Arcade Fire: “We Exist”

May 17, 2014

40 Responses to “Arcade Fire: “We Exist””

  1. Teal Deer Says:

    Betcha Camp Trans is going to skewer them for this.

    • Adrian Says:

      All over Tumblr, you bet. From “white gays are appropriating us” to “how dare they not have an actual trans women star in the video,” it goes on.

      • Lint Says:

        LOL I love it. There is no satisfying these people.

      • as Says:

        How do you know he wasn’t actually trans while doing this video? He’s donned ladyface, all he has to do is claim ‘he always knew and always has been’ and bam! he’s a woman. It’s so transmysogynistic (that’s a hard word to type, harder than typing what a hard word that is to type) to hear people question his potential transhood! Don’t possibly misgender someone! You’re literally killing her. Literally.

  2. Lint Says:

    I had to watch this with the sound off but I knew I was in for a treat when the video kicked off with the teary eyed tranny trope. Loved the absurd, over the top emoting as the guy put on women’s clothes and make up: oh the frustration and extreme self doubt! Why just putting on a shirt is a major act of courage for these brave souls.

    I thought the video was going to take an interesting turn when the MtT appeared to be street walking but then he popped into a bar. He’s demure and hesitant but captures the attention of ALL as he saunters in, a moment which is both deliciously narcissistic and self pitying.

    This is followed by a blatantly maudlin scene where our hero tears up at the sight of the old couple dancing. A dubious looking man lures our MtT to the dance floor. He accepts the invitation timidly and reluctantly dances with him. Things immediately take a turn for the worst as he is suddenly grabbed in a bear hug by a burly, bearded man and then pushed around while other men ominously look on. As the MtT dramatically falls to the floor and is savagely kicked, strobe lights come on and we find him alone. An interpretive dance starts.

    Leaping into a beam of light, our MtT dramatically spins and jumps. Arms out stretched, he writhes, he kicks, he whips his wig. As the camera comes in for a close up, he puts his hands up as if to shield himself from the light and then theatrically falls to the floor.

    The camera pans past him and we see four figures dancing in silhouette– it’s the attackers! Now clad in jean shorts and flannel shirts tied at the waist, they dance and shimmy in unison as our MtT comes to. He imitates the last segment of their dance. Appeased, the attackers file past him to form a kind of honor guard lining the entrance to a door way filled with light.

    As our MtT walks bravely past, he is transformed and transported: his dress is now a snow pure confection of while lace, his face a pink and white mask, and the location an enormous outdoor concert.

    Breathlessly, he makes his way to the stage and joins the band. Perched on an amplifier, he stands with arms out stretched to the crowd. Fade to black.

    What a gem, Gallus. Thank you for sharing.🙂

    • Cheval Says:

      I enjoyed how he started ‘girly’ acting by trying on several (female ?) shirts and throwing them away like actresses do in movies.

      I found some time ago a not-so-tender criticism from a transwoman of Raymond’s infamous book in which he said “Of course, men who start transitioning act like the biggest shitload of stereotypes, but then they learn how to mimic better and they get shaped into femininity by society”… Which is waaaay more honest than today’s discourses of “whoever says he is a woman, is one”.

      • Lint Says:

        Yes Cheval, very dramatic! I personally couldn’t decide weather it was aping women or showing how intense and difficult it is for a MtT to get dressed (since you know they take these things much more seriously than we do). Maybe a little of both.

      • Bev Jo Says:

        I met a trannie who told me how it was the Lesbian teacher and students in his women’s studies class who taught him how to look like a Lesbian (as if, with his huge brow ridges and jaw) because he just was looking like a drag queen. Nothing natural about any part of these men. He’d left his wife and kids to have access to Lesbians. He also had his way paid to fly from across the world to the “Gay and Lesbian conference,” which would have been thousands, while local poor Lesbians who couldn’t pay the $200 admission (about twenty years ago) weren’t allowed in.

    • neme Says:

      The head shaving and posturing in front of the mirror reads like a reference to the “Are you talking to me?” scene in Taxi Driver. Right before Robert DeNiro goes off to murder people.

