Android Lust – Kingdom Of Ones
This track requires a coarse language warning
Though I have used it on the odd occasion, I’m not so fond of the term guilty pleasure. The primary inference is that I have to admit or confess to liking something, and be embarassed by it for some reason. I can’t do that, because I like my taste in music. So much so that I think the music I like is awesome and most posts on this blog are written just to tell everyone about it.
I’m not embarassed to say that in my CD collection, Justin Timberlake’s Futuresex/Lovesounds is in close proximity to Tool’s Lateralus. I used to be, I guess, but there’s little point in my insisting this blog is about the things I like if there’s an unspoken addendum ‘…but only if I think everyone else will approve.’ Whether people would pick up on it or not, it would discredit everything I write here.
So when I thought about which song I could consider a guilty pleasure, Android Lust’s Kingdom Of Ones is the only one I could think of that even comes close, though the guilt isn’t quite from thinking that it isn’t something I should like, or that others will chastise me for doing so.
It’s a remix of Kingdom of One (the ‘s’ being the only difference in titles, so a notable distinction), with one word in particular repeated at the start with pointed emphasis – if you’ve already pressed play, I’m sure you know by now which word I’m referring to.
I feel guilty that no matter how much I dislike the fact that a word which refers to a part of the female anatomy is still considered one of the most derogatory and shocking things you can call someone, I still find it exceedingly difficult not to feel a level of discomfort at other’s attempts to bring it into more common usage, where it has potential to lose the aforementioned ‘worst word ever’ stigma.
I feel guilty that although it’s actually one of my favoured Android Lust tracks, I would be slightly embarassed to be ‘caught’ singing along to it (on a sliding scale, though – friends and the like = marginally embarassed; grandmother = I probably wouldn’t be able to look her in the eye for a while afterwards). Further to that, I feel a little guilty that I can rarely bring myself to sing along to it in the first place. The word has maintained a distinct sense of taboo and on the occasions I have found myself singing the lyrics, I feel self-conscious about it.
Admittedly, it’s not used in the most positive context here, either, but at least it’s clear that Shikhee is using it to refer to what it’s meant to refer to, and not simply the most vulgar insult she can think of for a person as a whole. (No pun intended, but there one is anyway).
I’m not sure what it’s like elsewhere, but in Australia a lot of swear words – particularly those that refer to human anatomy or function – are capable of being used in either an insulting or affectionate context. I mean that in a more day-to-day colloquial usage rather than, say, dirty talk, but as far as I know the same rules generally apply in that situation, too. If you’re calling your girlfriend or her anatomy “the word which must not be named”, chances are you’re also calling her a bitch, whore, slut etc in the same context. (Fine if she likes that sort of thing, I suppose).
The issue for me is that every word that I know which refers to a part of the human anatomy but is considered ‘bad’ language, is acceptable as a term of endearnment in certain contexts. Except the c-word. This bothers me, and not from any militant feminist standpoint – I’m not about to go make placards that say “equal rights for c***s!” and stand outside Goverment House… Then again, maybe I should. It bothers me that outside of the word’s strict, original meaning, which dates back to the 13th century, just so you know, appearing in Chaucer‘s Canterbury Tales (14th century) – notably seeming to be synonymous with quaint and used in a raunchy context, and not considered obscene until the 17th century (sometime around Shakespeare deciding to play with it¹ – let’s blame him). What I was getting at is that now, every intended meaning and inference is taken to be uncouth and insulting. Which I think is a shame.
Of course, there’s always the chance I’m simply out of touch with my and other cultures. Maybe no one else was even remotely shocked by the language used in this song, and thought of all sorts of good things when they heard it. I’d be interested to know if the sense of vulgarity and – particularly – disparagement is less prevalent than I think, or if there are other places the word does have the capacity to be used in a positive context.
I don’t feel the obligatory, or implied, sense of shame that “guilty pleasure” usually infers when listening to this song, or by posting it for others to listen to. The point is that even if I can’t say it freely myself, I can at least continue to expose, and therefore push, my own limits, which is they only way they have a chance of changing.
1. Act III, Scene 2 of Hamlet
Hamlet: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia: No, my lord.
Hamlet: I mean, my head upon your lap.
Ophelia: Ay, my lord.
Hamlet: Do you think I meant country matters?
Ophelia: I think nothing, my lord.
Hamlet: That’s a fair thought, to lie between maid’s legs.
That last line is intended to show the emphasis is on the first syllable of ‘country’ in Hamlet’s previous line...perhaps obviously.