Stupid Tuesday questions, Diana Ross edition
Those were the words that greeted me yesterday as I glanced down at my satellite radio display to see what happened to be playing. I had it tuned to one of the 80s stations, but was listening to local radio at that specific moment. And lo, the song that was playing was something called “Sex Dwarf” by one-hit wonder Soft Cell.
“‘Sex Dwarf?'” thought I. “There’s a song called ‘Sex Dwarf’? Why is there a song called ‘Sex Dwarf’?”
And of course, I had no choice but to listen.
Fans of “The Humpty Dance” will be cheered to know that I have revised my previous opinion that it is the worst thing ever recorded. I have revised this opinion for two reasons. The first is that, as encouraged by various commenters to my last post on the subject, I gave it another chance as a fun, tongue-in-cheek recording, and I can see why people might like it in that light. I still don’t like it all that much myself, but I don’t hate it any longer, either.
But the primary, fundamental reason I would be forced to revise my opinion in any case is that “Sex Dwarf” is unmistakably the worst thing ever recorded. I’d rather listen to plate glass being fed through a wood chipper. Hell, I’d even position my tympanic membranes at the receiving end of said wood chipper. That song is to music what dysentery is to a holiday weekend. And while I found the lyrics to “Tainted Love” kind of clunky and leaden (and only really like it when it transitions to a cover of The Supremes hit “Where Did Our Love Go”), “Tainted Love” sounds like the work of Friedrich Schiller compared to humdingers like:
Isn’t it nice
Sugar and spice
Luring disco dollies
To a life of vice
That’s right. You exist in a world alongside those words in that order.
But, in… let’s call it “researching” for this post, I discovered that Soft Cell’s crimes go much deeper than merely recording perhaps the most witless and musically meritless song in human history. No, friends. It was not enough that Soft Cell sought to assault the ears of unsuspecting listeners. No.
There is also a video.
Before the curious among you click through, please heed a few warnings. First of all, it is NSFW. (Not only is there nudity, but your boss may fire you for its sheer tackiness if you’re caught watching it.) Also, the video quality is poor. Also, it will make you envy the blind. It features not only the titular character, but also a maniacal chainsaw-wielding… sex butcher, I guess? Hacking at sides of meat. Which numerous topless women and be-jockstrapped men proceed to rub on themselves. However bad you may be envisioning it, I promise you that the reality is orders of magnitude worse.
According to Wikipedia (unimpeachable source of sound, factual information that it is), the video was banned before it was ever released. That may be one of the few instances of censorship I actually agree with fully. Not because of the video’s nudity, mind you. Not even because it is horribly, genuinely offensive to people of short stature. No. I’m glad it was banned because it is so idiotic and sexually unappealing that viewers may have been moved to swear off coitus altogether, leading to a potentially catastrophic worldwide population collapse.
I cannot, for the life of me, understand how anyone in a decision-making capacity with regard to that video’s production did not take one look and immediately destroy it. It boggles the mind that anyone could listen to the song itself and think “Yes, this reflects a clear picture of my record label/me as an artist” rather than taking a sledgehammer to the demo tapes. People willingly allowed their names to be attached to “Sex Dwarf.”
So that is this week’s Question — what has been produced and marketed, the sheer existence of which you find astounding? What product/performance is so utterly devoid of redeeming qualities that you are stunned to consider both that is the actual output of human endeavor and that it was not immediately recognized as an utter botch and disavowed on its inception? What makes you say “Really? You’re willing to claim that?”