Tag Archives: equality

Electric Barbarella amongst the #MeToo movement

Day two from Santa Barbara. Last night we took a drive to see a couple of homes we like, and we were able to cross a couple of others off of our list of favorites. I think that if we threw caution to the wind, we’d have our answer….but I’m not quite ready to do that just yet, so today will bring more looking around. If nothing else, it’s lit a fire under me to get our current house on the market!

On to more important things, like Duran Duran. (Right?!?) Does anyone remember What Unfolds? What if I gave you the name, Steve Aoki? Terminal Five? How about champagne and cake?? Well, if you were there, tomorrow is in fact your sixth anniversary of making it out alive. I would have mentioned this tomorrow, but it is also someone’s birthday, and that needs to take precedence. So, happy early anniversary to those of you who survived the insanity at Terminal Five. (Sounds like a great book title, in my opinion!)

Today also has an anniversary of sorts. On this date in 1997, the filming for “Electric Barbarella” wrapped up, and Pop Trash was also released on this date in the UK.

I don’t know if I’m alone here, but I’ve always had misgivings about “Electric Barbarella”, in particular the video…but the song as well. Cheeky as though it may be, when I watch the video, I can’t help but cringe. An electric Barbie, bought off of a floor, to do anything and everything the men want. A problem arises only when the doll starts thinking on her own. Music video or not, it’s cringe-worthy even by 1997 standards, but certainly more so today, in the shadow of the #MeToo movement. It is hard for me to defend the merit of “Electric Barbarella”. I always felt the content was anti-female, and I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth a band who was loved by so many women would put out a song (not to mention a video) like that. Maybe I missed something somewhere.

I don’t know that the intention of music videos created back in 1997 were necessarily a call to arms to fight injustice or to make any kind of a social statement. Maybe some were, but I can’t think of them off-hand. I’m sure someone out there will have great examples.  I can’t help but think about Childish Gambino’s recent video for “This is America”. There’s nothing lighthearted or joyful going on there. It is a powerful, social statement, from song lyrics to one of the first images in the video where a man is savagely shot from behind while sitting in a chair. The scene is disturbing and stays with you, but even more so when you continue watching and notice that the point of the video is not necessarily the violence or injustice itself – it is that while all of that goes on, no one else pays any attention. As alarming and shocking as the video might seem, the portrayal of America is disgustingly accurate. I don’t know about anyone else, but it is a tough video for me to watch. Art can be like that, and yes – I do believe it is art. I had a long discussion with my oldest about the video when she insisted I watch it. Instead of being disturbed by the graphic nature, she was thrilled that in 2018, artists are being encouraged to really be so open and honest.

It is funny, and by funny I mean very strange and slightly discomforting, that back when I was her age, I felt the same way. I have to wonder what the future will bring.

In contrast to “This is America”, “Electric Barbarella” at least seems to be the epitome of the throwaway 1990s culture. Bright colors, animated graphics, shallow, plastic and pretty.  It is hard to see past the facade…and I admit that I just can’t seem to find what the real message is, if in fact there is anything going on there to be seen. My question to you is simple – what do you think the band was really trying to convey? Do you like the video or the message, and does it still have a place in 2018 amidst #MeToo?

-R

#Equality: A Night in Charlotte, NC

Duran Duran speaks for #Equality.

Last night, the Paper Gods Tour arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina for a show at the PNC Music Pavilion.  Before the show, Duran Duran put out a public statement confirming that they would in fact play the gig as previously planned, but also spoke out against that state’s current policy regarding a recently passed law – House Bill 2 or HB2.  Click the link to read more about the bill, which is known to be the Bathroom Bill, but is clearly MUCH farther reaching.

If you have not had a chance to read the band’s statement, it is listed below, from duranduran.com:

With respect to the current storm which is howling through this State, we considered cancelling our show on Saturday, but decided to go ahead, both for the sake of our fans and to support those in North Carolina who feel as strongly as we do about this issue. We see this as an opportunity to make the following statement.

Yes here it is again, just plain old-fashioned prejudice, fear and oppression, the same old kind that’s blighted the human race, in varying degrees, for all of its history. Duran Duran is opposed to bigotry and discrimination in all of its ugly forms, and so it follows that we are opposed to the basic premise of HB2. We support the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender community, to have equal opportunities. We support their rights to live free, happy, fulfilled lives. If you live in this State and feel the same way, we urge you to register, so that you can vote; so that your voice can be heard. We urge you to sign this petition which will be presented at the General Assembly meeting on April 25th in North Carolina. You have the power to repeal this outdated and cruel legislation.

Sign up forms for the petition and information about HB2 and how to repeal it will be available at the show on Saturday night – so go visit the teams manning the Equality NC stalls that will be on site.

Our thanks to both Equality NC (www.equalitync.org) and NC Needs You (a new organization dedicated to connecting performers with like-minded nonprofits in the state battling against HB2) for their support and education on this issue. And, like us, please support Time Out Youth (http://www.timeoutyouth.org/), who will also be at the show and do incredible work with LGBT youth in the area.

– Simon, Nick, John & Roger

While we were already proud by their statement and their handling of the situation, the speech given last night at the show itself made both of us positively beam. You can see that below:

 

We believe that Duran Duran’s response to this troubling situation in North Carolina demonstrated a positive and productive way to educate the public as well as uphold their commitment to their fans, who had been excitedly anticipating this show for months.   While we realize other artists had chosen to boycott the state in an attempt to create an economic impact, Duran Duran chose to use the platform they were given, potentially having a far greater impact.  Instead of staying silent and passively putting out a statement, the band actively spoke out and encouraged the audience to do the same by publicly signing a petition against the act. The band also encouraged the audience to register to vote and sign the petition themselves, saying that they [the audience] have the power to make the change.  That is why we feel so incredibly strongly that this was the right course.

While we have seen a great number of fans also coming out in support of the band’s actions last night, we have been dismayed with the amount of people who are adamantly against what the band did and said. We understand and respect that everyone has the right to their own opinion, first and foremost. Everyone has their own perspectives. However, what we struggle to understand are those who seem to have no empathy. The vast majority of us have at least some privilege in our lives, and at the minimum we should recognize that not everyone is that lucky.  It does not take living in the same state or even in the same country to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, or to speak out against injustice. For example, neither of us live in South Africa, yet we are both appalled by the Apartheid.  Additionally, neither of us are Jewish, nor did we live in Germany or even Europe at any point in our lives, and yet we are disgusted and saddened by the Holocaust.  Perhaps the lack of empathy comes from a lack of awareness or exposure to the LGBTQ community, however, everyone, including those of us who support the community can benefit from educating themselves more on these issues.

We have always been proud to support Duran Duran. Times like these continually reinforce our choice to be fans, and encourages us to continue to do so.

#Equality

-A & R