NOTHING BRAKES LIKE A CAR
I wrote this last Easter after noticing some interesting details in a music video and while I am reluctant to include this in a series of blogs about James Joyce and Ulysses, watching the video this evening and I think it is worth pointing out that Miley Cyrus really nailed this social commentary about America, Pop Culture and the Media that I am sure the musically minded Irish writer could appreciate all the obscure controversial references in it, if he was alive.
Joyce's Ulysses takes place over the course of 24 hours and was banned and burnt for its honest yet controversial take on ordinary life in Dublin in 1904. Miley Cyrus' video lasts just four minutes but speaks volumes about life in America today, so settle it, put on your seat belt and get ready for a tour de force, as a passenger in Miley's Mercedes S Classe.
Whenever I listen to Miley Cyrus´song Nothing breaks like a heart, I always hear this powerful ballad that reminds me of her Godmother Dolly Pardon´s voice but watching the video tonight I started to see so much symbology of America represented in the video.
It all started when my girlfriend pointed out the footballers taking a knee at the side of the road in the video but there was so much else happening that you would probably have to watch the four minute music video in slow motion to get some of the references that fly by at you.
In one clip you can see a disco ball on a car´s rear view mirror as a clear reference to her hit Wrecking Ball and as she speeds the Mercedes S Class down a highway in high pursuit you can´t help but be reminded of OJ Simpson´s infamous car chase televised for all the world to see in 1994 as 24 hour news started to find stories they could literally follow for hours and hours on end.
This Mark Ronson video featuring Miley Cyrus is a car wreck of course but how much of this carage is aimed at America itself as a critique of the path they are heading down?
Children play with large calibre rounds as if they are dolls and in a shooting range we see young kids firing handguns at child targets while the beautiful Miley Cyrus looks sombrely at the camera.
Outside the shooting range and in a strip club, girls dance for money and when we zoom out, I could see for the first time that the men are all wearing collars resembling priests and it reminded me of the story of a homophobic Republican politician photographed putting dollar bills down a male stripper´s thong.
Something is wrong.
Maybe I am reading too much into the symbology here but Miley Cyrus hits the nail on the head as she nails herself to a cross here, if this is a critique of America today.
People hold up "Me Too" signs and in another scene we sees people rioting inside a shopping centre and I am reminded of the annual November scenes of Black Friday when chaos and capitalism wreck havoc, the day after Thanksgiving like an actual Wrecking Ball tearing down walls.
I will have to learn a little more about the Hannah Montanna actress and see if the Disney star hasn´t called out America without people even realising it.
With scenes of footballers kneeling, hypocritical religious leaders in strip clubs, looters and rioters and everyone clued to their TVs chasing OJ and celebrity culture while kids play with guns as if they are toys, this car crash video might just represent America if this train wreck can´t quickly change track.
For all the carnage on screen, shouldn´t we brake, like a car? Shouldn´t we check where we are going OR at least slow down?
After a quick search for some commentary about the video, I found a clip where Miley Cyrus wanted to use some of the amazing academy award winning directors in LA to shoot the video, and it seems that they took a car as the metaphorical vehicle for media, and celebrity culture.
They wanted to put a car in places where it doesn´t belong hence gatecrashing a stripclub and a shooting range and shopping centre, and in the case of the media, they mention that the media isn´t always where it is supposed to be saying, "the things that make it into the news, that shouldnt."
The media is following her throughout this wild ride and outside what looks like a Best Buy store you can see a Why Buy? sign where the people inside riot as Wolf News follows her as if they were Fox News.