An Artistic Crisis

Sia Furler, but simply known as Sia, is an Australian musical artist who’s been making music since 1996. She’s has won 15 different awards for her music and has written hit songs for Rihanna, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and many others. But as of late, she’s been coming under scrutiny because of the music video’s she’s been releasing for her album “1000 Forms of Fear.” The artistic views are being labeled as something that they’re not.

The first music video she made was for her song “Chandelier” and it featured Maddie Ziegler, a 12-year-old dancer who stared in Lifetime’s TV show “Dance Moms”. In the music video, it has Ziegler dancing around in a run down house wearing a blonde wig and a skin colored leotard. Now the first thing that people started criticizing was the skin colored leotard. Do to the clothing being flesh toned, some people thought the she was dancing around naked at first. That pedophiles from around the world would be saving this video to their computers. Others saying that the parents should have never let their kid do this. Lisa Suhay wrote about this on her blog titled “Maddie Ziegler in Sia Video: Right choice for an 11-year-old?” on csmonitor.com writing

“Wallace has taught dance for 30 years and both her children, now ages 17 and 22, have made dance and theater their professions. “Maddie is a role model for the girls I teach,” Wallace adds. “It’s a shame her mother isn’t teaching Maddie to think like a role model because that kind of thinking will get her farther and help her avoid the transition problems other talented young girls like Miley Cyrus had.”

Suhay also states “The song ‘Chandelier’ is Sia’s poignant cry for help.” as she sings about forgetting her problems through alcohol.

The bashing gets some added heat when Sia released her second video for “Elastic Heart” which had Ziegler in the same outfit, but with the addition of Shia LaBeouf in skin colored dance shorts playfully fighting with her in a huge birdcage. This actually had Sia apologizing on her twitter account to anyone who felt offended by the video. She wrote “I anticipated some ‘pedophelia!!!’ Cries for this video. All I can say is Maddie and Shia are two of the only actors I felt could play” I believe that people tend to complain about things just for the sake of complaining. Like how musical artist “Earl Sweatshirt” wrote on his twitter about Taylor Swift’s music video “Shake It Off” saying “haven’t watched the taylor swift video and I don’t need to watch it to tell you that it’s inherently offensive and ultimately harmful” and continued with “perpetuating black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture”. How can you judge a video for being racist when you state that you haven’t even watched said video?

This entire situation is a prime example of the reinforcement theory. You have an artist doing something that she loves to do but people take it for something else. They were taught, whether it be friends, family, religion, that what they watched is something bad. The site “csmonitor.com” stands for “The Christian Science Monitor”. So Suhay’s reaction and response is influenced by outside sources. And the main reason for her reviewing this video is because her son Quin was watching it saying “I opted not to let Quin watch Maddie’s video because I know the song lyrics and overall message of the video would open a can of worms so big that we would fish for a week for answers to his questions.”

The one thing I’m afraid of is artists holding back there artist views because of them possibly offending a group of people. People commented saying Sia could have easily done the  video having Maddie dressed in a black leotard, in a not so run down house. But that’s not how Sia saw her music video. People need to have an open mind to things and judge things for themselves and not have others judge things for them.

WTF Japan??!?!?!!!?

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This is probably the first thing you think of after finishing the music video Me!Me!Me! by TeddyLoid. A lot of people would automatically categorize this as some weird Japanese freaky fetish video and tune out the rest of it. Automatically casting judgment on it halfway through creating a skewed interpretation of something they didn’t want to understand. These people tend to not get past the shock value to really look at this video for what it actually is and the deeper meaning it has behind it.

A preview of the video was released on Nov 14th 2014 on the official Japan Anime Expo (if you click the EN at the top right cover of the page it will switch over to english) website with a description saying “You are attacked and ravished by many girls”. The website is a web series launched by the collaboration of Hideaki Anno’s Studio Khara (known for their work on Neon Genesis Evangelion) and the Japanese media company Dwango to show the work of up and coming animators. The man behind all this, Hibiki Yoshizaki, released the full-length version on the 21st. According to KnowYourMeme.com, the video was instantly met with high acclaims from viewers and critics alike. From it’s high quality animation to it’s catchy backtrack done by techno DJ Teddyloid.

Click here to watch the video but might I mention that it contains some nudity and is for a mature audience.

Now this video as of 01/28/15 has reached up to 259,000 plays on Vimeo and has been posted on forums with some reaching around 500 comments per thread. Now the meaning behind this video has come to a few different interpretations and the creators never really came out with one either. To me this comes down to an Otaku (the Japanese term for someone who has obsessive interests) who’s lifestyle got in the way of reality. This is the first part of the music video with the girl in blue hair dancing around. But this lifestyle ended up morphing into something that morphed into a monster that started to consume him. He tries to fight back (when he transforms in the video) and kill the monster that he created as well as get his reality back. But he didn’t realize how big his obsession actually became (Rave party) and ended up loosing his battle.70b This music video starts out one way with some guy dreaming about a fantasy of his and completely twists it into something else. It shows us what can happen if we let something that we enjoy consume our lives. It also shows that things don’t always go the way we plan when it comes to fighting back to try and get things back to the way they once were.

The Fine Bros on YouTube did a react video of YouTubers watching the video and asking them questions on what they thought afterwards. The thoughts that most of them had right off the bat was that they didn’t like it at all with a few liking it on an animation perspective. But once they thought about what they just saw some were able to see the meaning behind the video. Just the reaction video alone had over 5 million views and over 15 thousand comments since it was posted on Jan 8th.

This video is a prime example of ‘What Monkey’s Eat’ when it came to how this gained traction. Linda Holmes says in her blog

“Justin Bieber, Duck DynastyBreaking BadGravity, and — yes — even Miley Cyrus twerking are all examples of what monkeys eat. Some good, some bad, some completely baffling. But all things that are making their way into a lot of people’s thinking, and provoking all kinds of conversations that we might not have otherwise.”

You have people posting this to their friends saying “Look at this weird video from Japan” and only really see it for the shock value. Then you have the few who are able to see past that and discover a message hidden in plain sight. Now my question to you is which one you’ll become?