A musical toxicology report on american middle-class masculinity

What’s my face look like while getting slapped?

Save “Straight White Male” on Spotify to find out today.

1st person

While Brett Kavanaugh was lying about beer and boofing, I wrote a song.

For my daughter, for my niece, for their friends. 

Because they deserve to inherit a better country than the one we’re handing them.

3rd person

“Straight White Male” is an electro-leaning pop song with hypnotic beats and bits of seething psychedelia underneath, in which Chris Robley files a toxicology report on American middle-class masculinity.

Composed during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Field Notes


Doctor Christine Blasey Ford was questioned by a female prosecutor hired by Republicans because they were nervous about the optics of an all-male panel interrogating an alleged sexual assault victim. 

After conceding that Blasey Ford was “credible,” Senator Orrin Hatch called her an “attractive witness. She’s pleasing.”


Some people ( I’ve seen their texts ) think that Feminism’s aim is to sap the “God-given strength and vitality” of men. 

“I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”

- Base Commander Jack D. Ripper


Women comprise roughly 20% of The United States Congress.


Men at Forty

(a poem by Donald Justice)

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices tying
His father’s tie there in secret

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.


You can tell what a town’s priorities are by what they build the biggest. 

Cathedral? Bank? Corporate HQ? Sports arena? 

When I showed up for college in Richmond, Virginia as an 18-year-old Yankee, I drove down Monument Avenue dazzled by the size and significance of these statues : Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Matthew Fontaine Maury. Silent and menacing. Heroes of the Confederacy. Each their own sentence in the story of the Lost Cause. No dead myth. A way of life. The statues are still standing. 

Did I realize any of this then? No. I’m a white guy. And whatever whiteness means, it means the tentacles of the Lost Cause could reach far north into the imagination of a little white kid who thought the past was in the past. Believed that there could be anything noble or gentile about defending Slavery. Believed a thousand bad and broken things. Believed that believing those things wasn’t Racism. 

No, instead, I thought with all the subtly of a football hooligan, “These statues are big and dumb. The North won. You lost. Sore losers.”

Oh, and look over there! It’s Arthur Ashe!


A cricket’s wings serve as a protective shield for the soft parts of its body. In males, these wings have rough teeth-like ridges which, when scraped together, make the chirping sound we associate with the entire species. 


Be the first of your friends to board the Oculus Raft or upgrade to the latest MePhone and you’re an “Early Adopter.” Be the first of your family to notice and define a sickness, you’re an infiltrator, a killjoy.  

My sister-in-law, a PhD in Queer Theory, because she’d been using phrases like “privilege” and “toxic masculinity” and “heteropatriarchy” long before they went viral, was recently accused of perpetrating a conspiracy to plant buzzwords into the American psyche. The Feminist agenda: Sabotage via semantics. Well, she’s guilty. The same way scientists were guilty of introducing terms like “quantum” and “global warming” and “gravity.” 

You can observe the conditions of experience for a whole lifetime and never notice them. But rip the fabric of our fantasy just a little bit and the whole mind recoils. 


For every $100 in white family wealth today, black families hold just $5.04.

“Redlining” is/was the federal housing policy of giving loans to people who live in “good” neighborhoods; giving no loans to people who live in “bad” neighborhoods.

 Thus between 1934 and 1962, 98% of home mortgages went to white families. 

Debt, as asset. 


‘Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake? Children's ice cream!...You know when fluoridation began?...1946. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works. I first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love... Yes, a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I — I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence. I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women, er, women sense my power, and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake...but I do deny them my essence.”

- Base Commander Jack D. Ripper


Cul-de-sac, in French, means “bottom of the bag.” 

In English, “dead end.” 

In real estate, the Middle Class dream of being left alone. 


I was watching Brett Kavanaugh cry and yell and lie. About boofing. About beer. 

And I thought, my daughter, my niece, their friends — they will not inherit the country they deserve. 

It’s a cliche to say we’re ruled from all angles by old white men. But often cliches are tired because they’re true. 

You see Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, even Goldemort-On-High, say that Blasey Ford is “credible,” yet do NOTHING to give credit to her testimony. 

Dante would’ve put them in a poem. 

But think of their shrunken souls, their fear, the prison of needing to keep what’s in their hands. It’s not Feminism or Racial Justice that’s sapping their vitality. It’s the performance of being Straight White Males.

They don’t need Dante. They’re already in hell. 

It’s a hell they mete out through a megaphone upon everyone who isn’t straight, or white, or male. And sometimes on their own demographic too. 

But of course it doesn’t have to stay that way. 


“There’s a streetlight out at the end of your mortgaged lawn,

And somewhere across town lights are coming on.”




There’s a streetlight out at the end of the cul-de-sac 
where the crickets rub their legs in the woods out back 
and the dark like debt stretches on, 
you can’t tell what’s the woods and what’s your lawn. 

Straight White Male, 
did your straight white dad tell you hey kid you dare not fail 
‘cause the measure, measure, measure of a real man’s in his hands? 
Ain’t that right, white American man? 

You put an angel up at the top of your Christmas tree 
and it shines a little cheery light for all your kids and wife to see 
but when the house falls asleep you unplug that wire. 
Leave it on too long you know it’ll start a fire. 

Straight White Male, 
like the big fat head of the old snake who eats his tale, 
the only thing you understand’s the only thing you understand. 
Ain’t that right, white American man? 

Straight White Male, 
you know your rising tide is useless if the wind doesn’t fill all sails, 
but you better bail a leaky boat and never lose sight of land. 
Ain’t that right, white American man? 

There’s a streetlight out at the end of your mortgaged lawn 
and somewhere across town, lights are coming on.

Cover image designed by Tony Altamirano.

Cover image designed by Tony Altamirano.



Written, performed, and recorded by Chris Robley at Bite My Tongue in Lewiston, Maine. 

Mixed by Peter Rodocker at Yellow Room Recording in Portland, Oregon.

In between is a whole continent. Imagine that!