UPDATE: having watched the video a couple of times – the wife seems to be there for A. tits (obviously) but also for B. a twist ending – it’s THE BLOKE WHO IS THE BITCH…
In other thoughts – they missed a trick not getting Lana Del Rey to duet, play the wife and then run off with Rihanna at the end. ART!
Years ago Julie Burchill asked why violence against women was such a safe art ball to play – yet – say – racist violence wasn’t.
The answer is obvious – violence against women doesn’t threaten the social order… except when it’s committed by an out-group… and while the West has plenty of racists and plenty of times and places where racism is safe… at the moment there’s a strong enough anti-racist political movement for it to cause trouble (in art – if not in life – where things can be hidden and denied).
Sexual violence against women – in art (and in life if you can get away with it) is sexy.
It involves power & tits. *
*and we can always pretend it’s a morality play about things we strongly disapprove of – if pushed.
Sexual violence against men could be sexy – but most men won’t watch it – so it’s less likely to be mainstream (at least without an I Spit On Your Grave level of rip-roaring revenge).
So that brings me to Rihanna’s – Bitch Better Have My Money – video.
The acting is great.
Rihanna is amazing.
But – it’s undeniably sexist.
The men stay fully clothed.
The women get naked.
The man’s torture and death is implied.
The woman’s torture and near death is shown.
The woman has been described as a ‘rich bitch’ who has ‘white privilege’.
The man has been described as ‘that actor from Hannibal’ and ‘an accountant’.
It appeals to anyone who has ever been turned down by ‘that bitch’ and anyone who thinks ‘that bitch thinks she’s prettier than me’.
But it’s also a hymn to capitalism – where gangsters are our favourite metaphor for non-stop consumption and no one fucks with our money.
And because it’s what ‘the people’ really, really want (they buy it in vast numbers of their own free will) – it’s impossible to fight against… but it’s still worth mentioning that it’s part of our grubby dark side and it’s hardly edifying.
according to this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-sostaita-/is-bitch-better-have-my-money-a-song-about-reparations_b_7000736.html the song is about reparations for slavery and racism… but that seems like a fig-leaf for enjoying her bad-girl pimp-stripper Pour it Up aesthetic… It’s wrong and it’s fun – you may as well admit it.