The reality is so obvious it almost needn’t be said, but progressive narratives against rich, white, straight men have trickled into pop culture. Case in point, Kesha’s latest single is literally titled, “Rich, White, Straight Men.”
It’s a silly song, and deliberately so, sarcastically imagining a time when rich, white, straight, men “didn’t rule the world” as one in which, “you could ride a unicorn to school, and if you fall off you’d have health care.” The RWSM of Kesha’s universe constitute the single barrier to a progressive utopia, replete with equal pay, taxpayer-sponsored college, unfettered abortion access, and so much more.
Here’s a taste of just one verse. The parentheses indicate a male voice chiming in to disagree:
If you’re from another land and come here
You won’t have to climb a wall
(Yes you will!)
And if you are a boy who loves a boy
You’ll get a wedding cake and all
(Not in Colorado!)
And if you are a lady and you do your lady work
Then you will make as many dollars as the boys
Not just two thirds
From the childlike rhyme scheme to the singsong vocals to the circus-like sound of the production, “Rich, White, Straight Men” embraces the simplicity of its argument. We live in Trump’s America rather than a progressive fantasyland for one easy reason: the RWSM.
At the heart of our ills is a legion of Jack Donaghys and Donald Trumps acting in concert atop the highest perches of society, fueled by the common experience of their race, sex, sexual orientation, and net worth. This is not an oversimplification, per Kesha’s reasoning, it’s actually just that simple.
Of course, nothing is ever that simple. Nor is it especially enlightened to profile and demonize people based on traits like race and sex, whether they happen to agree with you or not.
It should also be said that despite Kesha’s talents, and its message aside, the song is pretty terrible. Even Mother Jones conceded, “The lyrics are literal, and the production is off-putting. It comes off as a rallying cry rather than a song.” (Rolling Stone, however, crowned it “one of our better pop political anthems of this moment.” I suppose that’s a good indication of how low the bar is.)
To be fair, I don’t exactly think Kesha was swinging for the fences with “Rich, White, Straight Men.” Upon leaking the song to YouTube earlier this month (apparently without her label’s blessing), she said, “I don’t know where it’s going to go or what it’s going to be on. I don’t want it to just sit on my computer.”
Even so, the song is proof you don’t have to enroll in a women’s studies course to hear this flavor of leftism treated as the obvious diagnosis to America’s ills anymore: If only we could dethrone the RWSM, we could fulfill Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) dreams. (Never mind that Sanders is an RWSM himself.)
Kesha ultimately reminds us this is a message that’s here to stay. Assuming she’s speaking for a sizable swath of the Democratic base—and I think she is—Joe Biden might want to tune in.