Bowie ain't St. Sebastian
Bowie's new video above is supposedly causing a bit of a commotion for its depiction of Catholic imagery to emphasize the Church's hypocrisy, especially vis a vis the sexual scandals. Bowie is an amazing artist---my favorite artist---but, honestly, this video is not innovative at all. It is quite manipulative because it will make people (many of his fans, judging by the Facebook and Twitter comments) feel like they are edgy for playing with the "meanie" catholic church, when in truth it is all false edginess. It is so safe---and so cliche---to play with Catholics, that this feels like a super-studied MTV video awards show: studied faux edginess. Safe because no one is going to order a fatwa on your head, and cliche because it was already cliche when Madonna did it (with stigmata and all)... Sadly, the Stars (are out tonight) video was also a rip-off from The Eurythmics Savage video album... The Where are we now video was much more interesting. Don't get me wrong, I can see an artist (a painter at that) like Bowie being inspired by Catholic imagery, but the video is manipulative by seemingly trying to pinpoint the hypocrisy of the Church, while simultaneously being hypocritical itself by following, in addition to the safe/cliche faux edginess, the easy angle of linking sexuality to the catholic emphasis on the body and flesh. Honestly, if you can't top Mishima, don't do this...