Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"To Get Lost In Your Thoughts Is A Very Very Complex Thought And The Things That You Thought Are Surprising"

Mack Rice's (you're probably actually thinking Wilson Pickett's) "Mustang Sally" and Lou Reed's "Ride Sally Ride" seem to me to share a sexist censoriousness of their Sally protagonists, an effort at control complicated to say the least by the incitement to resistance in their grooves, and part of what is so exciting to me about "Sally Ride", the seventeenth track of the great Electric Lady, is the way Janelle Monáe takes the occasion of the accidental lyrical homage to the first American woman (and lesbian, as it happens) in space in these ambivalent tunes and basks in the radiation given off by the collision of their melodic and thematic conceits to gain the energy to break orbit, flip the script, and create an anthem all her own to the feminist queer prosthetic polycultural politics of Choice. The plaintive coda may seem to change the subject, but it embeds the track in the larger themes infusing all of Monáe's android-pop(ulism) thus far: taking up the robot-figure of precarious infrahumanized communities of color and queerness and youth as a torch to light the way to and through the underground railroad Elsewhere and Otherwise (a gesture serially anticipated by funkadelic aesthetic radicalisms: synthesizing, sampling, popping, locking), but especially contemplating the place for what can be the poisoned apple of love and movement in the post-apocalyptic corporate-militarized alien(ated)-earth landscape very possibly traumatized beyond healing. I can't be the only one hoping that an epochal video is in our future, to me the piece just begs to visualized and narrativized as Monáe's Space Oddity.

More Janelle Monáe blogging here and here and here and, well, I'm a fan and you can find scattered genuflections all over the place if you look.

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