they’re rich and famous.
Or she could have gone up one side of him and down the other, giving him the attention he so obviously needs, even though he already gets more attention than 99 per cent of people on the planet.
Instead, the response was carefully crafted—or maybe right off the cuff—to send Healy a can’t-miss message: You. Don’t. Matter. So this is all you get.
The really beautiful thing there? The world—or at least the Twittersphere— wasted zero time piling on, thanking Dacus in the process.
A quick shortlist of the Tweets to the singer included the following:
- GET HIM AGAIN MOTHER
- you just gagged him
- Matty, I think you’ve used your last phone a friend.
- GET HIM FOR ME
- ENDED HIMMMM
- ended all men with 7 words
Healy immediately deactivated his Twitter account, clearly knowing that he’s made a mistake: tugging on Superman’s cape. Except in this case, "Superwoman’s cape" is probably more fitting.