Song Of The Day 3/1/2013: Babe - "I'm A Rock Machine"

1) Employ utmost caution when surfing on YouTube.

YouTube is not a toy. It's not some spring-loaded, plastic child's plaything, harmlessly spinning flimsy little discuses at an animate object unlikely to feel any impact. YouTube is, as Stephen Colbert would say, a godless killing machine.

As I'm sure you've noticed, on the right hand side of your standard YouTube viewing page, they suggest the user watch a bunch of other videos, based on three criteria: (a) YouTube promotional priorities; (b) their knowledge of what you have viewed in the past; and (c) the overall theme, subject matter or aesthetics of the video you're watching that very moment. While the logic of such recommendations is clear or even sound, the choice to follow that trail is all yours.

You can view this algorithmic schema unique to our digital era in one of two ways: Either YouTube is helping you make more personal choices, or it's fiendishly screwing with your fight-or-flee instinct to the extent that you do neither. And in doing so, it can adversely affect your network of intent, changing your motive from benevolence, or at least indifference, to outright damage infliction.

Which is to say that the other night, while looking at videos for South African all-female bubblegum band Clout, YouTube suggested I also take a look at "I'm A Rock Machine" by Babe, a disco-pop singing trio from Holland. My resistance is not what it used to be.

My very, very occasional impulses towards sadistic treatment of my blog audience, however, are taut and intact.

It's YouTube's fault. Go picket their place. I got a thing I gotta do and stuff.

2) The production quality -- more accurately, the reproduction quality -- of these kitsch-pop videos used to be really crappy. In fact I have sometimes decided against putting certain tunes up as Song Of The Day because the source videos were poor. Especially if they were from European TV. This led me to decline some pristinely daft musical material from the 1970's and 80's because the videos were unwatchable.

But all of a sudden, the quality's gotten better. Like, in the last fiscal quarter. I mean this Babe video isn't HD or anything, but it's certainly without major flaws. So I see something like this, and I have no technical excuse as to why I shouldn't display it in all its awe.

Simply stated, technology is getting too good at restoring the embarrassing moments of our past. Why can't they just spill red fuming nitric acid over the master tapes when they have the chance?

3) If you ditch this video too soon, although you'd display exemplary discernment, you will miss the narrative heart of the story. It takes them a bit too long to get around to it, but here it is:

Woman applies for a job at a hotel. Manager says, great, would you like to work in the kitchen? Woman refuses, on the grounds that she's a rock machine. Later on the woman is pulled over by a patrolman, who catches her running a red light. The officer asks for her "profession." (No license, no registration, no name, just what she does for a living.) Woman replies, "I'm a rock machine." Cop's head explodes.

So, the Cliff's Notes summary: The protagonist both refuses a place of power in the culinary-hospitality industrial complex, and defers submission to authority figures on the basis that the person in question is, in fact, a rock machine?

Story of my life, pal.
Post a Comment

Popular Recent Posts