For Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is only once all mankind has heard God’s message that the day of judgement will come. Only then, once everybody has had opportunity to repent, and the chance of enlightenment, will the wheat be separated from the chaff in the second coming of Christ. They believe one thing, I believe another, but that won’t keep them from knocking on a bank holiday…
Social media, having shrunk the world into a pistachio shell, may be a little quicker than going door to door. Perhaps the Jehovah’s should consider Psy’s “Gangnam Style” a blueprint for a new, shiny, 21st Century Apocalypse. Speaking of which, Psy’s second single (and music video) “Gentleman” has been released.
Gentleman is a revelation for Psy. Without the need to pander to the public’s fickle attention span, he has taken the opportunity to pass comment on society. Here, he does not disappoint. In a verbose deconstruction of modernity, comparable to Orwell’s Animal Farm, Psy brings home the implications of nihilism on good taste. After three minutes and fifty-eight seconds, the relative nature of truth is exposed — musically, Psy’s offering makes a shit, on a record player made out of shit, with a broken needle, sound great.
But it is through Psy’s exposure of implicit social norms, the very fabric of society, that the piece should be analysed — as conceptual art. Psy begins his video with a scene reminiscent of Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, while walking down the road with his droogs he raises a finger to the man by knocking over a traffic cone. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” Certainly these words emanate from between the lines of the refrain “I’m a, I’m a, I’m a, Mother-Father-Gentleman.”
Later in the video, Psy is seen questioning the modern obsession with sanitation as he prevents a man from getting to his hotel room in order to relieve himself, by pressing all the many buttons in the elevator. He then “cupcakes” someone at a desk. The sterilizing quality of modernity is brought to bear; truly Psy has created a work of art that defies the gallery. But this is a metaphor on the grandest scale. We all bear witness to the otherness of good taste.
In the face of this anti-authoritarianism, the South Korean government has had no choice but to ban the video. Such is the burden of inspiration. Psy now joins the list of visionaries caught before their time, a list including Orwell, Mandela, Burgess and the Jehovah’s themselves. In Psy’s words, “My only goal was to avoid being called a one-hit wonder.” — truly a Christ-like sentiment.