You Better Work Bitch

Two days ago I casually set my suitcase down in the hallway by the door … because why carry it all the way inside when I'm not even going to unpack it until I go out of town again and anyway you guys - it's a totally minor trip hazard … for the first time since leaving for XOXO 2013 which took place in glorious glorious Portland, Oregon.

At XOXO we were privileged to hear from artists, makers, creators, "Internet" people, people with opinions, people making things, people making waves. Most recounted uplifting success stories, but not many shied away from sharing trials/tribulations, expressing criticism, or surfacing deeply personal dark struggles. I can count on part of one hand the number of talks that DIDN'T bring me to tears. It was … emotional.

I'm still processing everything that happened over the long weekend, but while I was in Portland I noticed a theme that pervaded my experience. A theme threading through those fascinating talks, parties and activities, through the time spent with delightful friends, and through the unmitigated craft beer/food truck gluttony. 

When you're a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. And so it's possible that the theme to which I have heretofore made oblique reference is something I've imposed upon XOXO because it's been on my mind. Perhaps it's even more suspect since this theme has been on my mind lately because of Britney Spears.

Friends, in the spirit of full disclosure I'll confess to taste in music that would make a jaded, fast-talking LA music executive skimming choice cuts of profit while ensconced in a shiny suit weep tears of oily joy: I PASSIONATELY LOVE TOP 40 AND I WOULD TOTALLY MARRY IT. 

Oh man, it feels so good to finally be able to say that in public.

 ***

Anyway, Ms. Spears recently announced a residency in Las Vegas and put out a new song. The single, "Work Bitch," is prominently featured on a collaborative work-in-progress rdio playlist initiated by Jenni Leder and entitled "Guilty, but not Shameful." Britney asks: 

You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti?
You want a Maserati? You better work bitch
You want a Lamborghini? Sippin martinis?
Look hot in a bikini? You better work bitch
You wanna live fancy? Live in a big mansion?
Party in France?
You better work bitch, you better work bitch
You better work bitch, you better work bitch
Now get to work bitch!
Now get to work bitch!

At the end of the second day of XOXO talks, Andy Baio and Andy McMillan took to the stage, exhausted from every unimaginable thing that one deals with when organizing a marvelous, life-changing, complicated event.

In the course of the wrap up, Andy observed with exasperation that many in the audience had tweeted about feeling "inspired." I turned red and briefly died in my wooden chair because I'd tweeted this the night before:

Andy went on to make it clear that this would be considered a dangerously shallow and vapid sentiment until we actually did something productive with our inspiration. "To sum up," said Andy (and it should be noted that here I am misquoting him with wild abandon because I was squirming with embarrassment and unable to take detailed notes) "you guys say you want us to go through all this again? Well then … YOU BETTER WORK BITCH."

Perhaps "Work Bitch" resonates with me because I passionately love pop music and do, in fact, want to party in France. But it seems to me that one could easily replace the fast cars and bikini bodies with other appropriate status symbols or personal accomplishments and the song would still make sense. You want something? Work for it. You feel like you want to make something? Go make it.

Hold your head high, fingers to the sky
They gonna try to try ya', but they can't deny ya'
Keep it moving higher, and higher
Keep it building higher, and higher
So hold your head high, fingers to the sky
Now they don't believe ya', but they gonna meet ya'
Keep it moving higher and higher
Keep it moving higher and higher and higher
                                                        - Britney Spears

 

Thank you again, XOXO; but now I gotta get back to work.