(Not So) Neato Viddys on the Intertubes


UK electro duo Simian Mobile Disco are pretty darn good, and their now-oldish track “Hustler” is one of the best songs on their new album, Attack Decay Sustain Release. Its dark breakbeat backing is combined with a repetitive, stream-of-consciousness rap about being too broke to buy records and stealing them instead. It already had a pretty good (if eyebrow-raising) video featuring a circle of hipster girls whose game of “secret” turns into a makeout session, but for some reason the band (or their label) decided that wasn’t exploitative enough. Now we get a new video featuring dancing models who, er, binge and purge, in Technicolor:

Send-up of cheesecake videos, blistering indictment of the modeling industry, or crap? It brings to mind a couple other electronic artists whose tracks apparently needed attention-grabbing and ultimately exploitative clips: first, The Prodigy’s already-controversial “Smack My Bitch Up” featured a typical laddish night out of booze, fighting and sex (along with similar amounts of vomiting), until the perspective switcheroo at the end. (NSFW).

While nobody saw the Shyamalan-style twist coming, it’s still dumb, and feels like a tacked-on way to make the other 99% of the video acceptable.

Don’t forget the clip for UNKLE’s “Rabbit in Your Headlights,” a dull ballad with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on vocals. The video uses special effects to create what’s basically an ultraviolent snuff film where a mentally disturbed man is repeatedly run over by cars until, again, a kind of surprise ending, I guess:

That one ends up on lots of “best video ever” lists, but it just makes me feel kind of ill. Perhaps the lesson with these clips that it’s a slippery slope between ironic, winking exploitation and actual, grody exploitation?

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate