The release of the “Get Her Back” video in particular set off a swarm of “think pieces” about stalking and stuff. And you know what? I don’t really understand it. I don’t quite comprehend how Robin Thicke became the touchstone, the final straw that caused folks on the internet to start taking issue with a certain kind of behavior that is age-old in both pop music and real life. Robin Thicke has followed the blueprint of a particular subgenre of pop songs to get his estranged wife back, and we’re suddenly all freaked out? Seriously? Pop culture is littered with songs and music videos, movies, subplots to sitcoms, and other detritus that follow this same formula: Boy meet girl…boy gets girl…boy loses girl…boy more or less stalks girl until she takes him back. Is this not the theme of Police’s “Every Breath You Take”? Is this not the driving force behind Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain”? Is “if you ain’t stalking, you ain’t trying” not some tenet of heterosexual, monogamous pursuit? After all, this “let me harass this woman until she gives me a shot” steez is often used in the initial pursuit of women in particular. I mean, we love to talk about the black love as embodied by the Obamas and we straight up regard the fact that he kept asking her out after she refused numerous times as cute, right? Why didn’t we draw the line at Maroon 5’s Songs about Jane or even before?
Granted, we are all working under the assumptions that his efforts aren’t welcome by Paula Patton. That said, these efforts are beyond the full-court press, and we must wonder if Thicke would be better served by hollering at Dr. Jason Seaver before he sends Paula another text. But I think it’s sort of ridiculous for this moment to be the tipping point for the internet masses to get all upset about stalking and harassment. Why is Thicke the fall guy? Is it because folks are still upset about the tone of “Blurred Lines”? That he sued Marvin Gaye’s family? That’s he’s the captain of team Doing Too Much? Or is it just his time to get picked on? I think that’s it. After all, if we really cared about harassment and such, we’d give much more attention to how the incredibly long history and culture of heteronormative and monogamous relationships engenders this kind of sad and somewhat scary behavior. But as our favorite playlists and movies suggest, that’s not really what this is about. It’s actually something much sillier and asinine. Perhaps we should be giving Thicke a shout out for providing such a nice smokescreen.