Carly Simon has never been very high on my list of Celebrities I Truly Find Interesting—I guess you could say she falls somewhere between Harry Anderson and anyone who’s ever been a contestant on The Bachelor. But because I support my friends’ weird obsessions in the hope that they’ll put up with mine, I found myself in Martha’s Vineyard last week. My friend Matt, an avowed Carly junkie, has been trying to woo me to her side for years by playing her music and expertly giving me the back story to each song. (Though as far as I can tell, there’s only one back story, and it involves James Taylor, drugs, and lots of sweet, sweet lovemaking.)
This summer, Matt asked me to join him on a pilgrimage to Menemsha, the teeny-tiny seaside town that Carly sang about in a 1983 yacht rock ditty of the same name, so I joined him. Menemsha is beautiful: a lush, remote outpost where families and ersatz WASPs like me and Matt—who spent two consecutive evenings getting sloshed on white wine and playing Monopoly—can unwind and listen to nothing but the breeze. It also happens to be the spot where Carly Simon filmed the video for her 1985 single “My New Boyfriend,” a misguided foray into dance-pop that I’m pretty sure Carly would just as soon forget. I’m posting the spectacularly awful music video here today, not because it offers any great views of Menemsha, but because I would like you to explain a few things to me. For starters, what is happening here? How are the Egyptian headdress, the Flintstone family campfire, and the robot connected? To the scholars out there: Is this a racist video? And finally, where did the man in the Caesars Palace t-shirt come from?