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[personal profile] astra_aurora
All right. This will also get long, so be warned.

Generally, if one knows a band well, one can generally predict what their videos will be like. Angelspit's videos are weird and horrifying, as are Shiv-R's. The Birthday Massacre's are very strange, usually with a fucked-up twist ending. IAMX's videos are usually just fucked-up from the beginning. I certainly wasn't naive enough to believe that a New Years Day video wouldn't have murder in it. I read lead singer Ash Costello's tweets and learned that they used a lot of fake blood in it, so yeah, murder. Also, after looking at some photos she posted, it also appeared that there would be sex scenes. Colour me intrigued. I suspected that this video could only be amazing or a complete fuck-up, and when it was released... yep. I got that one right.

See, the sex scenes in question (between Ash and the other singer on "Angel Eyes", Chris Motionless of the band Motionless in White) looked a hell of a lot like rape when I watched it the first time. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I rarely encounter rape in fiction- after all, I did watch all of Law and Order: SVU's first season in about a week with my sister, and as a fic writer, I specialise in dark!fic, so in essence, this shit is my bread and butter. But there are a few reasons why the video shocked me, namely:

1. I have trouble envisioning things (as in, actually seeing things in my head), so when I'm writing, the content isn't actually that graphic because I'm not seeing it unfold. It's more a matter of words. So actually seeing what went down in the video was quite surprising.

2. At no point was any of the content warned for or hinted at. If I'd known what was going to be shown, I probably would have been fine. But it was like a slap in the face.

I suppose I should actually explain what happens in the video. But here we come to a bigger problem, namely that what the band thought they were showing was not what I saw. So I'll explain what I saw, and what I was meant to have seen.

What I saw: Ash is at a masquerade ball in a huge house. Chris shows up, and she leads him around the house for a bit. He finally catches up with her in a room where the other guests are doing the guesty thing. He then takes out a syringe and stabs her in the neck as all the other guests start spitting out blood and dying, presumably because he poisoned them. (Or not, hey, maybe spitting blood is fashionable these days.) Ash wakes up in another room, handcuffed to a chair. Chris walks in, sans mask, and proceeds to beat the unholy crap out of her, with constant cuts to a sex scene. Afterwards, he rips her heart out, stashes it in a briefcase with seven other hearts and leaves, but as he walks past her, her eyes open.

What I was meant to have seen: Ash is at the ball. Chris, her ex, shows up, and she leads him around on a merry chase. He finally catches up with her and drugs her, after poisoning everyone else. Having restrained her, he beats the crap out of her while video cuts between the beating and the sex scene, to show how their relationship has gone sour- he used to kiss her, now he hits her, etc, etc, blah blah blah. Then he rips her heart out, etc.

There's one major problem here: none of what I was meant to have seen was shown. How was I meant to know that Chris was meant to be her ex? The whole song is about falling for someone you really shouldn't, and the video made it look like they'd never met before. Given that he drugged her, how I meant to know that the sex was consensual? The cuts barely lasted longer than a few seconds. That was backstory I was not privy to, so what was I meant to do, telepathically pull it out of the band's heads?

Also, there's Ash's tumblr rant about it. I'll just quote the relevant part:

"To those saying we are advocating drugging and raping females… well think what you want… but the scenes of us in bed are flashbacks, its a juxtaposition between the hatred and love. Every time he hits me, it shows a flash of us in happier times. He slams my head on the table, when he once would slam my head on the bed, he’s screaming in my face, when he would once kiss my cheek. It just tells a story. nothing about my facial expressions or our behavior would suggest that he is raping me, at all, I look very happy and he doesnt look like he is struggling with me whatsoever. So let that ease your minds. So if your mind goes to that, you are struggling to do so, relax, let yourself go and worry about much larger things in life."

Well, no, Ash, that really doesn't ease my mind. Want to know why? You never told us any of this! How the fuck was I meant to know that your characters hadn't just met for the first time? And that little barb about 'if your mind goes to that, you are struggling to do so'? Ash, I like you a lot, but fuck you. That scene triggered the fuck out of me and I'm sure I wasn't the only one. My mind was not struggling to reach that point, I literally could not see that scene as anything other than rape when I first watched it because that's all I could see. Because that's what I saw. Because that came out of nowhere, and believe me, I am not making this shit up for drama. I would certainly not have chosen to be triggered if I'd had that choice. I am not someone who enjoys spending several hours feeling like they've been repeatedly punched, unable to so much as read the name 'New Years Day' and having the offending song playing on repeat in my head despite any and all attempts to get it out. 'Angel Eyes' is now on my list of videos I won't be able to rewatch, because I don't want to have to deal with that again.

I guess what's just as bad isn't the rant, it's the fanfap. This is a word I have coined to name the phenomenon in which fans endlessly talk about how wonderful something is. I had to unfollow NYD and Ash on Twitter because I couldn't handle the dozens of retweets of fans talking about how amazing and perfect and flawless the video was. No, it really isn't. Look at it this way: when someone gets hurt, things stop being fun and games. And you need to try to stop people getting hurt. Warn them, for the love of God. Warn people about the content of your videos. I warn people about the content of my fics. Does it spoil them? Yeah, sometimes. Do I care? No. Because I care more about the possibility of people getting triggered by my fics if I don't warn them.

Jesus Christ. Yeah, one barely three-minute-long video ruined my Wednesday. Unhappy me is still unhappy. So that's my thoughts on the matter, and man am I exhausted. I really can't see that I can do anything to rectify this situation, mainly because while Ash claims to read all the tweets sent to her, I sincerely doubt that she or anyone else in the band would respond well to either of these posts. I can't say I'd blame them, mainly because opinions are arbitrary and one person's criticism is another person's derision, but when all I want them to do is warn (and maybe apologise for not realising that people were going to see things differently), I don't think there's much I can do to achieve that.

So yeah. Thanks for reading, all. I just wanted to get this off my chest.


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January 2014

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