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MIA - CBC and censorship

Discussion in 'Politics (deprecated)' started by atbell, May 1, 2010.

  1. atbell

    atbell TRIBE Member

    Just checked the CBC article on MIA's most recent video again.

    It looks like they refused to put up one of my comments and have censored a number of other which were on it before.

    My first comment (I left another which I expect to end up on the cutting room floor) was admitedly criptic, the one that I noticed that seems to be missing dealt with the same thing as I'd suggested. This person had gone the route of quoteing in full Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984).

    I expect my second comment to be censored because I put my e-mail in it, which I've decided is something I don't care so much about any more. How much more spam could I really get? My intuition is that spam will be on the decrease as people begin to realize that the profit margins just aren't there.

    atbell @ hotmail dot com for those who care, facebook accounts the same.

    I want people to be able to follow up if they actually want to. Turns out most people don't seem to have the time.


    The video is a must see but it isn't easy viewing. It's no Saw or The Devil's Rejects but what it lacks in violent gore it makes up for in proximity to reality.

    The video depicts US SWAT forces rounding up 'Gingers', deporting them, and then hunting them for sport in the desert with artilery.

    What I find most striking is the failure that MIA has had in her communication. The majority of the CBC comments are about vauge notions of past slights against minorities and racisism.

    In my opinion this is not the point of the video at all.

    This video is a warning.

    MIA is a UK based performer (just found out she began as an artist) which means that setting the video in the US, with very clear stars and stripes on the police, cost her extra time and money. I think she did this deliberately.

    The unemployment data out of the US has a similar mistaken public perception. Unemployment rates are what have been followed, not actual numbers.

    A paper I'm about to release did the easy math of looking at actually how many people these rates were talking about.


    Unemployment Rate * population = number of unemployed people


    I did this for every county in the US, the data is freely available here:

    Population Estimates

    and here:

    Map: LA

    I did this calcuation for each county in the US (the real work part) to figure out which ones were better or worse as far as legions of unemployed people are concerned. I also made maps because 'Kings County, NY' didn't mean shit to me. The locations weren't surprising at all, niether were the relative numbers. Large US cities had large numbers of unemployed people and were surounded by counties with high numbers of unemployed people.

    What scares me is the context.

    Because I've been watching the US economy and the cultural climate in the US for years I'm prone to be a bit dark, so I chose, off the top of my head, two numbers from the war in Iraq as break points for my map colour coding.

    Red - 'Hot Counties' - 150,000 people unemployed - the number of troops in Iraq at the hight of the conflict.

    Yellow - 'Simmering Counties' - 20,000 people unemployed - the number of troops in the Bush 'Surge' in Iraq.

    The results are sickening.

    California is on fire, so is Florida.

    Detroit and Chicago are burning up the rust belt.

    Texas has problems around the major cities but in a desert natures going to keep you in line (don't mess with Texas)

    The east coast is a mess, MILLIONS of unemployed people packed on top of each other. Kings, Queens, and Bronx counties - tiny things in the heart of new york, are all 'hot' and surounded by 'simmering' counties.

    Oh PS. Props to the states that are looking after thier own, there are a number of them that don't even have a single 'simmering' county!

    Want real numbers to go with MIA's all to real vidoe, here:

    "Hot Spots"

    Unemployment rates by county, not seasonally adjusted, Related to Population

    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    Maricopa County 9.1 4,023,132 366,105


    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    Alameda County 11.5 1,491,482 171,520
    Fresno County 18.5 915,267 169,324
    LA County 12.2 9,848,011 1,201,457
    Orange County 9.7 3,026,786 293,598
    Riverside County 14.9 2,125,440 316,690
    Sacramento County 12.9 1,400,949 180,722
    S Bern. County 14.4 2,017,673 290,544
    San Diego County 10.6 3,053,793 323,702
    Santa Clara County 11.7 1,784,642 208,803


    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    Broward County 10.8 1,766,476 190,779
    Hillsborough County 12.7 1,195,317 151,805
    Miami-Dade County 11.3 2,500,625 282,570
    Palm Beach County 12.4 1,279,950 158,713

    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    Cook County 11.4 5,287,037 602,722

    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    Oakland County 13.6 1,205,508 163,949Wayne County 16.1 1,925,848 310,061

    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    Churchill County 11.4 1,902,834 216,923

    New York
    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    Bronx County 13.6 1,397,287 190,031
    Kings County 10.9 2,567,098 279,813
    Queens County 9.4 2,306,712 216,830

    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    Philadelphia County 11.4 1,547,297 176,391

    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    Dallas County 8.9 2,451,730 218,203
    Harris County 8.5 4,070,989 346,034
    Tarrant County 8.4 1,789,900 150,351

    County Rate County Pop. Total Unemployed
    King County 8.7 1,916,441 166,730
    Last edited: May 1, 2010
  2. JEMZ

    JEMZ TRIBE Member

    Sorry Andrew, I'm not quite understanding this one.

