(Not So) Neato Viddys on the Intertubes

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UK electro duo Simian Mobile Disco are pretty darn good, and their now-oldish track “Hustler” is one of the best songs on their new album, Attack Decay Sustain Release. Its dark breakbeat backing is combined with a repetitive, stream-of-consciousness rap about being too broke to buy records and stealing them instead. It already had a pretty good (if eyebrow-raising) video featuring a circle of hipster girls whose game of “secret” turns into a makeout session, but for some reason the band (or their label) decided that wasn’t exploitative enough. Now we get a new video featuring dancing models who, er, binge and purge, in Technicolor:

Send-up of cheesecake videos, blistering indictment of the modeling industry, or crap? It brings to mind a couple other electronic artists whose tracks apparently needed attention-grabbing and ultimately exploitative clips: first, The Prodigy’s already-controversial “Smack My Bitch Up” featured a typical laddish night out of booze, fighting and sex (along with similar amounts of vomiting), until the perspective switcheroo at the end. (NSFW).

While nobody saw the Shyamalan-style twist coming, it’s still dumb, and feels like a tacked-on way to make the other 99% of the video acceptable.

Don’t forget the clip for UNKLE’s “Rabbit in Your Headlights,” a dull ballad with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on vocals. The video uses special effects to create what’s basically an ultraviolent snuff film where a mentally disturbed man is repeatedly run over by cars until, again, a kind of surprise ending, I guess:

That one ends up on lots of “best video ever” lists, but it just makes me feel kind of ill. Perhaps the lesson with these clips that it’s a slippery slope between ironic, winking exploitation and actual, grody exploitation?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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