by Miles Raymer
There are isolated spots on MBDTF that do make me feel that way. The big one is "Monster," the weirdest trunk-banger of the year—Nicki Minaj's verse is probably the best 80 seconds of rap music to happen in 2010.
Today a teaser clip from the video to "Monster" made the rounds. Considering how great the song is, Ye's recent history of mind-boggling videos, and the breathless reactions filling my Twitter feed, I was pretty excited to click through to it.
Turns out that I am not among the "Monster" video's early fans.
Here's the clip that's been going around:
As you'd expect, it's beautifully shot. The lighting's real nice and Rick Ross looks extremely Rick Ross. Good stuff.
Really the only problem I have with it is the whole "sexualizing dead women" thing.
I know that Kanye has emerged as a fully accredited artiste in recent years, and I love that he's embraced transgressive imagery and that his lyrics and visuals present a sometimes shockingly raw depiction of a mind rattling with complicated sexual urges and a deep streak of morbidity. I'm just calling bullshit on expressing that by dressing models up in lingerie and hanging them from meat hooks.
Granted, I'm critiquing a video for a song that runs for six and a half minutes based on a 40-second clip. The uncut version (which, based on "Runaway," could go who knows how long) might reveal that it's a scathing indictment of how women have been depicted in rap videos for the past couple of decades or something. But the bit with Kanye orchestrating what seems to be a three-way with two beautiful corpses in lingerie suggests that the video's main message will be "expensive, barely sublimated rape fantasy."
If Kanye came out and said, "The purpose of the video for 'Monster' is to imagine the erotic potential of women who literally cannot say no, and to conflate this sort of ultimate rape fantasy with high-end apparel and home furnishings," I would absolutely support his right to do so. I'm just saying that aside from the aforementioned lighting, apparel, and home furnishings, the video's hideous.
The fact that, for instance, a shitload of Julian Assange's defenders apparently find it a laughable notion that a man continuing to have sex with a woman after she revokes her consent constitutes "rape-rape" (in the immortal words of Whoopi Goldberg) suggests that we still haven't figured out how to responsibly address or even discuss sexual violence against women. (The frequently creepy way people reacted to Rihanna's abuse by Chris Brown shows that we can't even handle the issue of plain old violence against women.)
Potential sexual abusers don't need one of the most popular entertainers in the world giving their fantasies a coded thumbs-up. The women those abusers target certainly don't.