    I guess I need to see the vid???
  3. judge wopner

    judge wopner TRIBE Member


    im confused by this post as well,

    you seem to be implying that large swaths of unemployed people reliably will turn to violence or lead to a quasi-police state in a not too distant future for america.

    high unemployment well beyond those numbers exists in many western states that did not devolve into totalitarian police states, people can go for decades in relative poverty and not turn to violence.

    while the employment situation is dire in the US (shadowstats gives a great breakdown of true unemployment and inflation) i see nothing to suggest imminent or even not too distant collapse of the state or a move towards violent protest of the kind we are seeing in greece. (which for all intents is fairly tame compared to the types of insurrections and uprisings people often fear are around the corner for decades now...)
  4. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    Am I the only one who thinks this video misses the mark and quickly devolves into farce? And not the good kind either.
  5. rentboy

    rentboy TRIBE Member

    The problem is that the violence is over-stylized. The director has skill but they should have held back on the style and aimed for more substance. It kind of rolls into a shock effect that leaves the casual viewer more paralyzed by the graphic impact rather than the message.

    I still dig it but fully grasp the flaws with its execution.

    I've been humming the tune all day.

    Oh, and the final scenes heavily nod to the fantastic and must-see PUNISHMENT PARK.
  6. toney

    toney TRIBE Member

    I found it weak and undeserving of so much attention it's getting. Its Nazi Germany 101 which is strange b/c I like some of her other 80s retro art that she was doing long before gaga came on the scene.
  7. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    I think the Stress video succeeded in all the places where this failed. It was a great portrait of the unrest in the ethnic sububs surrounding Paris and while stylized it had an almost realist aesthetic (while still containting serious aesthetic nods to Cunningham's "Come To Daddy") and still contained shocking violence. But the ginger angle in this M.I.A video, seems forced, and by the time that one kid gets blown up, I felt like I was watching the scene in Chopping Mall where the robot explodes the janitor's head with a laser beam. The cartoon violence does no service to the intended message.

    Still, I appreciate that long format music videos are still being made with these types of narrative archs - it is a dying art form.
  8. rentboy

    rentboy TRIBE Member

    I'm hoping that with the freedom to air on various formats will keep the music video alive. They're not restricted now with television airing time slots. It would be a crying shame to see the music video die out. So many wonderful 90s memories.

    I'm curious what the budget was on the MIA vid?
  9. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    Good question. An even better question is if the label put up the cash for it. And I'm not sure that we'll see a resurgence in music videos even with the channels for more uncensored content. The reason the labels put so much money into them is because they became truly a mass vehicle with a target market with cash to burn consuming them at a rate we'll never see again.

    Now, sure the odd video like OK GO! gets millions of hits on YouTube with a DIY type effort, but emulating that aesthetic may seem like a cheap and easy option, but the genre suffers somewhat in a broader sense.

    There is still some rad stuff being done. Have you seen the new HEALTH video for "We Are Water"?

    Health on BIGSTEREO

    Check it out. I can't link directly to it at work. But damn. I don't think CBC will play this one either!
  10. Dialog

    Dialog TRIBE Member

    I agree that the last bit about the final ginger blowup being unnecessary and gratuitous, but I have never seen the deeper, non-pornographic side to Justices' "Stress". I don't think it's lesser degree of graphic violence really elevates it above the level of violence porn that "Born Free" primarily is. And they're both done by the same director, Romain-Gavras.

    But then again, I also found "Come to Daddy" kinda boring. That's right, boring.

    +1 for the thoroughly obscure Chopping Mall reference tho
  11. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    All I'm saying is that "Stress" was touching on real unrest and the social/economic/geographic isolation of ethnic Parisians, whereas "Born Free" is a ridiculous parable about persecuted gingers. The former resonates a lot more with me.

    Did you check that HEALTH video I linked?
  12. diablo

    diablo TRIBE Member

    Defo misses the mark.
  13. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    "THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up."

    This guy's problem is that he was living with a bunch of communist jew trade unionists. If he was hanging out with the hipsters over at the Drake this wouldn't be a problem.
  14. atbell

    atbell TRIBE Member

    Yes, this is my fear.

    Even a small scale group of demonstraters could set of explosive cascades of civil unrest. 2 or 3 busses full of armed 'tea baggers', for example, could drink thier way from detroit to Washington. Not unlikely.

