Team Cee-Lo claims they're going to prepare a radio edit called "Forget You" to avoid alienating too many station managers. How thoughtful. But that only raises the obvious question: Why not call it "Forget You" from the very beginning? The answer is the calculation that millions of teenagers will buy the original dirty version as the official version and put it on their iPods. Any radio edit is just a lame Band-Aid for a pus-filled boil.
The pressure will only build for more and dirtier musical obscenity, just as almost every aspiring stand-up comedian finds it necessary to pepper his and her act with lots of curse words. Comedians can't just be funny, as singers can't just sing.
This is not the first time pop stars have played games with the F-bomb. A few years ago, Britney Spears offered a single very thinly disguised as "If U Seek Amy." Spears boasted, "All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy," which only made sense if it was obscene.
The British chanteuse Lily Allen offered her own "F--- You" song last year, but it wasn't a big hit here, with its 25 gratuitous F-bombs. It was only a gold record in France, Australia and Belgium. Right there on YouTube, you can see a video of Allen singing her brightly toned song with its ugly, profane chorus -- "F--- you, f--- you very, very much" -- live on French television. The audience claps and claps. Once again, the future beams out at us.