David Bowie's new video, directed by Floria Sigismondi and starring Gary Oldman, contains some of my very favorite things (these being Marion Cotillard, booze, sex, shame, and Bowie himself, among other things). But making sense of all this nutzoid religious imagery is easier said than done. Let's turn to the Catholic League's take—they should be able to offer a clear perspective on the dense layers of symbolism we're seeing.
David Bowie is back, but hopefully not for long. The switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen from London has resurfaced, this time playing a Jesus-like character who hangs out in a nightclub dump frequented by priests, cardinals and half-naked women.
The video is strewn with characteristic excess: one priest bashes a homeless man, while others are busy hitting on women; self-flagellation is depicted; a dancing gal with bleeding hands makes a stigmata statement; and a customer is served eyeballs on a plate. The lyrics refer to the “priest stiff in hate” and “women dressed as men for the pleasure of that priest.” The song concludes with, “They can work with Satan while they dress with the saints.” In short, the video reflects the artist—it is a mess.
...Not sure what he believes in today (anyone who is “not quite an atheist” is not an atheist), but 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.
SOME THINGS OF NOTE: • Bill refers to Bowie as "switch-hitting" AND "bisexual." Just so it's perfectly clear. • While the imagery is lurid, the video's humor seems to have totally escaped Bill. Note Bowie's bizarre breaking of the fourth wall at the end. • Remember that this is the guy who played Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ. That seems significant to me for some reason. • Am I the only one who notices a visual reference to the "Let's Dance" video? • Kudos for referring to Roman Catholicism as "the Cadillac of all religions." If you mean elitist, impractical, and entirely out of step with the times, you are bang on, sir. • Are Catholics even allowed to watch this kind of stuff? • Sweet hot Jesus sandwiches, how I love Marion Cotillard. • Seriously, Bill, this video is fucking awesome. What's your problem?... oh yeah.