Saturday, May 24, 2008

Flashing Lights... II

How do you go from this:

to this:


I mean, seriously. The first video was unbelievable. Everyone was totally surprised by it. Such an amazing concept, beautifully shot. Then, you get this second video: terrible concept (oh, yeah, it's SUCH an amazing idea to watch a girl virtually naked get dressed, go out, then get raped, while Kanye chills out with some random girl in some strange room, all touchin' her and watching her dance), not all that original to do it in stills. And what the hell is this thing saying about rape?

Here are my two specific problems with the inclusion of the rape scene: First of all, the black-and-white inserts. If you'll recall, earlier in the video these B+W cutaways were meant to glamorize - they were pinup poses, hyper-sexualized for the camera. The fact that the same style is then incorporated for the rape sequence seems to imply some kind of glamor, or at least SEXUALITY to the rape. The B+W shots during her rape compare it to her sexiness getting dressed. Uncool.

Secondly, all that happens to this girl in the video is the following: She wakes up, has a cigarette and a mimosa, makes breakfast, and then tries on clothes for a while. When she presumably picks the right outfit, she goes out dancing and getting drunk. She walks home in the dark and gets raped. There are only two significant events in this timeline: she gets dressed, she gets raped. The getting dressed is significant because we spend the most time with it. The rape is significant for obvious reasons. I can't help but think of the old adage that girls are "asking for it" because of the way they dress...

Now, is this video trying to imply that when we objectify the woman at the beginning by viewing her as a sex object, we are committing a form of rape? While this is not a horrible argument, and an absurdly old one, if it is Kanye's (or whomever directed it) intent, it is completely misguided. It includes Kanye looking cool as he likes to do, which immediately discounts any serious intent. Also, the woman hams it up for the camera, which makes her complicit (eye contact, people). In fact, there is nothing about the video that directly portrays objectification as a negative thing at all. If anything, it is heralded.

The bottom line? The new video sucks. And it's completely insensitive.

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