In the Blog

who took the bomp?

April 24th, 2007     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

I guess I should be used to it by now, but it still breaks my heart when I hear the music of bands I love being used to sell things. Like today, when I caught the last couple seconds of a Nivea commercial - not too long, but just long enough for me to recognize Le Tigre’s Deceptacon, which, by the way, was first used by Telus in one of those abhorrent sickeningly-cute-dancing-animal spots. Oh ladies. Why must you hurt me so?

Now, in no way am I against artists making money. You don’t have to be living in a box, eating macaroni and cheese, and trying to get a third cup out of that single teabag to earn my respect. And I (mostly) stood by Le Tigre when they moved from Mr. Lady to a major label, because they believed it would help them reach a broader audience, and who am I to tell them that’s not what they want? But seriously, how can a band that’s so critical of consumer culture and the way it preys on women think it’s okay to contribute to the “coolness” factor of the latest marketing trend, instead of trying to deconstruct it?

I remember an interview with Kathleen Hanna, the band’s frontwoman, that was published in Punk Planet many moons ago, where she talked about how Biore (remember those blackhead-removal strips that would end up taking off half your nose?) used Lillith Fair as a test-market for its product, and she was disgusted by how the festival suddenly seemed to be all about “group Biore bonding”. Well, Hanna, how many young ladies are now going to be humming “Who took the bomp from the bomp-a-lomp-a-lomp… dum de dum… clear skin is sexy skin!”?

Maybe as far as companies go Nivea isn’t as bad as, say, Unilever, but gosh, I’m beginning to feel like a hopeless ideologue for believing you can make art without having to embrace, if nothing else, the lesser of many evils. And the worst thing is, I still love this song and this album and think it’s among one of the most revolutionary musical objects of the last ten years. Does that make me a tool? (Well, okay, I know it doesn’t. But I feel pretty conflicted and hella betrayed. Again.)

What do you think?

Myself, I’m giving the last word to Mr. David Lynch.

Tags: in my opinion...

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