I watched this video by M.I.A Born Free when it came out almost two years ago after I had spent one year ‘out of the matrix’ and Lady Gaga was only a repeated image I would glance at magazines while paying for groceries at Pick & Pay and mainstream music was only background music for shopping. I didn’t write at the time about the experience that it was coming back into the world and finding videos like this one or the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ of which I made a reference about in a vlog I made, simply because it seemed like the age of cynicism had arrived and ‘made cool for everyone.’
I was a music video sucker-fan – the 90’s era – so I grew up watching MTV at the time where desolated kids with whining grungy guitars, passive-aggressive style, shoe gazers and violent femmes taking the stage – then it got a bit more ‘pumped up’ when electronica and some other genres started emerging, then I lost all interest on it and eventually stopped watching that. I mean, I’ve watched a great amount of videos as I spent like over 10 years of my life being really stuck at it, and I had not seen anything similar to M.I.A’s ‘Born Free’ video – hence the ‘special mention’ here. I must clarify I have been fairly disconnected about the ‘new stuff’ and video making and marketing lately, yet the stuff that I have seen lately is entirely driven by sex, big eyes, pink-pop plastic all over and zingy sounds that make you cringe out of the obvious repetition.
I am aware you could watch these images in any R-Rated movie or even PG-13 these days, I’m not really aware of the levels of violence they allow for a 13 year old now considering the video games they and younger kids play. However, the point is that such message/ level of violence for an intended MTV hit is rather chocking considering the various topics it depicts with the obvious title which is quite a cool way to mock the state of any country in this world wherein our constitutions claim ‘all men are created equal and free’ yet living the exact same opposite.
We are still living under tyrant systems that we have created, accepted and allowed as humanity, always ‘at war,’ and it seems to me that this piece of what could be labeled as motion shock art is the depiction of the same desensitizing process that has been ongoing as violence, war, abuse and national home-security policies are made part of your primetime regular cable TV programming.
See, the point to look at here is how this message might be interpreted by the viewer. To me within a ‘critical perspective,’ it is an allusion to the obvious stupidity that war represents wherein a group is targeted only by a particular skin color, religion, culture, haunting them down and waging war against them until all fall down – yes ‘Ring around the Rosie’ was not exactly a ‘bright’ theme for a nursery rhyme – yet the point is still being missed here for a real exposure than the obvious violence that war produces: M-O-N-E-Y.
M.I.A. seems to also just make videos and music for the sake of money – here’s another one of her videos Paper Planes which is a rather catchy tune where you can only hear the chorus with gun shots and cashier register sounds to find out what it’s all about while repeating ‘All I wanna do is (afore mentioned sounds) and Take your Money!’ Therefore, what’s missing here is the Actual important message which is: the acceptance of war as a way to regenerate economy = war is all about money and so is M.I.A. apparently.
Does the end justify the means?
Now, this writing is not to create the usual discord used in any criticism toward society – this is just dissecting a bit of our reality to do some critical thinking – out of our box – and realizing what the hell we are watching on TV and what the hell is most likely to become a ‘jingle’ in a child’s ear. It’s already enough for me having to see how difficult it is to trade some hide and seek game in order to stop having kids playing with toy guns pretending to kill each other. Now, watching such videos/ hearing the lyrics, it’s realizing that we are digging our own hole when it comes to the indoctrination that happens through TV – not to mention the entire industry dedicated to sell toys to children which is another topic in itself. This is about me placing myself as a 7 year old watching MTV but within the contemporary context wherein I would have probably grown a hard veneer to watch M.I.A’s video and accept it as ‘okay,’ just as I accepted as ‘okay’ any explicit sexual content in videos as well as any other implied or explicit depictions of self abuse, which eventually became my ‘visual culture’ while growing up.
What did I develop? yes, sir, some type of lugubrious fascination because hey, that was cool to watch and made me different, seemed to shock people and I wanted to stand out of the crowd so – why the hell not liking this and going for that which initially scared me, then embracing it as a part of ‘what I like’/ ‘who I am’ – more or less in the fashion of how you unite your enemy if you can’t fight against it. I could write pages about other videos that created an impact in a similar way and that are regular cultural clichés of what was eventually banned or seen at late night hours on MTV like Prodigy’s Smack my bitch up. I remember being quite astonished at seeing what was made a ‘music video,’ and I mean even skeletons having sex in the toilet of a club in the Chemical Brothers’ video Hey boy hey girl made a significant imprint within me and my conception about reality and ‘fun.’ Virtually any video that contained explicit allusions to sex, violence, or a bizarre mix of it was too shocking for my eyes because of being a child (!) I eventually made myself ‘used to it,’ then forgetting about what had been once shocking or ‘unacceptable’ to portray in a music video: my morals were ‘expanded’ which is why these type of videos are being made acceptable – repeat: being made acceptable.
