Pop & Hiss

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John Mayer has upset us today

October 14, 2009 |  6:23 pm

For a hot 10 minutes or so, John Mayer seemed like an all right guy. He wrote smart, informed things for The Huffington Post. He played a bold, risky version, sans lyrics, of "Human Nature" at Michael Jackson's funeral. For those of us still haunted by some of his most violently ubiquitous hits, we could almost forgive him for committing things like "Your Body is a Wonderland" to record and then allowing them to circuit the world like some giant cockroach fed on some radioactive combination of Starbucks coffee and commercial blues.

But then he met a New York Magazine journalist hanging out at an Armani/Casa New York party and it all went to pot. Reading this interview will make you have sympathy pains for his publicist in a way you didn't think you could have for a publicist after Lizzie Grubman reversed her car into some 16 people.*

In his chat with Christianna Ablahad, which started off with a cheerless discussion of Obama's Nobel Prize and veered into his new album and then to the things he'd like to do to Ablahad's editor, Mayer let one pearl of sarcasm drip from his forked tongue after another. He also called her a moron and told her to shut her mouth.

Now, I can see how all of this might have seemed like flirty repartee, pinned close to each other at one of those glamorous parties that spawns up from New York streets like steam in noir novels, but there's something a little icky about Mayer's treatment of this reporter, something that hints at a little sexism. Would he have been so condescending with a male journalist?

Then again, maybe this wasn't sexism exactly -- perhaps it was just flirting gone really, really bad and caught on tape. Ouch. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, Mayer. Not that we're calling ladies flies, but the logic stands. Your game needs improvement. Maybe that should be the subject of your next song.

Perhaps it's a gaffe like this that leaves Mayer feeling empty after a night of partying, as his new video would suggest. The shots are lovely -- greys and blues and beautiful people -- but please, for one thing, no one feels sorry for the millionaire who gets stiffed with the check. And if he feels lonely, maybe stop using lines like, "I don't remember you looking any better; then again, I don't remember you." Just a suggestion. Long night in New York City, indeed.

--Margaret Wappler

*That's a joke, by the way. Pop & Hiss knows and loves several publicists, even if the relationship has never advanced past the flirty e-mail stage.