Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Morning Videos: "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" (Special Compare and Contrast Edition!)

Okay, here's a video (two actually) that I've been holding onto forever, wondering when or if to include them in the FMV series. It's just so weirdly self-important and compellingly despicable, if that makes any sense. Anyway, here I am, finally sharing it with you all. The XTC song as a whole rocks, that's a given. In turning the song's lyrics about an inspiring figure taken down by the powers-that-be into images, the makers of the video played around with allusions to the crucifixion of Jesus and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Fair enough, but the directions they took in were, well, let's just say disturbing.

There are two versions of the video; the first is the one most likely to have been seen by American audiences. It's fairly outrageous, but at least appears to have some overarching focus to it: if anything, it makes kind of a consistent, anti-Catholic, the-Vatican-is-pulling-the-strings interpretation of the song somewhat coherent. The second is just over the top, blatant and unnerving. You've got explicit Kennedy-as-Christ comparisons in there, along with the Bay of Pigs and creepy shots of a Marilyn Monroe look-alike and a host of other conspiracy tropes, some of which I can't even make any sense of, not to mention a nothing-hidden recreation of Kennedy being shot (the first version never actually shows it). I don't know. Which do you find more offensive? Personally, I can't make up my mind.

1st version:

2nd version:

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