Stupid Musician Watch: 'Big Data' Misses Concept of Big Data
By Ken Magill
Until quite recently, one of my favorite songs was “Dangerous” by a band called “Big Data,” as much as I despise the unfortunately trendy term.
Then I saw the music video. It is grotesque and shallow—too shallow to be offensive—and illustrates how ignorant producer Alan Wilkis is of the clichéd concept his electronic music project is named for.
Wikipedia's explanation will suffice: “The video opens with the two designers observing a group of inmates in shackles wearing the shoes and walking in circles until one wearer bumps into another. This results in one inmate headbutting another (quite bloodily). Satisfied with the result of the wear test, a marketing meeting is held to develop advertising for the shoe. The video alternates between the pitching of advertising ideas and the concept being shown in real-time. The video itself is a send-up of most shoe commercials and is a satire of the over-use of sex and violence in marketing.
“In the commercial proposal, an attractive woman in a two-piece running outfit jogs down the street as the camera pans from the shoes to various parts of her body (mostly her bust and her face). The two pitchmen over-emphasize that the camera focus on the woman's breasts as a female member of the marketing team smiles uncomfortably and nods her agreement. A second runner is shown jogging in slow motion with a close-up of her face and the close captioning of "SEXUAL BREATHING". In the meeting, the chief marketing director starts to doze off, so the pitchmen change to a more violent approach. The first jogger encounters a man leaning against a building and she headbutts him to death, crushing his skull and collapsing his face. Back in the meeting, slogans like ‘Big Data Means Big Ideas’, ‘Think Globally, Headbutt Locally’, and ‘Fuck Dangerous’ are bounced around as a male worker stares at a female colleague while doodling male genitals on his notepad.
“Another female marketer pitches hashtags and viral video possibilities with the slogan ‘Big Data Is Dangerous.’ The second female jogger is shown coming upon an old lady panhandling for change. After she is killed, the two runners link up and attack a man waiting for a bus, tearing him apart. Then, covered in blood, the two women have a lesbian make-out session and in the background can be seen an advertisement on the bus stop that shows the Big Data shoe with the slogan ‘Fuck You’.
“The marketing director stands up and smiles, prompting the ‘yes-men’ sycophants in the room to cheer with approval. The video ends with the two women jogging down the street, blood splattered all over them, while the two pitchmen are congratulated for their brilliant marketing ideas and champagne is passed around to celebrate.”
Yep, that’s how advertising works alright.
I have a long-standing policy of avoiding reading or listening to interviews of artists whose work I enjoy.
The most artistically gifted among us always seem to be the most intellectually challenged and after seeing how stupid they are I can no longer enjoy their work.
For example, I cannot watch anything with Gwyneth Paltrow in it ever again.
The video for Dangerous is another example. It is not smart social commentary. It’s not thought provoking, unless “WTF” is the thought it is meant to provoke.
Also, the song’s opening with the two researchers observing the headbutting and creating a concept around it is not an example of big data. It’s an example of a focus group, or very small data.
So it doesn’t even get the basic concept of the band’s name right.
Andy Warhol, Big Data is not.
[Editor's note: I did not link to the video because it is so tasteless. Imagine that: Me calling something tasteless.]