Former Arab Strap co-founder and sometimes Mogwai friend Aiden Moffat came under fire earlier this week after posting a sympathetic series of tweets defending Robin Thicke's hit "Blurred Lines" against attacks of it as a "misogynist creed." The doggedly independent musician known for his ribald, erotic lyricism wrote at one point, "He might be shite, but his career's been ruined by bullies who haven't bothered to listen to the rest of one song."
Read Moffat's full series of tweets below, but the lambasting that followed — coming primarily from males, he points out — found him accused of being a "rape apologist." Today, the Scottish artist published an essay with The Quietus in which he explains his complete position on the hit song.
"Why do I feel the song has been misinterpreted?" he writes early on. "Firstly, I don't believe the line 'I know you want it' is as 'rapey' — probably the worst new word of the century so far — as others claim. It's arrogant, yes, but for many it's the language of sex and flirtation; I've said it myself, women have said it to me, and in every single instance the phrase was a statement of fact and not an ominous threat of violence."
Moffat goes on to dissect lyrics he says are rarely quoted because they do not support the criticism that the song content condones rape:
"Okay, now he was close, tried to domesticate you / But you're an animal, baby, it's in your nature / Just let me liberate you."
Here we have a woman who is either married or deeply attached, and unhappily so, as the line infers — "tried to domesticate you" — being offered an erotic escape. Last year also saw the publication of an excellent, accessible study by Daniel Bergner, What Do Women Want? – Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, that challenges the preconceived myths of women's sexuality, such as the need for emotional connection and the lack of natural predisposition to promiscuity. As most women and anyone who's ever had sex with a woman can tell you, these archaic ideas are nonsense — and yet, in a patriarchal society, they prevail.
Judging by the comments on the site, Moffat hasn't fully swayed critics but he at least has his opinion spelled out in a format not reliant upon 140-character snippets. It probably won't be enough to bring Thicke's estranged Paula Patton back — though Moffat makes a better case for the man than "Get Her Back" does — but following his poor Paula album sales maybe it'll at least help the guy get off his knees and back on his feet.
"All music is subjective — different people hear different messages in the same song," Moffat writes. "And while all opinions are valid, none are truly right. That's the nature of all art and, indeed, life — and that's something the noble internet warriors of the modern world need to keep in mind."
Read Moffat's original tweets here:
I'm fucking sick of "quality" newspapers attacking Robin Thicke. "I know you want it" isn't any kind of misogynist creed …— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014
… it's THE LANGUAGE OF FLIRTATION. Listen to the rest of the song – and if you've never said or never been told "I know you want it" …— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014
… then you've either never had sex or you're a fucking liar. It's bold, it's cocky, it's confident, it's wanky, it's crass …— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014
… but it in no way suggests, hints at, or endorses rape. He might be shite, but his career's been ruined by bullies who haven't …— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014
… bothered to listen to the rest of one song. Real misogyny is everywhere and all around, and Robin Thicke's just a harmless tit who …— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014
… wrote a song about trying to get off with someone in a club and said something anyone – male or female – who's ever tried to get off ...— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014
… with someone in a club would say. I'm not ashamed to say that I've said "I know you want it" to many girls in my life – or rather ...— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014
… "I know you want me" – and many girls have said the same to me too (when I was younger and thinner, I mean). THAT'S HOW PEOPLE SPEAK …— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014
… AND FLIRT. Nothing more, nothing less. Man, woman, boy, girl – and everything in between – we all say daft things to get in someone …— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014
… else's pants. Fortune favours the bold. Confidence is sexy. I know you want it. Now fucking grow up and fight some real battles.— Aidan John Moffat (@AidanJohnMoffat) July 8, 2014