Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Born Free

beagle puppy

baby Suri

dirty martini

These are just a few of the things I have to remind myself of in order not to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge after watching M.I.A's new video Born Free. We need to discuss this . . . have y'all seen it? I'm dying to know what other people think, as I've been obsessing over it since I watched it ( . . . okay, repeatedly) last night.

Typically, I'm a champion of anyone who is willing to talk frankly about the rampant racism and racial profiling in our country and/or confront genocide directly. Or anyone who addresses these things in his or her art. I think it takes a lot of bravery to talk about these toughest issues; issues that many people don't really like to think about. It's much less stressful to think about beagle puppies & the cutest baby ever & martinis, for sure.

M.I.A and director Romain Gavras hold nothing back in their new video. They create a dusty, violent world in which American soldiers wage a war on redheads--a seemingly arbitrary group of people based on a superficial characteristic--and transport them to a concentration-camp like desert, where several of them, including the 9 minute video's "main character," are viciously killed. Don't watch it if you don't want to be disturbed by these images . . . I kind of wanted to bleach my brain when the video ended. And then I watched it again. That's the kind of controversy this video summoned within me.

On one hand, this music video/short film seems over the top, excessively vulgar, and displays all of the wretched violence that so many of us complain exists within modern movies and video games. Upon first watching it, I thought "WTF?! This crosses every line I can think of! I'm preemptively mad at M.I.A for the nightmares I am sure to have tonight!" But then I slept on it, and I woke up this morning thinking, "How is it vulgar to showcase the kinds of violence that currently exist in our world, especially in our country, which has a history of things like the Native American slaughter, slave brutality, and the Japanese American Internment?" I mean seriously, it was only in 1942 that then President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, ordering that all Japanese Americans be taken to internment camps.

So if you've seen the video, please vote! It might help settle me down a bit to hear what other people think:

a. M.I.A is a f'ing warrior! She's amazing for bringing these issues to light. So what if it makes people uncomfortable; we need to fight against racism and genocide!

b. This video is totally grotesque and disturbing and she's deranged for having made it.

c. I can't/don't want to watch it.

d. I'm torn! She's a deranged warrior. ;)

Tell me what you think tell me what you think tell me what you think!!! And then go back and look at the pics of the puppy and baby Suri. :)


Down and Out Chic said...

crap you've peaked my curiosity, but i don't think i can watch it. i watched enough horror in my time as a social worker. any more disturbing images and i'll never get a good nights rest!

Christopher Pepper said...

I haven't watched it yet. I read the warning that said "WARNING: IT IS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC AND VIOLENT AND NOT SAFE FOR WORK" Will it ruin the song for me? Is this the extreme version of "Kick a Ginger" day?

Christopher Pepper said...

I hope not, because I really like the song!

Claire Kiefer said...

I just looked up the whole "Kick a Ginger day" thing--I hadn't heard of it, and I haven't seen the episode, but it sounds like maybe they contain the same political point.

Jeanette said...

Gonna have to go with C.

Hope Chella said...

dog picture rocks :) xx

Tangerine Fairy said...

That was hard to watch Claire!!! I've always been a fan of MIA, and I think she captured what she wanted in this video, but it was uncomfortable to watch...I'll go back to staring at the puppy and Suri (BTW, dont' she look just like Tom Cruise?)!! LOL

Shasta Blair said...

Its brave, that's for sure - and leads us to think deeper, examine ourselves - our country - the world. But, I wonder sometimes if extreme shows of violence or profanity damage the people who watch it without providing enough (or any) solution or call to response or hope. I love that it was though provoking, but all it did was end with darkness - that's only half a statement to me. Who knows, I'm just a young person, my life experience is substantial, but I'm not an artist.