Prince Rogers Nelson, the artist better known as Prince, has ignited a little bit of controversy with his latest vid for "Cinnamon Girl".
Not surprisingly, pundits, activists and bloggers of many persuasions have taken issue with the clip's graphic and violent content. The protagonist-ess (played by that girl from "Whale Rider") is shown suffering from abuse at home and in the schoolyard and eventually pulls a Columbine at an airport.
Needless to say, everyone has gone to panic stations over the clip. While it is very natural to react when we get our buttons pushed, we have to realise that this was the whole intent of Prince's video. We have been so used to the simplistic plotlines of most vids - apparently, most video images and plotlines have been simplified to the point of moronic exhibition that it's little wonder why too few people bother to treat most pop artists seriously. Thus, anything resembling symbolism and metaphor would be treated as controversial when seen at its most basic face value.
Most radio and video music stations have managed to censor most material to the point where the message, whether explicit or implied, is rendered unintelligible. Aftere Columbine, any references to gun, visual, verbal and mtaphorical, were excised from hits when played on the airwaves (the song, "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus is a prime example when it was released). Post-9/11, any reference to the WTC was banished from the original posters and trailers for "Spiderman". Panic reactions such as these 2 examples are an attempt to deal with various tragedies, but in truth, they're no more than ephemeral solutions to problems that have lingered way before the incidents.
Remember "Nipplegate"? When the world was slowly going to Hell in a handbasket, everyone focused on that "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl. The FCC, arbiters of decency and integrity that they claim to be, decided to jump all over any broadcaster who would "cross" the lines of "good-taste". What the incident and its fallout managed to do is distract everyone from what's going on in Iraq, Afghanistan and their own back yards.
And anyways, the Jackson/Timberlake stunt was too lame to garner any serious attention.
So, Prince has stirred the proverbial pot. Who wants some?
If you can't handle the heat, chill out.