Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Negative Review of the Very Poorly Executed "Japan Song" Video

So here's what I have to say about the slick new video ostensibly created to raise awareness and money to support the two young men who have been held in Japan for almost three years on drug charges.

See the video and read my reaction after the jump

(1) Where's the slick video to support Jonathan Pollard or Gilad Shalit? I say this not as someone who is convinced of Pollard's innocence (I'm not) but because I wish to point out that the claim that all Jews are responsible for each other is sometimes false; sometimes what it means is that I'm responsible for the Jews who play on my team, not yours. The types of Jews who are sitting around broken hearted about the two Japan prisoners, are in most cases not the same types of Jews who rally for Pollard or Shalit. There's nothing wrong with this, but its a fact often glossed over, and one that adds a note of irony to the song's chorus.

(2) This was not an inexpensive video to make. Let's say it cost $20,000. Was this the best communal use of $20,000? Does anyone think it will raise $20,000 at .99 cents per download, plus some Yahoo advertising fees? Does anyone think it will produce $20,000 worth of publicity, or wim $20,000 worth of support? Call me a cynic with cruel yet handsome eyes, but I say this video was made to promote a video-making business. Someone who cares about the boys in Japan writes out a check for $20,000 and donates it to their legal fund. Someone who wants to cash in on their suffering, and win some new video-making business on their backs makes a video like this.

(3) If I wanted "to raise support and awareness for the two young men" as the side matter claims, I would not have used a Yiddish song. Using a Yiddish song suggests that this is a cause that belongs to Yiddish speaking people only. But perhaps that's just me.

(4) The song's subtext is "The Japanese screwed our innocent co religionists" so what thematic point is served by showing Japanese people with their hands raised heavenward, a pose copied by the narrator, during the chorus about how Jews are responsible for each other. Makes no sense at all, and works only as a cheap joke.

(4) Starting at 6:17, for no apparent reason at all, we're treated to some tsunami footage. This is either:
  1. (a) lazy film-making (Hey! There was a tsunami! Let's add some footage!) 
  2. (b) lazy film-making in the service of a half-assed theological point, (Hey! I bet all those Japanese people were killed and impoverished because some other Japanese people treated two Jews as per the rules of their own legitimate judicial system. Even though the song makes no theological point, and the video to this point has taken no theological position lets add some footage!") or;
  3. (c) a cynical ploy to attract attention to the video ("Hey! If we do something vulgar, with deniability, people will talk about our video and our fame as film-makers will spread!) 
Which do you think it was? I vote (c).

(5) Was Deveykus paid a royalty for the use of their song?

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