The Fate of John Mayer’s Image

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ENT: John Mayer Battle Studies Tour. FEB 6The concept of public figures getting caught up in racist scandals isn’t exactly brand new – many a good reputation has been permanently tarnished thanks to misspoken words and overheard conversations.  Even though their careers are getting back on track, people won’t be forgetting the ignorant words of Don Imus or Mel Gibson anytime soon and their brands now have entirely different connotations.  However, the entertainment world was still rocked a few weeks ago when John Mayer’s offensive and way-too-honest interview with Playboy Magazine was released. For those of you who aren’t as up on celebrity news and gossip as I am, the interview had Mayer saying that a certain anatomical feature of his was a “white supremacist”, dropping the n-bomb multiple times, and revealing sordid details of his sex life with Jessica Simpson.  For exact quotes and a great breakdown, check out the Perez article here.

Now that the dust has settled, I’m prepared to make this statement: John Mayer is going to be FINE.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that this will all be forgotten about within a month or two.  This is not to say that Mayer shouldn’t be actively apologetic to the black community, Jessica Simpson, and anyone else that was offended by his words.  If he wants to keep his career intact, this is obviously necessary.  What I AM saying is that this will be enough.  Enough for him to keep selling albums and enough for him to hang on to his fans and even continue making new ones.

The reason why I feel comfortable making this claim is because when it comes down to it these recent actions are perfectly in line with John Mayer’s image.  Douche-baggery is nothing new to him – he’s made his living on it.  His tweets are arrogant, he’s dated (and dumped) his way through Hollywood, and he once made out with Perez Hilton and then denied the entire thing (I’m still confused about this whole thing).  He has NOT made his living on being a squeaky-clean, modest singer-songwriter.  I for one wasn’t shocked when I read about the whole situation.  This is the type of thing that people have come to expect of him, and he’s managed to continue being successful.

In fact, when you read his words in the interview, you can tell that he wasn’t trying to be malicious.  Rather, he was trying to be hip and intellectual, and maybe even thought-provoking.  Instead, he comes across as stupid and out-of-touch – a PR mess that I for one would rather have on my hands than a true racist.  For a little perspective, check out The View’s coverage and thoughts – you can tell that it’s one big joke to them, and this is one group of ladies who aren’t afraid to say what they feel (I’ve learned that one can gauge public opinion by watching The View ;) )

John Mayer will continue to apologize, but in the end this will all be over- until he does some other ridiculous interview.  When you come to expect something of a public figure, it isn’t as shocking when it actually happens.

So do y’all agree with me? Will Mayer be just fine or will his words haunt him forever?

(Disclaimer: I do not in ANY WAY condone John Mayer’s words).

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  • http://stefparkspeaks.blogspot.com/ stephanie

    Agree with you that his intent was not malicious. However, he certainly comes across as someone “not so bright” trying way too hard to seem informed, hip and politically correct–then blows it BIG TIME. Even a really good PR rep would have his/her hands full. Seems like he would fumble even a meticulously scripted statement in another ill-fated and vain attempt to project himself as “cool” . I think he should just keep quiet and “make music, not comments”.

  • http://twitter.com/tjdietderich TJ Dietderich

    I get the impression that Mayer is kind of a mimbo. That doesn't excuse him from saying something so astronomically stupid, but the fact is that we all say stupid things sometimes. Put a human being under a spotlight or on camera and, given enough time, they will say something truly ludicrous. Even my linguistic hero Stephen Fry has said some leotarded things in public, but yanno what? He's fine. All you can do is just apologize and move on.

  • http://www.sheemasiddiqi.com Sheema Siddiqi

    I agree that John Mayer will be just fine. I think the comments he made in the interview were inexcusable, but I don't think he was being malicious. He's just that guy who tends to say the wrong thing- but in his case, it shows up in print with millions of people watching. I think a lot of the time he's kidding and a lot of people don't get his sense of humor. He has an enormous amount of talent and if he sticks to what he does best, he'll be fine. People should remember that this is the man who wrote “My Stupid Mouth”, so in all fairness he warned us awhile ago.

  • http://www.glorysgirl.com/ Ashley Messick

    haha your last line just made me laugh at this whole situation :) I love when songs imitate life. Kinda like Britney's “Oops I Did it Again” right?

  • missmotorcade

    Totally agree with you, Jess – he'll be fine. But he really needs to grow up. Using insensitive language like that just isn't cute.

  • http://www.sheemasiddiqi.com Sheema Siddiqi

    Thanks haha. I think Britney counts too except someone else wrote the song for her!

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  • http://twitter.com/JGoldsborough JGoldsborough

    “Douche-baggery is nothing new to him.”

    a) I hope no one ever says this about me. b) I will read any post with this quote in it :).

    I think John Mayer is someone who rarely thinks before he speaks. And he can get away with that. The scary thing is anyone who might see his actions and attempt to mimick his flippancy. Because if any of us made similar comments, it would be a PR and personal nightmare from whcih it would take a long time to recover.

    Reminds me of KU basketball player Tyshawn Taylor's comments on Facebook last year (http://www.kansan.com/news/2009/sep/23/police_e…).

    No big deal for him, he will play in the NBA. But if “everyman/woman” had posted those comments, could ruin a career.

    @jgoldsborough

  • http://twitter.com/ramseym Ramsey Mohsen

    You write, “…these recent actions are perfectly in line with John Mayer’s image.”

    IMHO, you're right. In fact, it keeps Mayer in the spotlight and gives him more attention.

    I've read countless interviews with Mayer and I get the sense life is just one big game to him. All he really cares about is his music. Everything that goes along with it- he mocks. He. Truly. just. doesn't. care.