      I love the Dancing Bears. And even the awkward Moosie Dance. Because I don’t see the Moosie as a woman, but a very confused and awkward boy who, minus tumblr, might grow out of this. As long as he doesn’t kill someone first… and wind up the belle of the ball in a men’s prison. But of course the Dancing Bears – gender-non-conforming gay men – are inferior to autogynephiles and should, after teaching the autogynephile how to survive, be relegated to backup dancers to the real star of the show. Even though they’re better dancers and far more comfortable with themselves. Because being a happy, gender-non-conforming man with self-respect is of course not rock-star material. Narcissism and mental illness is what makes you a rock star.

      When the twitchy protagonist heads to the stage, I’m worried he’s headed there to murder people (“You talkin’ to me?”). He looks more murderous than happy.

      Then the peak of snowflake specialness: just putting on a dress and pink makeup makes you the star of the show! The worship! The glory! You don’t have to accomplish anything in the world! Just declare your mental delusion and be a cock in a frock and you are more important than the musicians, the good dancers and artists. Because my god you put a frock on!

      This would actually be kind of cool if everyone else read it as a dude in a dress, refusing to conform to gender roles. And if, you know, there was some mention of how putting on a padded bra is offensive and women put up with this shit all the time and it has nothing to do with what we’re wearing. But no. Now we have to consider him a woman. And don’t you dare misgender him on YouTube! Because in snowflake special land all it takes to be a woman is a mirror, a mental health crisis and a padded bra. Oh, and a tumblr account. Rock on.

  3. coelacanth Says:

    I was disappointed by this because I like the Montreal band Arcade Fire who said that this song was about a young gay man coming out to his father — the director of the video either dropped acid or decided that gay and trans are the same thing because this video has nothing to do with male homosexuals. Who or what this flummoxing interpretive-dance lurching moose is supposed to be is unclear.

    Another piece of evidence that the new young generation does not distinguish between homosexuals and trans genders — they are the same thing to the young because trans have brainwashed them — like in videos like this — to believe this lie. Just because two groups of people are beaten up by right wing nazis does not make those two groups the same thing!

  4. MainelyButch Says:

    Cool video…and the comment by Lint giving the play-by-play interpretation. Interesting for sure! 🙂

    • Lint Says:

      Thanks MainelyButch 🙂

      As I was typing it all out I couldn’t believe what was writing. It’s so absurd!

  5. Bev Jo Says:

    Oh the drama. Did the bar scene remind anyone of the Jody Foster movie, The Accused, where the woman is gang-raped in bar? Women are still drugged and raped in bars. By men. Again, how many men posing as women have raped and otherwise assaulted girls and women?

    This made me realize more than I have in a while, how the work of Lesbian Feminists help the men claiming female identity to have the support to pretend to be oppressed, with an entire culture they could just strut into.

    As he put on the bra, I could only remember how I hate bras, how I was harassed by my father as well as girls at school into wearing one, and later, as a teenager, at a job where I was stared at and then told I had to wear one. How brave for men to put on a symbol of our oppression. All they crave is what are symbols of our oppression.

    And then I remembered how the very privileged and entitled middle class hippie male neighbor, Arthur, divorced from his wife and kids, playing his very loud male music late at night without bothering to close his windows and doors, not caring who he woke, walking around safe from the attacks women risk if they go outside in our neighborhood…..

    At least we didn’t have to see his arrogance in our pathetic dwindling Lesbian spaces… and then one night at midnight, he’s twirling around on a street corner in a dress. All six feet plus of him, much like the prick in the video, thinking he was so brave….

    And soon, this very male entitled man, now calling himself Ashley, did indeed show up in our Lesbian spaces, in his makeup and dresses….

    Last week I saw him in full male regalia again, working at Whole Foods. Not sure if being a man at work is so privileged that he isn’t going to give that up, or if he’s dropped the charade.

    Can’t we just be away from them, sometimes, somewhere?

