What the fuck does that headline even mean? Jesus. They’re just words at this stage.
Anyway, let’s press on. If you’ve been on the internet in the past couple of weeks, you may be familiar with the work of Doja Cat, the Los Angeles rapper also known as Amalaratna Zandile Dlamini, whose ludicrous novelty track ‘Mooo!’ went viral earlier in the month. It’s acquired almost 10 million views since it was uploaded to YouTube on August 10, largely thanks to the track’s absurdist lyrics (“Bitch, I’m a cow / Bitch, I’m a cow / I’m not a cat, I don’t say ‘Meow’) and low-budget, green-screened, farm yard-themed video (in which, among other antics, she sticks a couple of French fries up her nose).
The genuinely accomplished, languid production and louche delivery, combined with meme-worthy, quotable lyrics (“Old McDonald had a farm / I give him a titty, tryna keep him calm“), ensured it was internet catnip. So good it’s actually good, so bad you can enjoy it ironically – all at once.
From the strength of that track alone, it appeared that Doja could become this year’s Cardi B: a viral sensation who crossed over to become a bonafide star. An online deity who passed through the looking-glass and into proper A-list territory. She had already promised to release another version of the track (a la Big Shaq and his endless retreads of ‘Man’s Not Hot’), building on the moderate success of her album ‘Amala’, which came out in March. From one coolly received album to 10 million YouTube views in the space of a few months: proper insta-culture stuff.
At the start of the week, then, Doja Cat was the toast of the tweets. And now? Now she’s 2018’s answer Milkshake Duck.
The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist
— pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets” (@pixelatedboat) June 12, 2016
If you don’t know what that means, you must spend less time on the internet than me, and for this I extend my congratulations and sincere envy to you. Back in 2016, the satirical Twitter account @pixellatedboat shared the above tweet, a piercingly prescient gag that summed up online discourse then and now: thing becomes beloved, thing becomes hyped, turns out thing has a past that is less than savoury and now we can’t like said thing.
This was around the rise of Ken Bone, an average joe who asked a question at the 2016 United States Presidential Election and warmed everyone’s cockles with his red jumper and affable demeanour. Alas, a quick look at his Reddit history revealed that Bone was, like you and me, a flawed human who made offensive jokes and had been dishonest in the past. Oh well! Onto the next one.
For her part, Doja Cat made some seriously messed-up, homophobic comments on Twitter in 2015. When she was pulled up on this earlier this week, she responded: “I called a couple of people faggots when I was in high school in 2015 does this mean i don’t deserve support? I’ve said faggot roughly like 15,000 times in my life. Does saying faggot mean you hate gay people? Do I hate gay people? I don’t think I hate gay people. Gay is ok.”
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) August 29, 2018
Obviously, what she said is indefensible and her apology was tone-deaf, a fact that was quickly pointed out on social media. Doja Cat has since deleted the tweet, though it’s inevitably been screengrabbed and, perhaps less inevitably, the Will & Grace actor Debra Messing has weighed in to chastise her. Doja Cat may be cancelled before she was even properly greenlit.
Or maybe we’ll come to accept that people are simple and complex, woke and unwoke, smart and dumb, all at once – just like ‘Mooo!’