With over a hundred thousand likes and 22MILLION views in two months between two “official” videos, MIA (sometimes MAYA) has shown that our overall willingness to disagree unconditionally with the Middle East is in a state of exhaustion. A Western-style culture of bling and money rides shotgun in car rodeo style racing basically owned by Saudi Arabian youth. Rather than the video acting as a lightning rod for criticism and negativity as the director was worried, Western youth, are mesmerized by this strangely festive display of tricks, play and cultural twists that just says, “shit’s fun. Let’s party!”
This isn’t my kind of music at all but I didn’t want to stop watching the video! The video is set up to elicit your emotions – the start is a sober and quiet look at smoking Arabs with Trooper style shades, desolate walls dilapidated in the dessert dust and you wonder how serious a video you’re in for. I’m a little embarrassed to say I instinctively tensed up. The stoicism gives way to a build up of hip hop rhythms and Arab men turn out to be costumed women who help get the movement started. It’s a gender-bender grab.
“Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well.” MIA’s dancing is really basic and I don’t own music like this, but I’m glad the video was made. After all the modern war movies like Hurt Locker and the adapted Danish film, Brothers, and patriotism and circled red white and blue wagons in every-which way, I’m happy to see the YouTube-enthusiastic generations embrace a brazen, no safety-wire culture cross like this so positively.