Pop Culture Post Secret: My Lovely Camel Humps

camel3.jpgI don’t know why it is, but something about being extremely busy and sleep-deprived in my “real” life has actually enabled my blogging inspiration this week. So, today there’s a bonus for you all- two postcards, one topic (second card after the jump). Why Fergie Ferg? Well, according to VH1, Alanis Morissette is having the Best Week Ever due to her fabulous parody of Miss Fergie Ferg and “My Humps.” After watching the video about a dozen times myself, I decided this moment was too hot to pass up.

According to dictionary.com, the primary definition of the word “hump” is “a rounded protuberance, esp. a fleshy protuberance on the back, as that due to abnormal curvature of the spine in humans, or that normally present in certain animals, as the camel or bison.” So, either Fergie is talking about a scoliosis fetish or she’s comparing her body to a camel’s. With that in mind, I created these cards, learning more than I ever needed to know about drawing camels along the way.

alanis2.jpg

The chief achievement I find in Alanis Morrissette’s parody is the way she draws attention to its ridiculous lyrics, a sentiment a lot of people seem to be expressing in the youtube comments too. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about the lyrics, of course- as this blogger writes, “As anyone even remotely busty can tell you, we don’t walk around calling our breasts ‘humps’ or ‘our lovely lady lumps.’ I still have no idea how the hell that song infiltrated the airwaves with its moronic lyrics and even worse video.” Still, the song’s beat and catchy sound somehow made me forget about the awful lyrics once in a while, if only for the sake of dancing at parties. For that reason, I imagine “My Humps” and similar songs as a sort of musical tobacco- advertised as glamorous, but highly addictive and possibly detrimental. Even if one tries to actively resist hearing the song, the secondhand smoke of pop culture infiltrates the airwaves, making it pretty much inescapable.

Alanis, by slowing the song down into a soulful ballad, makes it a very different type of song, one that cannot embed its lyrics in a danceable beat and win over the listener with its danceability. The lyrics stand out, as disgusting and degrading as they are.
It’s not just that Fergie compares her body to an animal’s- that’s (unfortunately) not so surprising. But why camels? In my experiene, the camel is one of the weirdest and unsexiest animals out there, marked mostly by a fondness for spitting. Of course, camels probably look funny to me because I haven’t seen so many in my life. However, if the chosen animal were a cow and the song were “My Udders,” I think the point would still stand. As “T-A-S-T-E-Y” or “fergalicious” as Fergie may be, celebrating her body by associating it with a beast of burden doesn’t quite work.

Although the Alanis version is a parody, I think Alanis actually takes the song’s lyrics and their implications more seriously than Fergie or the Black Eyed Peas ever did. So, despite the hilarity of the video (and the laughing at the end), I actually sense a real sadness in its sound too, a serious critique of the ways in which songs and artists offer up the bodies of women for surveillance and consumption.

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