    All it takes is one itchy trigger finger in that group to provoke a police response and that would set the rest of the tea party movement, and others like it, on fire. They are already complaining about Obama running a police state, all they need is a little proof, regardless of how measured the response to a situation that develops.


    From a pure unemployment stand point what gets me is the pure numbers and the geographic concentration. Tight quarters + lots of people means that the chances of small groups of unemployed people with extreme views becomes very likely.

    I see Greece as the pre-case for the US, although it might be more apt to consider it more on par with a single state (CA, or Florida).

    I see lots of things which point to high risks of civil unrest over the summer, I'd offer a better explanation but right now I've got to get my own ducks in a row before I get back to economic forecasting.
  15. atbell

    atbell TRIBE Member

    Yes, see the video, it's pretty tense.
  16. atbell

    atbell TRIBE Member

    Most people failed that course ;)

    From what I've seen as far as responses go, the paralell hasn't been well understood.

    I think the reason it's getting attention is because of the masses of people who are unfamiliar with considering anything other than the partrige family explanation of the US, not to mention how striking the choice of gingers is for a group of people that can be easily identified and persecuted for no reason. I think there are many white people, likely groups who won't be reading this, who wouldn't think twice about laying blame on other identifieable groups that aren't as close to them. Yet seeing people put away because of thier hair just after noticing the odd red hair in your beard is a bit of a wake up.
  17. atbell

    atbell TRIBE Member

    Give me 3 months and I'll show you how the music video can be profitable.
  18. atbell

    atbell TRIBE Member

    I see 'Born Free' as a warning, not as a comment (which it sounds like 'stress' is). The choice of LA / CA isn't a mistake, that state is about to go nuts, one or two eco/political shocks and the place will be done. What happens if they can't pay cops any more? What happens if the state defaults on bonds?

    The economic conditions are in place right now for mass civil unrest, it's just a matter of a few more pushes.
  19. atbell

    atbell TRIBE Member

    LOL! good point!

    Stay away from people they are after, survival 101
  20. Dialog

    Dialog TRIBE Member

    "Touches on" in the lightest way possible, and goes pretty much straight into lots of explicit violence that our protagonists are shown committing with little harm or consequence to themselves.

    Yes I did, and wasn't really impressed by it either. It's the climax of any number of b-slasher flicks shot in slow motion so as to drag the 20 second final showdown out to fill the required track length, with a bood fountain at the end. Oh, and a de-wigging. You could try to argue some "victim turns the tables" thing but there's so little backstory to such an angle... it's a highly compartmentalized moment. If you want that kind of thing with more substance rent Hard Candy.

    Remember folks: Aversion Is Easy.
  21. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    It is certainly referencing the slasher genre, but what I think is interesting is the costuming of the "victim", and only after castrating the attacker (and after a blood splattered money shot of her own making) is she able to pull off the wig and reveal her more androgynous self. It is less "victim turns the tables" and more of piece that hits at the costuming and convention in male/female power dynamics. But that's just my take on it.

    As for "Hard Candy", I thought the first few acts had some merit, but the last reel is nearly unwatchable. By the time she has him ready to make him take his own life in the final reel, any good work done that point was pretty much nullified.

    Obviously we're dealing with two different mediums here and the narrative of a feature film has to be held to a much different standard than that of a music video.
  22. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    Sure it is a highly stylized tour de violence, but again, those are some very real and timely themes that were touched on.

    You do realize there over a million (mostly from the Parisian suburbs, and mostly ethnic) youth that were caught up in the unrest of 2005/6? Punctuated by a bystander that died after being struck by a hooded youth. Oh yeah, and thousands of cars torched within a few weeks.

    Sounds like Stress did more than touch on this in "the lightest way possible".
  23. Dialog

    Dialog TRIBE Member

    True, and I guess between the relatively limited amount of the action shown, the slow motion filming that emphasizes the protracted observation of the moment o' horror, I feel the execution of this idea mitigates the value you're suggesting. My own personal opinion is that it's not a point deeply made.

    For The Power Of Wig Removals I defer to the Eurythmics' "Love Is a Stranger". My dad told me about seeing that video for the 1st time on The New Music back in the early 80s, and when Annie goes from boofy blonde to spiky red she really freaked him out :D
  24. wayne kenoff

    wayne kenoff TRIBE Member

    I loved that video.

    I didn't really see any great allegorical value in it. But I am hopeful that one day gingers will be rounded up and slaughtered for sport.
  25. atbell

    atbell TRIBE Member


    Have you been reading much about what's going on in the south western US????

    AZ is just plain crazy. Reports out of there seem to show that the past 200 years of progress toward civil societies and the basic concepts of human dignety are being thrown out (if the people in charge even had something to throw out.)

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