The Wheel and Axle

This Type of Modern Life

by on Sep.02, 2016, under Music & Theater, Society

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I recently finally got to watch the banned version of Madonna’s music video for American Life.

As a Madonna fanatic, I’ll be the first to say that, when the song was released, I wasn’t exactly fond of it. It must’ve been the rap. Madonna, my queen, I love you, but unless it’s Vogue‘s spoken portion, please never rap again.

However, watching this banned video, hindsight once again schools me to show just how ahead of her time Madonna really was (and continues to be).

This video is as timely as it was, if not more so, when it was released in the early oughts as a criticism of the War on Iraq.

The sad thing is that, today, the same lessons from then have not really been learned, and the world further teems with increasing conflict in all corners. I would even say it’s been exponential, and the reality is that many (though not all) of today’s conflicts stemmed from the invasion of Iraq.

What’s even more interesting is how this video also criticizes the detachment of outsiders who view the conflicts from perceived safe spaces. Worse, in some cases, the detachment has morphed for some people into something far worse: entertainment. Think Hunger Games.

And now? The criticism remains valid as the advent of social media has increased the numbness people sometimes feel with all the violence that has grown around them. Behind keyboards, conflict has become a distant thing – unless it then happens in one’s own backyard. Otherwise, some have become desensitized to the point of apathy (or pretend sympathy, in a few cases – hopefully rare).

Madonna called it back then, and this timeless video continues to call it out.

Let’s learn from history and always remember the lessons of the past.

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