Sunday, April 25, 2010

Requisite Expression of Knee-Jerk Apoplexy

Staring at the above photo, I can only fantasize about placing a loaded Desert Eagle into her hand and watching her pull the trigger.

Thank you, M.I.A., for raping one of my all-time favourite songs, you politically disingenuous, sub-GaGa, bafflingly untalented, conceited, C.R.E.A.M. of the crap, signifier-flexing Socialite of the Spectacle. May the pomo cultural feedback loop be your noose.

Update (Monday April 26th): And already there's the compulsorily "shocking" snuff film to accompany the songs! I ain't linking to it, because M.I.A. isn't winning any click-throughs from me, but the video is at least crassly spectacular enough to distract from what an outrageous bit of mafioso appropriation the song is. It's directed by Romain Gavras, the French director who specializes in faux-documentary exploitation flicks with all the sociologial depth of a Dixie Cup. This time out, he's ripping off one "park" - Punishment Park - but alas, his brilliant twist-premise was scooped by another - South Park.


JM said...

Oh calm down. Fall out boy did covered Joy Division and I didn't have a conipiction.

welfarereformer said...


Why don'y ypu tell us how you really feel???

Seb said...

JM - I wouldn't have a problem with a cover. People are directed towards the original of a cover in a way that only heads & nerds are directed towards a sample's source, and besides, there are maybe 2 covers in history that make the original versions redundant.

What M.I.A.'s doing, on the other hand, isn't even sampling, isn't even theft - it's straight-up, arrogant, mafioso appropriation. "Oh, this is a great idea - now it's mine!" She's planted her flag in a recognized & esteemed cultural touchstone in such a way that makes protective Suicide fans - people who likely don't like M.I.A. anyway - look like terminally behind-the-times reactionaries. Of course, anyone who actually thinks highly of M.I.A. is demanding so little of artists that, by comparison, Lady GaGa is the godhead pomo genius that half the world seems to think she is (as opposed to a metric for what intellectual midgetry passes as imagination in our culturally anemic times).



Mucho Maas said...

I thought I was the only one for a minute then- thank you. The worst part was the good minute or so I spent going, 'It's not Killing Joke... it's not...' before the full horror hit.

The accompanying snuff video with faux political positioning puts a tin hat on the whole sordid mess.

soulfadelic said...

This reminds me of Atari Teenage Riot. Little difference from their schtick. I think the vid is a ridiculous, great promo for a pop song. M.I.A. can be corny but this ain't so bad. Socialite of the spectacle? Really? I don't see how this makes Suicide fans look reactionary... I think you're building a strawman. Sampling or stealing people's shit is integral to pop music as a whole. How is this any different from the Bomb Squad? (Yes, they are 1000% better than Diplo or whoever she uses these days, but the idea is the same.) Why should I care if she samples music that I happen to enjoy? It's there to be used. Suicide doesn't belong to us. She ain't ruining much.

Seb said...

Sampling, per se, is not what I have a problem with. I've often talked about how all music begs, borrows, and steals from what went before, so that's a losing argument to make even, if it was what I thought.

But I don't even think that the idea is the same between the Bomb Squad and "Born Free". The best hip-hop producers - the Squad, DJ Shadow, El-P - craft dense, disorienting hypertexts that can verge on sensory overload. Even much tamer production specializes in radical recontextualisation. What it ain't about is just spouting bullshit over someone else's song. When was the last time you met a head with one iota of respect for Puff Daddy?

M.I.A. has simply claimed someone else's time-tested cred, probably with the hope her audience is too young/incurious to realize that's what she's doing. But if Suicide was Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson, and M.I.A. was Elvis or Cream, then no one would have the balls to defend her integrity as a creator, 'cuz she doesn't fucking have any.