Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Seth Bogart on the very legitimate reason he hates Chris Brown

Photo: JJ Stratford
Photo: JJ Stratford

In HateSong, we ask our favorite musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth to expound on the one song they hate most in the world.


The hater: Seth Bogart is nothing if not prolific. The former Gravy Train!!!! member is not only a musician, but also a fashion designer, with his over-the-top Wacky Wacko clothing line attracting fans like Miley Cyrus and Kathleen Hanna. They even guest on Bogart’s latest record, Seth Bogart, which is out this Friday on Burger Records. His second solo LP, Seth Bogart finds the Hunx And His Punx frontman subverting both pop and punk norms, blending new-wave sounds with lyrics about eating makeup. It’s an absolute mindfuck—and that’s a very good thing.

The hated: Chris Brown, “Don’t Wake Me Up” (2012)

The A.V. Club: Why is this the song you picked, other than the fact that Chris Brown is the worst?


Seth Bogart: He’s the worst! It’s really mind-blowing to me, actually.

AVC: It’s not like he “allegedly” hit Rihanna; we saw pictures of it. It’s pretty real.


SB: Also, I didn’t know if I blocked it out of my memory, but there’s a tattoo of a battered woman on his neck, which he says is a “Day Of The Dead” tattoo, but I’ve never seen a “Day Of The Dead” thing look like that. It looks like a drag queen. It’s all mangled or something.

AVC: Why is this the song you picked, though? Out of all the Chris Brown songs, why is this the one?


SB: I was originally going to pick an AC/DC song because I hate them so much, but then I realized that the actual worst person is Chris Brown because he beats women and gets away with it. There are no consequences for him, and then I was looking up which Chris Brown songs I remembered and, unfortunately, it’s still played on the radio constantly, so I always find myself singing one of his songs without realizing just because I heard it on the radio. So I looked up all the songs and said, “Oh, that’s the one that’s stuck in my head the most, so that’s the one I hate the most.”

AVC: He’s still very popular with young women who might not have any institutional memory.


SB: It’s just crazy what men in the world get away with and when a woman fucks up how much shit they can get. And then there’s men who beat women and they’re almost rewarded for it in a way.


AVC: There are 11 songwriters on this track.

SB: Oh my God. So 11 people are cool with him and making money off of him?

AVC: At least.

SB: I think that’s even worse because the fact that it’s just a gay-sounding song and it’s him singing it makes me even more upset.


AVC: It was allegedly originally written for Madonna, but then she couldn’t record it, so it went to Chris Brown. At least with Madonna, it could just be a cool gay club jam.

SB: Yeah, I could get into it at a gay club.

That’s why I hated “Don’t Wake Me Up” so much. It’s like brainwashing.

AVC: In what way?

SB: Just in the way that radio stations and MTV or whatever play it constantly so it’s stuck in my head before I even realize what’s happening.


AVC: Did you watch the video for this by any chance?

SB: I mean, when I first heard about this interview I tried to, but he repulses me. Why, what’s the video like?


AVC: It’s just dumb. He’s in a desert and it’s really windy and there’s some car racing going on, and there’s a girl. It’s just one of those things where it’s just the dumbest, most tired concept for anything.

SB: It’s a desert?

AVC: Yeah, and there’s some kind of AI element and the girl is dead and he has tubes so he remembers her. It’s like Minority Report.


SB: It just bums me out that people like Miley Cyrus—who definitely has her things that are weird, but overall, has helped homeless people and LGBT youth and does good things for the world—gets so much shit, and woman beaters like Chris Brown… I know when he first did it he kind of got in trouble, but it’s almost like it didn’t happen now. And I don’t want to talk tons of shit on Rihanna, but I’m just really not a fan of hers anymore because she publicly got back together with him.

AVC: Or hasn’t since said, “This wasn’t okay, I was in a bad spot” as a role model to women.


SB: That’s what I mean. I don’t blame her at all. I totally understand what it’s like to be in a relationship like that, but as a huge celebrity who has such an impact on so many young women, she could have kept it secret getting back together with him or made some kind of a statement. As far as I know, I don’t think she did. Ever since then, I’ve been down on her, too. I still like her, but I was just disappointed in her, honestly.

I got into a fight with a friend of mine—a woman. She got really mad at me for saying that, but I just think that if I was in that position, I would take it as my responsibility as a role model to say something or to keep it secret. Get back together with Chris Brown, but be secretive about it.

AVC: Miley Cyrus, speaking of, is in Woody Allen’s new project.

SB: I heard about that.

AVC: It’s like, who is okay and who is not okay? Why do some people still write about R. Kelly, but some people are sour on him? Why do we all agree that Bill Cosby is sullied now? What is the line?


SB: Well, I’ve seen it a million times with women getting so much shit for fucking up and men just not.

AVC: Like who?

SB: Anyone from Miley Cyrus to Lily Allen to Amy Winehouse to Kathleen Hanna, calling her a racist. Totally insane things. Or even a stupid, outdated example of people hating Gwyneth Paltrow. I remember reading this thing about the “top 10 most hated women” and people hate Gwyneth Paltrow for “cupping,” which is a trendy thing people were into 10 years ago. I remember reading that and thinking, “Why are people hating Gwyneth Paltrow for having spots on her back when Chris Brown beat the shit out of women?” You know? I just don’t get it.


AVC: But I guess you could say people have been talking about Bill Cosby for years. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made jokes about his rape allegations on SNL, and it took Hannibal Buress, a male comedian, saying something for it to blow up. Standards are very different.

SB: And that’s crazy because it’s, like, 80 women or something. You would think he’d have gone down a while ago.


AVC: You would think.

SB: The thing that makes me more sad than anything is when women support that. I don’t know if that’s fucked up.


AVC: Chris Brown’s whole fan base is women.

SB: I know! That’s what’s so crazy to me! Women that hate other women, that’s the worst.


AVC: Or the concept of, “Rihanna must have deserved it; he wouldn’t have done that to me.” “She must have said something to him.”

SB: Or if they think it’s hot or something.

AVC: This is so gross; I’m so grossed out by this song by Chris Brown now.

SB: Doesn’t Chris Brown do a bunch of duets with huge, popular female artists to this day?


AVC: And male artists. Someone please just take a stand.

SB: It’s not just like women who should take a stand. It’s men. Definitely.

AVC: Or people that work at his record label, or all sorts of people.

SB: Well, what it comes down to is that people love fame and money. He’s got both, so he can do whatever the fuck he wants.

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