Yesterday I wrote about some old tweets of Blake Shelton’s popping up. I predicted he wouldn’t be quick to apologize because it wouldn’t matter either way – this mini scandal won’t hurt him.
Well I was wrong –not about the scandal hurting him, but the apology. You can read it here:
As far as celebrity sorrys go, it’s not the worst but it starts off rocky.
“Everyone knows comedy has been a major part of my career and it’s always been out there for anyone to see.”
This is the equivalent of saying, “I’m not racist, I have black friends!” Blake’s trying to convince us that his humour is not hidden, and fans of his would know that. It’s not that it’s untrue – he often engages with fans on Twitter and teases Adam Levine on The Voice. But does the “out there for anyone to see” count when you delete tweets? If he really believed they were funny, why did he pull them?
But it does get better. He says he was trying to be funny but he also acknowledges the immaturity in his words. He didn’t mean for these tweets to be made public (again), but now that they have he’s not digging his heels in which, as far as a celebrity goes, has to be humbling. It’s also worth noting that the tone is not defensive, and he never says his sense of humour should get him a pass. Or that he’s not racist/sexist/homophobic so he should get a pass. Bonus points for not blaming the media.
He talks specifically about intent – humour, not hate. That’s interesting, because social media can be a very hateful place for Blake’s punchlines – LGTBQ, Muslims, women. In a larger context, the people used as the butt of politically incorrect jokes are frequent targets on Twitter (from en masse trolling to outright threats) and in real life. He says, in two different ways, that he has no tolerance for hate, and I don’t find that disingenuous. But it’s exasperating seeing the same old sh-t pass as hilarious. It’s disappointing that so few people punch up. The funniest, smartest jokes don’t end with “Caitlyn Jenner.” (Blake didn’t do that, but many others have.)
These jokes cater to the misandry crowd, the type of people who believe reverse-racism is a thing that exists (it isn’t, and it doesn’t). I don’t want Blake to be the country singer cliché – he could be so much cooler than that. Hopefully that’s why he deleted the tweets a long time ago–he was moving away from being the guy who makes fun of Richard Simmons and (not to sound too corny) growing into a more evolved, conscious person. But why am I turning this post into Blake Shelton fan fic?!
So he’s apologized. And now? His job on The Voice has given him mainstream fame (and with fame come expectations and scrutiny). He needs to rise to his level of stardom, outside of his relationship with Gwen Stefani. He can’t be the guy who courts and appeases fans who say he shouldn’t have apologized because people are, to steal a phrase from one of their tweets, “butt sensitive.” (Isn’t everyone butt sensitive? It’s a sensitive area.) This is what so many pop stars can’t do – rein in the fandom when they try to thwart change. Don’t reward f-ckheads. Maybe a fat donation to Miley’s The Happy Hippie Foundation would send a message about who Blake is now, or who he’s trying to be?