Last night on Saturday Night Live, Pete Davidson played the equivalent of Two Truths and a Lie — or, more accurately, One Truth and One Hot Take. On Weekend Update, Davidson expounded his thoughts on the sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly and Michael Jackson, the eternal debate of the art versus the artist, and his new girlfriend, British actress Kate Beckinsale. Let’s start with the truth.
Davidson, 25, addressed the age difference between himself and Beckinsale, 45. He noted that it’s his first time in a relationship with a pronounced age gap, and admitted that he’s still figuring it out. Davidson then shut down the haters by rattling off a list of famous men who have dated and married people vastly younger than themselves (with one exception: French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife, Brigitte, who is 24 years his senior). And he’s right — for men, dating someone much younger is seen as an accomplishment or a reason to brag. But women who date younger men still raises an eyebrow; such women are even called cougars, which is derogatory in 2019.
Point to Davidson on that one.
Unfortunately, Davidson then lit 30 Rock on fire with his hot takes about Kelly and Jackson. He boasted that he still listens to “Ignition (Remix)”; perhaps he’s one of the people that have increased Kelly’s music streams since the horrific allegations have been in the news. (Kelly and Jackson’s estate deny all allegations against them.) Davidson argues for, essentially, critical consumption of art — that is, enjoying the art of awful people while simultaneously acknowledging that they are awful. Problem is, money talks, and these accused abusers gets money every time someone plays his music on Spotify. Davidson gets it so wrong by forgetting this fact. When we spend money on art by abusers, we signal that their actions are worth the cost to their victims. The flow of dollars allows such abusers to maintain their systems of abuse, including infrastructure and tools of manipulation, enablers in their circle, and paying off victims to be silent. Surviving R. Kelly and Finding Neverland make this point very well: money and abuse go hand-in-hand.
No point for you on that one, Davidson.