So David Bowie has this new video, and -- what's that? Yes, I said David Bowie. Yeah, I'm a little surprised to hear he's still making music videos too, but wow, his voice has held up wonderfully over the years. Whatever throat-coating tea he's drinking, he needs to share some with Bob Dylan. Anyway, so Bowie has this new video for his song "The Next Day," and while you'd think his days of shocking the public would have peaked during his Ziggy Stardust days, it turns out the singer's still got some impressive tricks up his sleeve.
Not only is the clip so controversial it was yanked from YouTube, The Catholic League has referred to it as -- I swear I am not making this up -- the work of a "switch-hitting, bisexual senior citizen from London" that "is strewn with characteristic excess." Plus, a prominent Christian evangelist from Harvest Ministries called it "offensive and distasteful."
Oh, you KNOW you want to see it now, right?
The video stars stars Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard and Oscar-nominated actor Gary Oldman, and it's chock-full of all sorts of eyebrow-raising religious imagery. Oldman is in fine predatory form as a corrupt priest, Bowie sings onstage as a sort of Christlike figure in a monk's robe, Cotillard dances provocatively before blood gushes from her stigmata wounds. It's all very … well, here, take a look:
It's all very familiar, actually. I mean, this is a little more extreme than, say, Madonna's "Like a Prayer," but artists using religious iconography to stir up controversy is nothing new. Being condemned by spiritual leaders is one of the surest methods of drumming up free publicity, and let's be honest, David Bowie probably needed to push the envelope a bit to encourage album sales.
I'm not offended by anything in that video, but unsurprisingly, there are plenty of people who are. YouTube took the clip down within a few hours, saying it "violated its terms of service," before reinstating it with an adults-only rating. The Catholic League released a statement blasting the singer for his "mess" of a video, before expressing hope that he'll see the light:
… it’s a sure bet he can’t stop thinking about the Cadillac of all religions, namely Roman Catholicism. There is hope for him yet.
(The ... Cadillac of all religious? What does that even -- oh, never mind.)
Well, props to David Bowie for being 66 years old and still capable of getting some folks' panties in a wad. I doubt his comeback album would be making headlines without this video, so I'm thinking he achieved exactly what he set out to do.
What do you think about this David Bowie video? Do you find it offensive?
Image via Vevo