how to ruin a video
(originally posted 9/18/2012)
It’s funny how sometimes by focusing on the wrong thing you can actually find something worth paying attention to. Take for instance this music video I saw today. OK song, decent video but as the female singer was wailing away as she walked through a desert I couldn’t help but notice this old ship that was sitting there. Suddenly it was all I could see.
It looked a little like The Minnow from Gilligan’s Island. Actually, thinking back now it looked an awful like it. It was sitting there for no good reason in the middle of a arid wasteland. I admit that I don’t know how it got there but given that it was a ship and was currently sitting perched in sand than I have to assume there was no good reason.
You have to wonder if it misses the feel of water underneath it. Before you accuse me of giving inanimate object human emotions contemplate this… why do we give boats names when we don’t offer such monikers to other forms of transportation like planes or buses?
That’s alright, take a minute.
Does this land-locked vessel miss the way the salt water would spray across its bow as it plowed through the waves, rising and falling and rising and falling as it chugged along? Does it resent the unrelenting heat as it bleaches the paint away and dries out its hull? Does it sit there anguishing over the fact that it is no longer sure it could even float if given the opportunity?
The singers voice suddenly sounded exactly like John Denver and the words to the song became Calypso, the drums became the cries of seagulls and in the background of the video I saw enormous dark clouds blowing in. The woman could only look on helplessly as torrential showers suddenly poured down upon her and the hapless film crew as they all looked upwards in disbelief.
It might have been my imagination (yeah, the rest of this actually was happening) but I could have sworn I heard ringing of a long-dormant bell as the ship summoned the soaked group inside her as the sand quickly was being replaced by water.
“I am NO prop” the ship seemed to be saying. “No metaphor to be used as subtext in some larger message!”
The sound of creaking wood filled my screen as the craft slowly was lifted up off the land, silently exclaiming its buoyancy to all. The drenched and bedraggled singers eyes protesting that this was her vehicle, her voice… only to be drowned out and swallowed up by a much more poignant allegory. Her vision extinguished, learning too late that there is no petty message that can survive the powerful symbolism of a ship stuck in the desert.
All the occupants clung to the vessel for dear life until the wild raging storm finally, as the song drew to a close, became a crystal clear ocean.
Of course when it was over the first thing I did was click the replay button but now the video was set on a mountain and there wasn’t a ship in sight. I could swear the singer gave me a quick wink as she started to sing.
Then my eye was drawn to the sun rising over this jagged peak in the background…