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« In Which John Mayer Is A Douchebag For Possibly The Last Time »

One Joke Over The Line


Trying to explain privilege to some people can sort of be like trying to explain the Matrix to somebody who is in the Matrix. They're like "whaaa?" because it has literally never occurred to them that their mode of being might differ from other (non-white, non-male, non-straight) people's experiences of the world. Nobody likes to be condescended to. That's why the number one killer of love is contempt, and why I used a Matrix reference instead of something more snobby and indirect. 

That's why people like John Mayer, who can't help but be contemptuous of everyone else for not being as totally awesome as they are, don't generally find love. There's an intersection between narcissism and misogyny that ends up with bachelors like Jack Nicholson and Alec Baldwin, who both repeatedly fantasize in interviews about falling in love and getting married again, oblivious to why that's not gonna happen. 

Hilarious profoundly sexist made up words like mansplaining and mantrums do sort of get at some real issues. Kanye West had a burgeoning alcohol problem to blame for his VMAs mantrum. Does John Mayer have a cocaine problem? Or just regular run of the mill blogger mental issues? I mean I've been interviewed a couple times, but not in person, and I can imagine saying some easy to quote out of context shit if actually tape recorded. I doubt I could possibly be this offensive or entertaining.

Even more so than Lady Gaga, John Mayer's life is performance art. And for years now it has been the performance of an incredibly insecure and simultaneously incredibly arrogant guy. Funny, mean, and obliviously defensive. John Mayer's whole interview schtick is a sustained act of attempted mansplaining. He just cannot say anything nice without backstabbing somebody in the process.

Mayer's well aware that he has perennial foot in mouth disease. He has tried to channel it into comedy, and then gets mad at the audience for not 'getting' his jokes and making him mansplain them. The Kumail Nanjiani thing is profoundly cringeable. White guys just don't get to make racist jokes. I don't care what VICE told you in 2001. Try that shit around some brown skinned people (DON'T). 

Saying that the concept of a white artist like John Mayer having a "hood pass" is racist is not racist, dropping the n bomb is a never particularly good idea. Saying that your dick is a white supremacist (specifically David Duke) is where I draw the line, in terms of empathy. Gabby Sidibe should step on his balls in high heels. 

Ever the normie, John Mayer's taste in women runs to the blonde and Aryan. Of course he wants to bone Taylor Swift. Honestly we all know he should because the guy who takes that girl's virginity is already doomed and this way we'd probably get some rad songs out of it about princes stabbing princesses to death with unicorn tusks.

Of course Jessica Simpson was his sexual ideal, she's built like a porn star and programmed to shut up on command by her scary preacher dad. Then there were those blind items about how John Mayer encouraged her not to talk during their relationship by telling her that she looked prettiest with her mouth closed (YIKES).

Kanye and John Mayer both made incredibly personal, one might say oversharey, breakup albums. Divisive albums, especially for such popular mainstream favorites. Kanye's autotune bullshit was a screen to hide behind so he could be vulnerable.

"I am human and I need to be loved, just like anybody else does"

Likewise John Mayer talks mad shit about Jennifer Aniston on Battle Studies and outs her as a wine drunk, but also pines for her in a creepily authentic way. He tells Playboy they broke up because "one of the most significant differences between us was that I was tweeting." He also says Jen "wishes it would go back to 1998" (YOWCH). 


Both the Kanye and John Mayer albums are such pure expressions of post-breakup angst, oscillating wildly between sadness and fuck youism. There's a lot of regret and saudade strung up in both. Neither one is Blood On The Tracks or anything (or Sea Change or last year's Two Suns) but they're interesting artifacts at the least.

Mayer suggests that if you find "Daughters" and "Your Body Is A Wonderland" condescending, you're not going to be "into" him. But what are both those songs if not incredibly condescending to women? Girls become lovers who turn into mothers? What the fuck are you talking about? He even made a television pilot that is expressly just him being a (hilariously) condescending dick to his fans. I hope Jennifer Aniston is laughing on Gerry Butler's dick right now in Cabo.

"You guys into the Animal Collective? I'm more of a Deakin man myself"

The whole thing about John Mayer is that he acts far too cool for somebody who makes the kind of music he makes. His persona suggests an indie culture snob, somebody who wouldn't be caught dead listening to John Mayer. But he is a populist and I contrarian (I can relate). He thinks liking mainstream Billboard charts music is revolutionary, whereas your modern actual music snob knows this is just one part of your balanced eclectic diet. We'd all hate him more if he tried to hip us to Grizzly Bear or Beach House or something.

My suggestion is that John Mayer spend the long weekend snowed in with Wanda Sykes so that he may emerge somewhat more knowledgeable about race, gender, orientation, and being fucking clever. I'm sure Wanda also knows ways to make women cum that John Mayer has never heard of.

I'm not saying Jessica Simpson fakes orgasms, but would you really be surprised? My other solution is that John Mayer and Kanye make a sex tape together. 

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She tumbls and twitters.

