A few years ago, I was so offensive that there was a protest against me. Like, literally. I was an editor at my college paper, and for our (still notorious, at least at my crappy alma mater) April Fool's Day issue, I switched up my normally commie-leftist political column and wrote a retarded, incoherent right-wing screed called "Enjoy obamacare if you like payin for illegal mexicans" in the manner of Internet commenters everywhere. People did not find it hilarious. The day after publication, about 75 people gathered in the campus commons — with protest signs and everything — to decry my racism. True story.
Not quite the same thing happened last week to Brian McKnight, the soulful '90s-era crooner of smooth R&B jamz like "One Last Cry" and "Back At One," but it's not that far off, either. The important thing is, the lessons are the same. Brian McKnight obviously had no idea what he was getting into when he posted a joke preview of his upcoming "adult mixtape" titled "If You're Ready to Learn," in which he invites listeners to "Let me show you how your pussy works/Bet you didn't know that it could squirt" — which is probably the best use of the word "squirt" in a song ever.
But what Brian McKnight didn't realize is that people give like a hundred more shits when they're offended, and the tsunami of Twitter outrage that followed took him by surprise — understandably so, because it's been like ten years since anybody gave a shit what Brian McKnight was doing. He tweeted his dismay: "its just sad that this is what i had to do to get most of these people to even acknowledge me."
Dude, I've been there.
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Because what we're getting into right now is the nature of satire — and, Brian, it's fickle. There's a fine line between too ridiculous and not ridiculous enough, and in R&B, especially, a song about pussy juice isn't even ridiculous; if anything, your jam just came off honest. That's what was so great about it.
Of course, satire is all about context, and to some extent, we had the right idea, you and me: I'm a liberal writing a conservative rant, you're a squeaky-clean emotive R&B guy singing about female ejaculation. The problem is, not enough people were paying attention beforehand to get it. And the only solution is just to keep doing it until motherfuckers know.
And that's why it makes me so sad, Brian McKnight, when you tweet things like "okay im taking it down ill never do it again im putting up a safe song jeez no sense of humor but i trended for a while." That's right, Brian, you did trend for a while, and that is exactly why you should keep doing it. Because that song is maybe the best thing you've ever written, and if you keep doing it, people are just going to have to recognize that Brian McKnight is writing smooth jamz about vaginal mastery now, and anyone who doesn't like it had better get out the kitchen...because it's about to get hot. I mean, look at me: I went on to a brilliant career, and now everybody loves me.