Okay, so this video is now officially making the rounds in the blogosphere. It’s a song by Amanda Palmer, of the Dresden Dolls, whom I love, and before I say anything else, I’ll say I love this song and the video. But I have a sort of critique of it, too. So far I’ve read a lot of posts online that are defending this video because over in Britain, where Amanda is launching her tour for her new album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, the BBC was possibly going to censor this song/video, spoiling Amanda’s marketing team’s ambitions to have it be a radio/music channel release, which would totally have been depressing, I agree. But in fact, if you ask me, Amanda has nothing to complain about. If someone was going to censor one of my books, I would be totally down for it. Everyone knows that censored material actually gains more audience than art that does not spark a nerve with the culture.
Which brings me to my other aspect of this semi-critique. As much as I love this video, I don’t think it’s being contextualized correctly. Even Amanda has sort of talked about it as a sarcastic, ironic and sad critique of the sort of girl she’s portraying in this video, but really I think it’s less a critique of that sort of girl so much as it is the culture that’s produced her. And in my mind, she’s sort of a hero, adamantly denying not just the Fundamentalist Christians who tell her Jesus hates her, but all of the other ridiculous elements of American society that inspire a sort of blithe disregard for anything but self and now and fun in her. She seems more angry to me than stupid, acting like a caricatured version of the most normative roles we outline for kids to grow into at this juncture. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter in the end how it’s interpreted. In the end, it’s sad and funny, the sort of thing I like in any kind of art, whether it be story, song, painting, film or persona, which is an art form in and of itself. You can take Amanda Palmer as an example of that last form, really. She’s sort of interstitial that way, the music and the persona itself both being integral to what she’s doing, and what she’s doing is an angry, funny, sad, beautiful thing.