Anyone who stops by here with any regularity knows I am a big proponent of listening to both sides of an issue. I am pretty sure there is a big deficit of that happening today.
Also, you probably know I walk a line that is often straight down the middle. I have been labeled by readers as right-wing and left-wing.
Regarding the matter on which I am commenting today, I am sure one of those labels might be revived, although I would hope those of all ideological leanings would see fit to defend the person of whom I write, who is clearly a victim.
Matthew West is a popular artist in the Contemporary Christian Music genre. On Father’s Day weekend he released a new song called “Modest is Hottest,” described by him as a “light-hearted take on an age-old struggle.”
In the song, West, the father of two daughters, satirically sings about the way they dress. A YouTube video of the song (which has now been removed) showed West trying to cover up his daughters as they roll their eyes at him.
Critics on social media, rather than listening to West’s explanation of the song, quickly accused him of being part of the purity movement from years ago that has, in many instances, been found to be more shaming of young women than encouraging.
Any reasonable person, however, after listening to “Modest is Hottest,” would have known that was not the case. Purity movement folks took their position seriously and would have never poked fun at it. West’s song was pure satire and he did a good job with it.
But the critics did not have time to consider any of that, or to listen to West’s story behind the song. Striking while the iron was hot, singer-songwriter Audrey Assad got her Tweet out at 1:13 p.m. on Father’s Day, describing the phrase “modest is hottest” as “demeaning to women AND men.”
She said the song “still centers men and their preferences in how women should look – still sets being found hot by men as the ultimate goal for women – and positions all men as creeps who can’t handle seeing a woman’s bare skin without turning into out-of-control monsters.”
Horsefeathers, Audrey. Get over yourself.
This was not West’s first venture into satire. He released the hilarious “Quarantine Life” in 2020, which has been played more than two million times on You Tube.
“Modest is Hottest” is clearly along the same lines.
Again, however, the likes of the self-righteous Audrey Assad don’t have time to do their research before they tweet.
The best part of this story is West’s response. Rather than dealing with the ridiculous criticism, he removed the song from his YouTube channel.
“I’m blessed to be the father of two amazing girls,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I wrote a song poking fun at myself for being an overprotective dad and my family thought it was funny. The song was created as satire, and I realize that some people did not receive it as intended. I’ve taken the feedback to heart. The last thing I want is to distract from the real reason I make music — to spread a message of hope and love to the world.”
Unfortunately, Matthew, you are living in an age in which a small but vocal segment of the population (many of whom would be the first to tell you how important it is to be “tolerant” and would defend other song lyrics that would make most of us blush) would rather rush to judgment than appreciate your art. They have no interest in your message.
In the ultimate act of hypocrisy, they want to tell their story, but they do not want you to tell yours — satirically or otherwise. Sadly, those folks have a forum to air their supposed grievances in an almost instantaneous fashion, and they can create a temporary firestorm.
So good for you for taking the high road and moving on. The critics are not worth your time.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].