John Mayer and other overrated white guys

Ashley Herzog
4 min readMay 27, 2022

Yes, John Mayer can play the guitar. He’s also a smug, self-satisfied pseudointellectual. Why do we still over men who are buying into their own bullshit?

Me at age 16 in 2002, unimpressed by the pretentiousness of John Mayer’s hit song “No such thing.”

I was 16 years old in the spring of 2002. It was a rough time to be alive, with 9/11 blindsiding us during my sophomore year of high school. But more importantly for the topic of this post, it was a rough time to be a girl. After the mid-90s rise of Lilith Fair, feminist ‘zines, and Sassy magazine, our cultural gatekeepers at places like Rolling Stone decided they’d had enough of this feminist crap. What we needed right now was Britney Spears on the cover of aforementioned magazine in her underwear clutching a stuffed animal, in a nod to “pedophilia chic” — one of the grossest cultural trends of the early 2000s. In any event, truly talented singer-songwriters like Fiona Apple were out. Smug white guys with guitars and pretentious NPR voices were ascendant.

John Mayer, in my opinion, has always been the worst of the worst. In 2002, he flooded the airwaves with these trite nonsense lyrics, and brooding, pretentious d-bags everywhere ate it up.

I wanna run through the halls of my high school

I wanna scream at the top of my lungs

I just found out there’s no such thing as the real world

Just a lie you got to rise above

Man, that’s DEEP. I mean, not to me, but apparently to pseudointellectual college freshmen who are, as one of my friends likes to say, “High on their own farts.” As an alumna of a hippie-friendly college in Appalachia with a local hangout called “Bong Hill,” I believe we call these “pot thoughts.”

I can’t stand John Mayer. His worst song ever was some horrible song called “Comfortable,” which is equal parts trite and pompous. Mayer croons about an imaginary girl who bombs around in hood rat clothes but also knows the names of some obscure jazz artists from the 1940s. (At least, that’s who I think they are. Don’t know, don’t care — and I doubt Mayer does either, being one of those guys who thinks throwing out some obscure jazz names makes him sound artsy.) Throughout the song, Mayer is comparing the aforementioned hood rat to a girl he’s sleeping with, despite appearing to hate her. The most barf-worthy part is this:

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Ashley Herzog

New account. I’m still a professional journalist, novelist, and radio host. And Catherine’s mom.