Ultraviolence + YouTube

Innocent users featuring copyright-backed media in their short films for educational purposes aren’t the only ones getting their content yanked off YouTube; it happens to the pros, too.

After YouTube pulled M.I.A’s video for ‘Born Free’ off the site due to violent content and sexual imagery, the Sri Lankan rapper ‘took over’ Pitchfork’s Twitter account and told hipsters and music snobs everywhere what she thought: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO▬►▬► ♫ ♥ ♥♥♥♥♥!!

Much in contrast with what happens to lesser-known artists when their work is stripped from YouTube, it seems this action was a positive thing for M.I.A.  Since, the blogosphere has gone wild over her new album.  Vimeo is still hosting the video, which I’ve been linked to at least five times today.  If you haven’t yet, now you have.

—-Warning: this video is not safe for the workplace!—–

Truthfully, “Born Free” shocked me little more than Lady Gaga’s “Telephone”, the last music video that caused this much commotion.  For those who haven’t seen it, “Telephone” is a gritty, colorful 9.5 minute short featuring Tarantino references, Batman, and Beyonce.  It, too, is explicit.  However, YouTube hasn’t yet removed the “clean” version of the video—deemed “clean”, apparently, merely because Gag’s private parts are pixelated.  Doesn’t seem too different than the original to me.

So, a few questions: Do you approve of YouTube’s decision to remove M.I.A’s video?  What do you think about this recent crop of extended-length, super-explicit music videos being produced?  Artists have long since used violence and sexual content in crafting visual narratives to accompany their music, but do videos like these go too far?  Or, rather, is this simply one of the few remaining ways in which an artist can create buzz surrounding his or her work?

(Btdubs–sorry if you read this thinking it’d have something to do with A Clockwork Orange.  I just watched the movie again and merely had it on zee brain.)


2 responses to “Ultraviolence + YouTube

  1. I am not at all surprised that Youtube pulled this off of the site, it is really, really intense. That said, I think the video is an awesome way to attract attention to a new album, and I think getting it pulled from Youtube is a part of that. I don’t think M.I.A. or her publishers ever thought it would stay up on Youtube, but the pulling of it becomes newsworthy and so spreads the word about the video and so the album. I kept being surprised by the content of the video as it got worse and worse, not that I haven’t seen my fair share of real horrorshow ultraviolence, but that this didn’t go through a rating system or anything, but was mainstream enough that ton’s of people would see it (crossing the line between internet shock videos and mainstream safety). I’m interested to see how effective this is, though. I expect it will help bring M.I.A. back with a bang.

  2. Jeez, leave it to M.I.A to create an unnecessarily controversial video in order to distract from how sub-par her music is. I think it’s sad when an artist (especially a one hit wonder such as M.I.A) resorts to gimmicks in order to sell records.

    I’d also like to note that, while all the soldiers in the film have british accents, they are clearly identified as “American” by the flags on their uniforms.

    This video is honestly one of the most offensive things I’ve ever seen. I’m glad Youtube decided to remove it, and I personally will never buy, or even torrent another one of M.I.A’s songs.