The above is a photograph of a cashier’s check that Frank Ocean sent to Chipotle after changing his mind about appearing in their advertisement for beef salad (or whatever). As you can see, he wrote “FUCK OFF” in the memo of the check, because that is how adults conduct business, and the image of the check comes from Frank Ocean’s personal blog, because he posted it himself, because he wants us all to bear witness.
OH, THANK YOU SO MUCH, FRANK OCEAN!
Frank Ocean is so good at music. He’s so good at music that Chipotle wanted to pay him north of $400,000 for the privilege of using that music in their commercial. And he’s so good at music that he can refuse that money, because his talent affords him other money-making opportunities such that $400,000, while still probably nice even to Frank Ocean, is not important enough to be the guiding factor in his decision making. That is very nice for Frank Ocean. We should all be so lucky as to be in such a position.
But we should all also hope and pray that if the day comes where we are in such fortunate circumstances, circumstances so rare and so privileged that it must be almost impossible to even make sense of it all, how a world that deals so harshly with so many has somehow been so generous when it comes to us, a challenge to even the most thoughtful and emotionally engaged among us’s ability to maintain proper perspective, that we would somehow, right before clicking “Publish to Tumblr” remember, almost like some faint ghostly whispering from a benevolent being outside of ourselves, a guy named Common Sense let’s call him for fun, that not everyone on Earth can be so fucking flippant and disdainful of $212,500. That, in fact, access to $212,500 would change most people’s lives in an instant. That, in fact, our refusal of $212,500, while perhaps rational in the grand scheme of an artist’s search for integrity and purpose, is nevertheless an argument many will not understand, so best to have that discussion behind closed doors. If I’m not mistaken, the whole POINT of being a pop star is to guard at least a LITTLE mystique.
It’s also worth pointing out that he wrote “FUCK OFF” in the memo I guess because he was angry that Chipotle was suing him for that money, but also Chipotle gave him that money as part of a contract, a contract that he then decided he no longer wanted to fulfill. So, like, it’s actually Chipotle’s money? I’ve never even EATEN at a Chipotle, and I know that they are owned and operated by the McDonald’s corporation, and so therefore they are PURE EVIL I AM SURE, the point being that I am no Chipotle Defender, and I am also no Harvard Businessman, but just on the very surface of things: Chipotle hires Frank Ocean for a job, Frank Ocean doesn’t show up to work, Chipotle determines they will not be paying Frank Ocean for missed work, and so he writes FUCK OFF In the memo? What is this? A high school sophomore late for his catering job? A high school junior who feels he is above a paper route this summer?
To make matters even more confused, at least according to the Pitchfork article linked above, the reason Frank Ocean backed out of his deal with Chipotle, which at one point he did enter into in good conscience, I mean, at some point Frank Ocean did say “Yes, I would be happy to accept north of $400,000 for my contributions to an advertisement to your beef salad commercial,” but then it turned out that Chipotle was going to put the Chipotle logo at the end of the commercial, which as far as I am concerned, is a pretty minor request on the part of Chipotle, but that is when Frank Ocean decided thank you but no thank and also FUCK OFF, Chipotle, which, again, far be it from me to enter into the cloudy, swirling, Rust Cohle mind of a TRUE ARTIST, but, like, let’s pretend that Chipotle didn’t put their logo on the ad, a situation with which, one must assume, Frank Ocean would have been cool, what does Frank Ocean think people at home would have thought? That it was not an advertisement for Chipotle? That it was a work of art? “It is cool that they are just running a Frank Ocean music video between episodes of my favorite shows, even if it is only 30 seconds long and I find the images of dancing beef salads to be an odd choice of visuals. But, you know, art!” Is that what Frank Ocean thought? Because I feel that is an incorrect assessment of what people would have thought.
One time, for my birthday, my father took me and my then best friend whose name I cannot even remember because he was only a camp friend and I guess it turns out we did not have as much in common as it had seemed at the time, to Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois. I’m not even sure why we went because I hated roller coasters and still don’t really love them, although in the grand scheme of father-son-relations as I have experienced them, it actually was a fairly thoughtful and grand gesture on the part of my father, because I’m sure HE didn’t care that much about roller-coasters either but just wanted his kid to have a Kids Day, and in those days the Platonic Ideal of a Kids Day involved Six Flags Great America, even I knew that, and was actually very embarrassed of my dislike for roller-coasters, and am already regretting my Frank Ocean-like disdain for my father’s attempt to make me happy, but so, as we were leaving the theme park, I bragged to my friend that for dinner, my father was taking me to a “fancy restaurant,” a concept that was thrilling to me at the time, and remains thrilling to this day. Can you even imagine? ME? At a FANCY RESTAURANT? But after we dropped off whoever even the fuck this kid was, a total stranger apparently, my dad admonished me, telling me that it was very poor form to brag about things like “fancy dinners.” That when one was doing well in life, it was important to enjoy it, but it was also important not to use it to make others think about what they maybe did not have the opportunity to enjoy themselves. I am just using this as an illustration of how easy it is to confront people with their own fears of inadequacy, or even more concretely, their own very real limitations in this world, which sometimes are totally manageable and fine, but sometimes are crushing and make it hard to breathe. You have only to say the words “fancy dinner” to make children shudder with anxiety.
MUCH LESS POST AN IMAGE OF A FUCK OFF CHECK FOR $212,500 AS IF IT WAS GARBAGE TO YOU, AS IF IT WAS YOUR TOILET PAPER.
Punk is dead.