Now, when/ while watching such videos I had some fairly cool ‘grounds’ wherein I learned how to be a bit critical about it and just take it for what it is – but what about every other kid that may watch these videos nowadays and want to live out just what they see on their screen? What about watching some bizarre Lady Gaga video or M.I.A’s Born Free or singing along to Paper Planes along with the obvious sounds that are implying killing for money?
What I do see is that if people/ kids/ teenagers watch this video and again grow a hard veneer to be able to ‘handle it,’ in a few years time, snuff movies and public executions will probably become part of your regular MTV Hitlist and I am concerned about it – why? Because I was once that kid that was 7 years old and got exposed to stuff that made me miss out my entire childhood – not to blame anyone, of course – it is a simple realization of becoming aware of what the hell is being accepted as ‘entertainment,’ while trying to be edgy/ controversial which is what sells very well nowadays.
Question is, who on Earth financed such video? It seems like a short film to me and not any regular Hype Williams type of green screen studio production – it took a lot of money and seems more like specific propaganda to, once again, make controversial juicy materials that can be equally appraised as masterpieces or plain terrorism.
I ask a simple question beyond the transgressive obvious attempt of the video: would it exist if Money was not a motivation – from all angles that you can view it – to make it/ produce it?
Are we accepting something something that is inherently depicting the obvious violence and abuse in this world as part of our edgy and cool controversial videos as that which we can incorporate within our ‘visual culture’ and make it okay for us to just see it as some part of ‘human evolution’ to watch explicit sex, female objectification, expressing the desire for All the power while portraying semi-god self-portrayals with all the gold as the cultivation of greed and desire for money as the perfect heavenly realms where ‘beautiful women’ are all around?
If we really want to evolve as humanity, we have to stop supporting everything that is pointing out to praise money, power, heavenly existences, war, violence and sex alike as mere ways to ‘escape from reality’ – which is what entertainment actually is - and start looking at what the fuck is being allowed as your regular TV programming on a music channel.
There’s plenty of points to take on from here like movies, video games, public advertisement, TV commercials which can be an entire realm of indoctrination in itself for the visual/sound/motion effect it contains – as well as the rest of open source/ god’s will access anyone has to unimaginable content on the internet that I will probably end up coming as ‘too short’ to name only a few of it, I’m sure you can imagine it – picture your worst case scenario of finding a photo about in the internet and I’m almost certain that Google god will bring it up to you at the click of your left button.
I am not willing to accept this video as something revolutionary as it’s only what it is: part of an entire machinery of brainwashing that takes place in your regular music video channels that are forming the seemingly non-existent children that are currently being exposed to extreme levels of violence that become part of their every day screenings at home, eventually becoming the perfect enlisted soldiers for the army.
For now there is a plethora of things to say about this – and this is just the beginning in terms of what we are accepting and allowing to be made ‘popular’ and part of ‘pop culture’ within our world and society.
This is not about being a puritan and coming from a moral perspective of what’s right or wrong, but rather an opening to look at the unethical aspect that is being induced in all things entertainment – not to mention the so-called reality TV shows that are also another topic in itself when it comes to what sells today on regular people that spend several hours in front of their TV screens. This is about finding out/ becoming aware of what is currently being integrated as images that are kept for a lifetime within a child’s mind. I can speak from my own experience about shocking stuff that I’d watch on TV and eventually became used to or even keen to watch – yet every time I glance through what’s being broadcasted or made popular, I see that the envelope is being deliberately pushed further and further and that’s where some critical questions must be asked: who/ what is behind this? Is it that we are the ones setting the new ‘targets of allowance’ every time to take our levels of excitement and entertainment a ‘notch up’?
I’ve tried not to react when watching such stuff within the criticism of me being a puritan, but every time that I see a little girl singing to an obvious song about hooking up with boys to have sex, it is my duty as a human being to strike a chat with them to get to know what they think about the song and if they have any idea of what the hell they are singing to.
We must stop considering the lascivious eyes that pay well for entertainment and start considering the ones that also have access to a remote control at the tips of their little fingers at home.
If we tolerate this, then your children will be next – Manic Street Preachers
Watch the Fabrication of an ill-bred idea of ‘freedom’ that focuses on creating self-seeking individuals that pursue happiness wrapped with a glowing gold-like ribbon of ‘free will’ to buy everything that you/ I ‘need’ to be ‘fitter, happier and more productive’ = Our society:
The real deal of Music Videos and TV: