Wednesday, May 26, 2010

mia in the nyt.

this is awesome.

the paragraph on the born free video eloquently said exactly what ive been saying since i first saw it.

Unlike, say, her performance at the Grammys, which was a perfect fusion of spectacle (a nine-months-pregnant woman rapping in a see-through dress) with content (Maya’s fervor was linked to the music), the video for “Born Free” feels exploitative and hollow. Seemingly designed to be banned on YouTube, which it was instantly, the video is set in Los Angeles where a vague but apparently American militia forcibly search out red-headed men and one particularly beautiful red-headed child. The gingers, as Maya called them, using British slang, are taken to the desert, where they are beaten and killed. The first to die is the child, who is shot in the head. While “Born Free” is heard in the background throughout, the song is lost in the carnage. As a meditation on prejudice and senseless persecution, the video is, at best, politically na├»ve.



it just doesnt make any sense. some people thought it was about palestine, some about immigration, some about iraq. but knowing what i know, i immediately recognized it for what it was... it was about nothing. there is no conflict in the world that resembles that video, but still, the video was a perfect metaphor for m.i.a.

the video was, at best, a video about violent political conflict, and m.i.a. is, as an artist, an ambiguous banner for violent political conflict. conflict is something people otherwise tend to ignore or shut out, so i like that. but whenever she tries to go further, to dissect a conflict and/or choose sides, she shows how naive she really is. she is a musician, and now, an awesome pop icon. she is not politically sophisticated enough to actually be a rebel or conflict partisan, thats just her iconography.

but thats ok, because her music and her image are, after all, pretty great. ive been listening to xxxo and getting excited about the new album, which should be out around july. yum.