Saturday, January 19, 2013

Artistic Analysis: Shop-Vac

(Content warning: briefly refers to drunkenness)


One of the most amazing, artistically perfect, masterfully miserable pieces of art I've seen in a long time.

I think the thing that amazes me most about this video is that it is built on a great big artistic contradiction.  The music is exuberantly joyous- the animation is retro, classy, and somehow inherently American- and yet the lyrics are simply depressing.

Even more impressive?  The contradiction fits.  It's perfect.

Whether the artists behind this project did it on purpose or not, I don't know, but in three and a half minutes we are presented with a poignant and masterful lesson in the emptiness of the modern American dream- where everything is trendy and fast-paced and upbeat and fun and fake and shallow and empty. 

We walk around pretending that we're accomplishing stuff and that we have friends and are in relationships that actually matter- but it's all a farce.  The American dream is a nightmare- the kind of nightmare where everything you ever wanted is always just outside of your reach.

Because, at the end of it all, all that stuff we did adds up to a colossal zero.  No meaning, no purpose, no legacy.

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."

Talk about sad.

Of course, for the Christian, that isn't the end of the story- it's the beginning.  While the godless worldview paints us as a cosmic accident, the Christian worldview gives us the opportunity to participate in eternity- to labor for a Kingdom that will never pass away.  We are not left to dance through a masquerade-ball life.  We have a race to run- a battle to fight- a King to serve and a Kingdom to build.

We don't have to live a great and terrible make-believe.

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