[Please note: this entire post deals only with the “later” Weezer. I really don’t know how you would go about fitting “The Sweater Song” into this pattern or, moreover, why the fuck you would want to.]
I’m not saying you can’t be all of the things mentioned in this post’s title and still have a hard life. I know that most of my friends who fit the straight/white/man/middle-class/etc archetype (yup, all two of them) certainly have bigger issues than those of this music video’s protagonist. But why aren’t they being addressed? Is there a reason that popular bands like Weezer focus on overcoming middling social status but not…college debt? A disproportionately low life expectancy? The lack of awareness around female-on-male abuse/rape? Those are big issues that no man–over-privileged or no–is immune to. So why the fuck does Weezer write song after song about mostly-male, mostly-White people who need only to grapple with the fact that they aren’t quite as far up the social hierarchy as they could be?
My theory is that a lot of Weezer’s music works on two levels: kyriarchally, it doesn’t overtly challenge much. Women are status symbols only, few people of color are featured, and the adverse affects of systems like patriarchy (like defensive masculinity) are never challenged at the root. This aggressive conformity, somewhat unfortunately, is one of the reasons Weezer is so palatable to a mainstream audience.
However, most of Weezer’s songs do speak of some sort of resistance and strength. Less commercially successful songs like “The Good Life (2004)” are more progressive in terms of gender roles, age, and–to a certain extent–classism (in so far as the music video highlights the monotony of one young woman’s job as a pizza delivery girl). But characters like her are never allowed to overcome their adversity. Most of Weezer’s popular songs highlight some sort of struggle by which a maligned protagonist gains strength and, very often, learns to abandon his oppressors. Of course, that charade seems a whole fucking lot less impressive when (as is the case for “Perfect Situation,” shown at the start of this post) the “oppressor” is a female band member and the abandonment leads to fronting a popular band, which is a needlessly privileged position.
But I still think that “Perfect Situation” and other–admittedly pathetic and contrived–narratives of a barely-downtrodden hero who learns to reject the vapid-bitch-who-doesn’t-go-for-nice-guys-like-him can be inspiring to radically-minded people of all genders. Because, in the end, there are very few success stories wherein the leading character finds fulfillment by outright rejecting the system that previously made them so miserable. The conclusion made by the (grossly constructed, to this feminist’s mind) protagonist to ignore the catty girl musician and move the fuck on with his life is shockingly similar to my own decision to stop dressing solely to look good for other people, stop engaging in conversations I didn’t want to be part of, stop deferring to my less-qualified-but-more-male peers and just live my life. Hopefully, any encouragement to think outside of the game you will always lose (be it attracting a beautiful girl or, you know, some actual oppression) will push others to do the same.