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References (9)

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Reader Comments (47)

This is breathtaking.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkatiebakes

i'm going to go bedazzle a "save john mayer" t-shirt now.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersjm

This is great work.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharmie

And to do it all with a Brewer & Shipley reference... amazing.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertrevortb

MOLLY YOU RULE. This is so great, and so TRUE! I wish I could hang out with you in real life.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

Is this necessary? The interview itself paints an accurate picture of the man. I don't understand blogs.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Molly, when I move to L.A. we're going to live together in a room with collage of lonely white men on the wall and a 1989 waterbed from Craigslist, yes?

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren B

That article was so rambing I couldn't even finish it. Who cares about John Mayer? Why does he need to hang out with Wanda Sykes? What's he gonna learn from her? That he has to like everybody? What does it matter if someone doesn't like someone because of their ethnicity, etc.? I hate people who love to accuse and act like they are utterly appalled because someone thought a racist thought. What an easy way to attack something and at the same time prove that you are enlightened. p.s. The only reason I even saw this acticle was because I was looking at Howard Stern's website.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDudeman

I've never seen so many bizarre references unsucessfully crowbarred into a article in my life. Do yourself a favor and watch a few episodes of "Family Guy," if you"d like to perfect that skill to the point of making people actually laugh.

However, that point about John acting to cool for a guy that writes that type of music is refreshingly accurate and I wish he'd read it and react accordingly by acting less like a rockstar or by writing cooler music.

One last thought. Why is it such a crime for people to be honest these days? We all think weird shit, we're all a little racist or ignorant about something or someone so why do we keep chastising or acting surprised when we see those traits in a celebrity?...

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCali Joe in AZ

I liked this, right up until you spelled it "cum." Which means that I liked it right up until the end!

Also, last night I was intensely jealous (after being slightly doubtful) that Mayer talked about sex with Simpson in such amazingly obsessive, passionate terms. I'm fairly sure that no one has ever liked fucking me as much as he liked fucking her, and that's annoying to me. But then he had to run his mouth and fuck it all up by being a bigot. It reminds me that I need to be more selective in which pullquotes I read.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate

While I love the idea of this article, the execution is impossibly hard to read. Most of the thoughts are right on, especially how we'd hate him more if he tried to "hip us to Grizzly Bear," but many of the sentences just don't have proper syntax (the "hood pass" paragraph). Also, "Daughters" may be a terrible song, but in what way is it misogynistic? does its lyrics even mean anything??

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeoff

Well...but Jessica Simpson *IS* a whole lot prettier with her mouth shut. I'm glad someone finally told her, even if it was Evil John Mayer who has apparently become the next Kayne West as far as his social skills go, lol

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

Family Guy is a bad show and a rip off of the Simpsons Season 7's funniest moments.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLambo

This article is pure Ether.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLambo

Redux for a minute: He said "hood pass" is as offensive a term as "n-word pass," and that he's disappointed that he's not attracted to a diversity of women. Sure, he said it in a really douchey way, but it's content that determines character. He's not a bigot, rss post skimmers, he's a douche.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSchorsch


February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClara

@Schorsch He said his dick was a white supremacist!
@Cali Joe Are you kidding? Please be kidding.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTess Lynch

Mayer, kanye, and bale can do no wrong in my eyes. I give them a "mediocre white guy pass". Why get huffy? Wanda Sykes? Why would you wish that on anyone?

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBP

Well put. I would have just written "OH MY GOD HE'S SUCH A DICK" and ended it there. You are far more articulate than I.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlmie Rose

Wow this is the most Ive read or thought about John Mayer. Ever. The sad thing is, he's cooler than you.

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChet

Whoa, so many Mayer fans/first time TR commenters! Molly, I hope you took that suggestion about learning a little something from Family Guy to heart.

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachael

Oh of course! He wasn't being racist, he was being honest!

I agree, you're not Family Guy funny yet. But keep on trying Molly, and who knows, one day...

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZoe

To read Molly Lambert write about pop culture is to cease to be a victim of pop culture.

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter6h057

He looks like Rod Blagojevich with less hair.

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteven Augustine

This article is full of fail. Not the subject or the writing itself, but is it really necessary to paste an image between every single paragraph? Granted this may be a very well written article, but I stopped reading after the 4th picture. But then again, if you feel the need to cram 13 images and a video to bring your point across, then maybe it is to mask your shitty writing. Either that or your readers so ADD riddled as to require so many images in order to complete an article.

I hope every article on this site isn't like this.........

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZen

There's always a weird battle of the sexes in the comment sections to some of these articles...

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjonthewallflower

John Mayer is a celebrity pig who can't keep his pants on. I hate his music and don't like anything about the guy. He's disgusting and people should not buy his music.

Now ask me how I really feel?

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDee Gerrish


February 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNur

This is just fucking amazing, ML.

February 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNG

Love the article! Thank you so much!

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMnM

oh goodness that was some good slating cos it's so true lol. but u no what i guess he brought this on himself the douche

April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Wow... So much hate on an amazing musician.

I'm not going to be an enraging fanboy and suggest 'you're all just jelous of his talent' but it takes something very rare indeed to consistently produce original melodies, inteligent and clever lyrics, keep the albums coming and all at such a young age. To be honest if I was as talented as him i'd probably be a douche, too.

