Shock Horror: Overreaction, Misinterpretation, and Letting “The Man” Win

Shia Legouf: digging holes in his career?

Shia Lebouf: digging holes in his career?

By now I’m sure many of you have seen the music video for Sia’s “Elastic Heart” [if not, look it up – no I’m not putting a link I’m sure you’re capable of opening YouTube for yourself]. The video has sparked much debate online, specifically coming from the C.M’s [Cataclysmic Morons] claiming that the video, which features Shia Lebouf cage fighting a ten-year-old, is “paedophilic.”

Let me address a few issues with this claim.

Firstly, the video itself does not depict any explicit sexual imagery. YES, he touches Ms Zeigler on the cheek, YES they’re both wearing skin-tight, body coloured leggings material, but the general atmosphere of the video is one of a conflict, a fight. If you want to be really technical here, this video depicts child abuse rather than paedophilia, although I think it’s safe to say that Lebouf is more the victim than is Zeigler. Throughout the video, he’s staggering about, trying to escape her, clearly on the back foot [first he stars in several terrible Transformers movies, now he’s being beaten up by a pre-pubescent girl, things aren’t really going swimmingly for the poor guy are they?].

Furthermore, the video itself is a ludicrous, almost comical spectacle. Try this. Watch the video with no sound, paying close attention to little Ms Z’s facial expressions. It’s hilarious. The so-called depth and dark attitude of the piece is stripped bare. In addition, if your issue with this video is that you find Zeigler’s dancing to be ‘sexually provocative’ and inappropriate, you need to take a good look at yourself. If you’re projecting sexual imagery onto a young girl dancing, you’re the one at fault, not the director.

I personally thought that this entire spectacle was just kind of childish. The dancing’s…fine, it didn’t blow me away, but then the style is meant to have more a clumsy fight feel to it than a well executed waltz. My point is, it is not a provocative affair. It’s not Nicki Minaj grinding her bouncy castle of an ass on Drake [not that I find that sexually provocative, excuse me whilst I just choke back a bit of sick]. Either way, people’s reaction to this video is a classic example of mis-informed philistines who, lost in a drab ocean of repetitive, regurgitated pop music videos [and music, for that matter], are “shocked” and “disgusted” by anything that even mildly divulges from their comfortable world of bright colours and simple shapes. And the funniest thing is, they have done exactly what the director of this video intended: they have sparked a discussion.

As I write this, the views for ‘Elastic Heart’ are at 35,637,984. In less than a week, it has become one of the most talked about items on social media, music blogs such as this one, and so on. Coincidence? Don’t be so naïve. Remember just a few short years ago when the “Blurred Lines” video put every feminist blog on the planet into a frenzied rage? Yep, that was planned. Of course it was. Anyone who thinks that any of these mass-trending ‘out there’ videos are a result of anything less than brilliant marketing is kidding themselves. And the reason they’re so impactful, especially on a mainstream pop audience, is because this audience rarely experiences anything with any kind of artistic license. Intriguing, thought-provoking music videos are confined to other genres; to quote a few examples, Biffy Clyro’s ‘Mountains,’ Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises’ [a video which basically features Thom Yorke being water-boarded, a prospect far more emotionally concerning than ‘Elastic Heart’], and so on. Hell, have you SEEN a Slipknot music video?!

In short, this video ain’t got nothin’ regarding thought-provocation compared to just a few of these examples. And, in classic fashion, everyone has taken the bait, not just to criticise the video, but to criticise those who criticise it. I’m just as guilty, I’ve now written over 500 words doing EXACTLY what Sia’s record executives want, free publicity.

But then you know what they say: there’s no such thing as bad publicity.


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