life in hiroshima and beyond

27 April 2010 @ 4pm


M.I.A.’s Born Free video

Screenshot from M.I.A.'s Born Free Video

A couple of my Facebook friends posted the just released, and sure to be highly controversial, video for Born Free by the excellent M.I.A. I’m glad they shared it and I’m glad I watched it. I would even say I think lots of people (though probably not everyone) should watch it.

Described by the lady herself as “real and explicit”, I don’t think many would deny that is pretty full on. You can read a summary of the content here and watch it here (or in higher quality on Vimeo here) – it isn’t safe for work or anything else really, so viewer discretion is definitely advised. In fact, it has to be one of the most provocative videos ever released by a major music artist; after seeing this it’s amazing to think that The Police’s Invisible Sun was banned back in 1981 when Britain was embroiled in an earlier War Against Terror.

After two views, I think it’s a great piece of work. It pulls you in as it establishes its “edgy” credentials with lots of swearing, sex and 24esque violence and makes you smirk when you realize the premise. Finally, it shames that same smirk off your face by turning the graphic violence up to 11.

There is no resolution.

There is no hope.

It feels real, as in not Hollywood.

All that said, I felt uncomfortable about sharing the video. This is unusual for me, because I LOVE sharing stuff on the Internet. I did tweet about the it, but, again unusually, I didn’t share the link. Arriving at work after a 30 minute bike ride, I found that as much as the content of the video, what was occupying my mind was why I hadn’t wanted to share such a powerful piece of media.

Is it just that I’m old? At 41, this stuff is supposed to shock me, right?

If I was in M.I.A.’s demographic, would I be spreading this all over the Net?

Is it that I view Facebook as “family viewing”, a place for light and inconsequential stuff?

I have a feeling that at least part of the reason may be because I have small kids. They are getting pretty adept at manipulating the laptops lying around the house, and might inadvertently see the video if I posted it to my feed (of course, this is ridiculous as the video is there in my feed right now). More likely, perhaps, is that I didn’t want to be *that* buy who posted an inappropriate video to the feeds of other people with kids…

This could go on forever.

It won’t here, but I’m sure this will be turning over in my mind for some time to come – at least until Lady Gaga fires a return salvo – which isn’t a bad thing. I just won’t be clicking the “Like” button.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in the above post are the author’s own and as such are worth little more than the pixels in which they are written.

1 Comment

Posted by
27 April 2010 @ 10pm

Reminds me of the Collateral Murder video. Same artist?

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