I just really respect what the guys built, you need to be cocky to land yourself where he's landed. I admire him, not for his douchey aspects but the amount of good music he produces, none of it sounding the same but all of it with a unique John Mayer ring to it. Not to mention the amount of live shows he does with seemingly no nerves what so ever, and as an aspiring musician I find it hard not to respect that.

Also whats all this about Daughters being condescending?
"And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers be good to your daughters
And daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too."

From what I can tell this is basically saying treat your kids well, because the influence carries on from father to daughter/mother to daughter, it's not saying 'Bang The Worthless B*tch in Her Pooper' like the metal genre probably houses somewhere in it's domain. Also my mum's a university tutor in creative writing and poetry, and a professional writer, and, for your information, she finds the song 'lyrically perfect,' not 'incredibly condescending to women.'

And I'm not even going to adress the idea of a song about making love as sexist, because if women like you think talking about sex is some sort of below the belt strike at women's rights then if your ever got their way the entire human population would die out, so I can't help but feel dissinclined to take this seriously. You're pretty much giving a bad name to a good cause.

Opinionated bloggers really piss me off.

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Next you'll be telling us about penis tape. "Penis tape, the only tape expressly made for penis taping. Available wherever fine products are sold."

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRay P. DuBois

John Mayer *is* a douche...his music isn't even that good...What is his deal? Why does he even open his mouth?? He is just a (bad) sound bite...

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTm

I love his music, but agree, he's a douche.

Check out his Live in LA album/DVD ("It feels good to be necessary")

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMayer Fan

I realize I'm very late to this article and no-one cares by now, but still, I find it really unfortunate that you chose to use the phrase "Or just regular run of the mill blogger mental issues" in a piece about privilege, as if mental health were not one of the biggest privileges of all.

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Haters will hate. Let him play his music, who cares about what else he does? as long as he keeps playing blues rock I don't really care. :)

September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKays

Good actor

October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeiner

John mayer is the #1 deuchebag yes, but this feminist author drives a hard second place...

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSeventhlight

in all honesty you lot should fuck off!!!
if it wasnt for artists like him who would you have to bitch and whine about??
so Molly what would you do if you didnt have all this gossip and media bullshit?? your job needs people like this otherwise you wouldnt survive, you all love a bit of gossip and bad mouthing someone who actually couldnt give a shit what you think.
he is a talent, and he also has his own opinion, do you not think maybe its all a big wind up??
im not into this blogging thing and after reading this shit i probably wont ever bother if its full of asses like yourself,
im a music fan, he is a great musician, so i like it, as do all his other fans. if you wish to delve into his private life that deeply then maybe you should leave a little wiggle room in your work for people to make there own opinions.

have a good life bitching about the successful talented types, you might make a living out of it ;)

Soooo she shouldn't make this article because if people like Mayer weren't around...she'd have nothing to make this article about?

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDerp

stu, he can do whatevenr he want he is a beautifu; poet and i love him for that

May 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterleah

Fantastic! He is surely the king of douchebag a holes.

June 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterP

Leah you may be a bigger douchebag than him.

June 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterP
You are a fucking idiot, Molly. How about you take that high horse you sit on and shove it up your condescending ass? You're inability to even recognize good music makes me want to duck tape Stevie Ray Vaughn to your ears and make them bleed. John Mayer has had a few bad interviews, fuck off, a lot of people had bad interviews. You're just a sad, pathetic human being who needs to get laid. After you get laid, let me know if you have a better appreciation for your life. Until then, fuck off. You should probably check into a mental institute or join a sorority to get friends. But I bet you hate those too. You're a sad, sad person. I don't envy you.
May 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
John Mayer is the biggest idiot in the music business. Or Kanye West... I just can't decide... Douche-bag, pigheaded-ness over load! I don't know which one has a bigger ego or a smaller cock. Lol at commenter Lauren though. Talk about catty.
June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Wow, you have your wrong opinions and I have right opinions! You're just an asshole, do you not have a life? That's what you do is sit on a computer and blog about how John Mayer is a douche, and a jerk? There are guys out there that are jerks and douchebags, but no you only want to point out John because he's famous? You should be ashamed of yourself! John is a normal human-being! You on the other hand are a fucking asshole. His music is great, do not start hating on John because you don't like his music. I don't like One Direction, but you don't see me out there blogging 24\7 about how they suck, and are stupid! John is not an idiot either! GOSH, do you not have anything else to do but hate on people? You make me sick, you only target him because he's famous. If he wasn't famous, you wouldn't care about him! FYI, his music is amazing, his guitar skills are amazing too! You're just a hateful bitch. Plus, people make stuff up, you can't always believe what people say about John!!! Opinionated bloggers really piss me off, and if you want to have a conversation with me about what I'm saying, email me @parmer2012@gmail.com. You're inability to even recognize good music makes me want to duck tape Stevie Ray Vaughn to your ears and make them bleed. John Mayer has had a few bad interviews, fuck off, a lot of people had bad interviews. I hope that one of y'all stupid ass John Mayer haters email, because when you do and you're talking shit, I'm going to release hell on you. Please, I'm begging one of you dumbass hate bloggers to email!!
August 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDestiny

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