- Member: Rorschach
- Studio: Shoestring Films Inc.
- Title: Den of Robbers
- Premiered: 2003-07-05
- Prince Thieves In The Temple
To be completely honest, I haven't the foggiest what "Graffiti Bridge" was about and by the looks of the warning labels on the Soundtrack CD, I probably don't want to know. As someone said of Prince once, whether he's "Prince" or "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince," he's the king of sleaze. Also, for all of the trashy women he hires to perform in his videos, he looks as queer as a three-dollar bill. Still, this song "Thieves In The Temple" I've chosen for this video struck me as very odd coming from him because of its religious overtones. Absent any footage from the film, it could be interpreted any number of ways. This video is one of my interpretations.
I've seen the series Scryed described several ways. Some have compared it to the X-men. I suppose this comparison fits, as long as you imagine what the X-men would be like if Senator Kelly (the one from the comic books, not the movie) were in charge of the X-men instead of Professor Xavier, and the whole group worked for an oppressive government, with Wolverine leading a loosely organized rebellion. Scryed also has a level of moral complexity found only rarely in Marvel's comics. (Put simply, the mindless hordes of rabid anti-mutant protesters portrayed in all of the comics about X-men are blatant stereotypes; hate groups, like every other kind of group, are made up of complex individuals who all have their own agendas and reasons for joining.)
I've also seen it stated that Scryed is so full of subtitles that it isn't very easy to make a music video from it. Not true; I did have to remove a subtitle here and there, but I was actually having trouble cutting the scenes down enough to fit them into my video. Letting go of any of the footage was a wrench, as it was all so beautifully done. It's true, however, that there's not a lot of time for calm introspection or philosophizing in the series. Kazuma is especially resistant to stopping and thinking, though he does argue some political notions in one scene. His opponent Ryohou, meanwhile, tends--unfortunately for everyone--to do what he's told without asking very many inconvenient questions.
My way of describing Scryed is that, in spite of some of the weird-looking guys working for HOLY (perhaps the writers were hinting that HOLY is perverse?) it's a very manly series. There's a little romance here and there, and even a little comedy, but it's mainly a political story. In fact, it reads so much like a libertarian screed against socialism that I would be surprised if it hasn't already been banned as subversive literature in the "People's Republic of China." Certainly, its portrayal of an ignorant government that insists on intruding into every aspect of everyone's life is a fitting allegory for any commie government that ever existed, and it even gets in a well-deserved jab at the godless UN, hinting that UN "aid" may have been what caused the mainland government of Japan in this futuristic tale to become so oppressive. If there's anything comparable to Radio Free Europe in the East, they should be piping this series in day and night!
Philosophically, the series appears to be based mainly on the wisdom of Heraclitus, who maintained that the desire to end war was foolish, because if war and striving ended, the world would cease to exist! The way alter users are constantly reshaping matter in this story also tends to be in agreement with his general claim that all is change, and nothing can remain as it is for very long. As if to drive home the claim, there are constant portrayals of spiral twists in landscape and architecture and the blows from Kazuma's fist.; in ancient minds, the spiral represented storms and violence. (This, incidentally, is why the Nazis had a swastika on their flag: it represtented Wotan, the Norse god of storms and mayhem, a very fitting symbol for the disaster they were preparing to bring to the world.)
This view stands very much in contrast with the modern feminized notions that war and violence are somehow inherently evil, and I say it's still rather credible: in my observation, those who scream the most against war are merely pushing the violence and the bloodshed out of sight, not eradicating it. One of the modern horrors Scryed portrays so accurately is the sinister ends such concealment serves, and the need for open dealings. The peacenik socialism we see in the streets these days will only encourage governments to drop their wars against each other so that they can war against their own citizens. I do not agree completely with Heraclitus, for I have seen peace and prosperity without war, but it is true that war is often necessary to secure the liberties which lead to this condition. As the Romans achieved a Pax Romana at the point of a sword, so too shall we achieve the Pax Americana at the point of a gun, if at all. Anger, hatred, and violence still have their place in history, and God Himself was never against them. (See the Old Testament and some of the Apostle Paul's admonitons concerning the government in Romans, for example.) If we are to love the right, we must hate the wrong.
I have attempted to capture some of these themes, therefore, in this video. As mentioned, Prince makes a lot of religious references in this song. The reference in the title appears to be to Jeremiah's stern condemnation of those who thought God would protect them because He would never let His own temple be sacked: "'Has my temple, then, become a den of thieves to you? But I have been watching!' declares the Lord." Jesus would later quote this when driving the money-changers out of the temple with a whip in his time. (He was no pansy either!) In our more cynical and secular age, economic and industrial "temples" have generally come to overshadow the old cathedrals on the landscape, but they are still filled with thieves, and like the indulgence-hawkers of the Middle Ages, those thieves still tend to promise quick and easy utopian solutions which, on closer scrutiny, prove to be worse than the problems they were intended to solve.
Without further ado, therefore, I present to you my efforts to this end. I'm not much into the use of digital effects, but I decided an effect I recently perfected would fit rather well with the end of this song, so please watch it to the end before you send me any comments saying "it's broken!" That effect is, I assure you, very, very deliberate. Enjoy!