I have been thinking carefully about an important matter – the sexist and basically confusing message of Olivia Newton John’s 1981 hit ‘Physical’.
At the start of the song, she outlines classic elements of ‘studied charisma’ which has of late been identified as predatory when practised by men. ‘I’m saying all the things that I know you’ll like, makin’ good conversation’. This is clearly an indication that her conversation with the subject of the song has been a subterfuge, a confection geared towards seduction. The lyrics confirm her devices and her intent. She has taken the subject of her attentions first to an ‘intimate restaurant’, and then to a ‘suggestive movie’ – implying she has already seen the movie or has relied on reviews of its content to ensure the content is sexually suggestive and therefore more certainly geared to bedding her quarry.
The evidence shows that this predator has no interest in conversation at all and she says so – ‘There’s nothing left to talk about, ‘less it’s horizontally’.
She clearly sees her date as a sure thing – not human, a mere plate of meat for her sexual delectation. She is out of control.
The video for the song compounds the distress of your correspondent. Ms Newton John has descended upon a gymnasium, probably in the knowledge that it is habituated only by men, and she begins to molest and assault the men endeavoring to go about their business. She lurks inside a resistance training device, taunting a man who has heretofore, as far as we are aware, not done anything to harm or upset her, causing him to be ejected through the double doors of the gym.
This is not her only molestation of the hapless males in the gym; next she prowls behind a man meekly working out on a treadmill, eventually rubbing up against him and mounting him in a way which plainly leaves the poor man in distress.
Next she attacks a man on an Exercycle machine – he is comfortably exerting himself at a level 10 intensity on the machine – without so much as a by-your-leave she turns the machine up to level 60, throwing the man into paroxysms and possibly risking injury to him.
By this stage, it is clear Ms Newton-John is in a state of some distress herself – she pounces upon a man resting on a massage table, grabbing him by the legs and slamming him about on the table. She then hoists his t-shirt and applies oil to him, then approaches a state of near frenzy, striking his back repeatedly and eventually climbing on top of him to ride him like a horse. He looks plainly distressed throughout.
When she returns from her shower with a weapon, she, entirely unbidden, touches and cossets a group of men in the midst of their form analyses – the anger and confusion on the faces of the gymnasts is plain to see – especially when she pushes over the athlete with the curly ginger hair and frightening moustache.
Towards the end of the video, it has become clear that she has been barking up the wrong tree – four of the men in the gym form two couples and leave hand in hand, presumably to find safety from the advances of the frankly terrifying Ms Newton-John. Eventually, she joins hands with one of the men she had earlier abused, proving nothing so much as that some people fall for these sorts of tricks every time.
I am disgusted by the content and malevolent intent of Olivia Neutron Bomb in this song and video. I am now off to work out what the fuck is going on in the video to Laura Branigan’s ‘Self Control’.