banksy’s movie is nominated for an oscar, so he’s evidently in LA for the ceremony next weekend. this billboard is along my commute home, during an especially traffic-y portion, so yesterday i stared at it for about 5 minutes. it’s for the light group las vegas, a company that owns a mess of restaurants and nightclubs and bullshit in vegas. the tagline is ‘combining the right people with the right environment: creating the light lifestyle.’
i can’t figure out if the ad wants me to work for them, possibly as a lady who wears a bra and dances by herself near a wall?, or go to their properties, or both, or maybe even buy their stock or something. i was very certain that my torso does not and will not ever look like that and that i didn’t much care for the prominent rib bone look.
today i saw the graffiti and stared at it for 5 minutes. (my commute is awesome, thanks.) it feels both ridiculous - cartoon characters painted on to a photo - and much more serious than the underlying ad. in the club there’s booze and drugs and sexual assault and neither minnie nor mickey look like they’re doing all that well. it seems to be saying that the photo is bullshit but more importantly, the advertised lifestyle is bullshit and just as improbable as cartoon characters showing up in vegas.
The video was directed by Isaiah Seret and shot in Los Angeles, chronicling the day-to-day life of an immigrant as experienced by the eight members of this multi-cultural rock band. They’re from Ukraine, Russia, Israel, China, Ethiopia, Ecuador and Trinidad, so the topic of immigration is one with which they’re familiar.
Gogol Bordello is already fucking awesome, but this makes them even more awesome, if that’s even possible. Check out the Boing Boing post for a Q&A with lead singer Eugene Hütz.
So taking a step back from the reaction to this video on the surface, this video does get you thinking about domestic violence and co-dependency in an interesting way: from the POV of both the abuser and abused (to a degree, in a very specific fashion).
I can’t speak from personal experience (i.e., being one of those parties in a relationship that turns violent), but I’ve witnessed domestic violence and co-dependent relationships while growing up, and it can be a complex situation. And this in no way excuses the abuser, obviously, but it’s worth talking about.
And if this video gets people talking about it and thinking critically of it, then that’s great. I’d be curious to hear more about the video from Eminem and Rihanna both, especially give their histories.
For all of its ridiculousness and justification for human rights violations “because they’re terrorists”, ‘24’ occasionally has something worthwhile to say. This week’s episode is so far an excellent example — bravo, Jack.
Comedy Central says “your threats of violence are functional and effective - we will change the creative aspects of our entertainment to appease your beliefs despite the fact that freedom of speech was never meant to be a freedom against either independent thought or against being offended.”
Quoting Studio 60 feels appropriate right about now:
This show used to be cutting-edge political and social satire, but it’s gotten lobotomized by a candy-assed broadcast network hell-bent on doing nothing that might challenge their audience…We’re all being lobotomized by this country’s most influential industry! It’s just thrown in the towel on any endeavor to do anything that doesn’t include the courting of twelve-year-old boys. Not even the smart twelve-year-olds - the stupid ones! The idiots - of which there are plenty, thanks in no small measure to this network!…Well there’s always been a struggle between art and commerce, and now I’m telling you, art is getting it’s ass kicked, and it’s making us mean, and it’s making us bitchy. It’s making us cheap punks - that’s not who we are!…And the two things that make them scared gutless are the FCC and every psycho religious cult that gets positively horny at the mention of a boycott. These are the people they’re afraid of…
People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.
You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.