Tuesday, April 27, 2010

M.I.A.'s Born Free video

I'm not going to embed the video, it's out there.  Go look it up on Vimeo if you are so inclined.  Clearly though, the content is bothering Americans and Youtube.  I didn't in the least consider the content offensive.  Graphic and disturbing, no doubt.  It depicts armed soldiers rounding up young redheaded males, loading them onto a bus and driving them out to a remote minefield, where the soldiers force them to run for their lives.  Intertwined are scenes of police brutality, and point-blank head shots.
I've seen claims that liken her to a 'shock-jock' which I frankly find more offensive than her video.  Our shock-jocks say and do things soley for publicity.  If MIA were an American born citizen, and raised in the trappings of our luxurious culture and still attempting to make the same statement, I might agree.  However, this is a woman from Sri Lanka, where politcal driven abductions and murders occur with regularity.  She's pissed.  She has an outlet to make a statement.  Good for her.
The video makes it's point.  I won't pretend to have understood the lyrics.  I tried, but I was, a) too closely following the video and b) had trouble understanding her accent and cadence.  I didn't particularly find the song catchy or all that good even, but there is no question that her message was clear.
It really is interesting in this country that we will tolerate, even celebrate gory films and ever sliding standards for our entertainment media, but absolutely cower like scared children when it comes time to support an artist making a statement using depictions of violence or religious satire (see: South Park).  Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs is okay because it has a rating that makes us all comfortable that it is artistry, but M.I.A.s political statement is uncomfortably too free-wheeling.  I find that disturbing too.

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