    • extarget Says:

      The worst neighbor I’ve ever had is a TG. Male when he moved into the complex, he became a monster after his sex reassignment. Loud music, men coming and going at all hours of the night. When I asked him nicely to keep it down, he got defensive and implied I was discriminating against him. Then when security was called to shut down one of his parties at 1 am, he assumed it was me and yelled and threatened me outside my front door.

      I got little help from the HOA in dealing with this creep. Apparently they are afraid of being sued because transgenders are a protected species in my state.

      I’ve been around the block quite a few times and have never seen rage like that. I get the sense he has an intense hatred for women and now since he became one he thinks he can act on it. I was a live and let live person before this experience but now I find it disturbing that unstable individuals such as my neighbor are given free rein because of their TG status.

      Needless to say I’m pretty turned off when I see them being glorified in the media.

  6. m Says:

    1. men are fugly
    2. i hate them

    • morag99 Says:

      Misandry in this context is a brutal, violent act of misgendering. Please revise your statement to reflect the lived identity of those whom you hate. And do it NOW, so that they can then call you a transmisogynist. Or, just a “misogynist” for short. Because negative feelings toward men has now been redefined as woman-hating. It may, in fact, be the only kind of woman-hating left in the world. All the rest is just stuff and fluff.

      • Teal Deer Says:

        Very true. Women don’t experience hate and discrimination anymore, due to our cis privilege.

      • m Says:

        just as only “rape” of men/mtf is an act of recognized terror/violence, b/c the intended use of female bodies is rape. few are outraged when a woman or girl is raped unless she already belongs to a man (husband/daddy), and then it’s just sympathy for him that his property got violated and he is now associated w/ her.

      • Lint Says:

        Indeed. I would add to that MtTs are the most oppressed group and therefore the only group whose oppression is worth talking about.

  7. GallusMag Says:

    Dear Men, including the transgender variety:

    We are aware that you exist.

    • morag99 Says:

      Aw, it’s harder for boys, Gallus. They are prone to existential crises. They can never really be sure if their minds, bodies, the world, and other humans are all real and stuff. They’ve written lots of books about it, but, alas, there’s still no definitive answer.

      Push-up bras and stilettos help them to have existy feelings, ’cause other people look. And a blonde wig can bring on the most exquisite, most existiest feelings. But, even then, they are not quite sure.

      They should read your blog. It’s like a mirror. Then they might feel more certain that they are, indeed, real. Hey, fellas: we see you!

      • Cheval Says:

        If de Beauvoir taught me something, it’s that women get stuck into “immanence” (a space where they only get to reproduce and maintain what exists) while men get to go beyond that and actually exist : they get to create, to go beyond the limits. Obviously, a woman who doesn’t get to exist won’t have an existential crisis, she’ll have an awakening, a coming to power or a realization of how power is refused to her.

      • miriamafloat Says:

        True, true. Perhaps the entire reason for the oppression of women is simply so that we can have a captive audience, people who are forced to acknowledge our existence, and give us the illusion of worth. Thank you, Gallus, bouncer of false claims and delusion, that I might read this blog as a mirror of my own male insanity, and try to curb my insatiable need to sacrifice reality in favor of ‘existy’ feelings🙂

        Seriously, though, this blog has helped me a lot. I wish more of my existy-challenged kin read this with an open mind.

  8. Guls Says:

    When I watched the clip for the first time I didn’t quite get what it was trying to say. Even having Googled band comments about it being representing a gay man’s journey it still reads ambiguously to me: had Garfield emerged from the ‘love tunnel’ as a man again, rather than a female-impersonator it might have been clearer; though I guess that wouldn’t have had the same on-stage impact at Coachella.

    The gay male fascination with drag continues to elude me; the notion that drag is an affront to MtF’s before women all the more so. It’s surely no coincidence that the penetration – pardon the pun – of openly male homosexual voices (often cleaving to camp, libertine, misogynistic male stereotypes) into mainstream media has opened the door to more aggressive transactivism. As coelacanth says (above) the ‘G’ and the ‘T’ are inexorably linked in much public perception.

    On a lighter note, great song – The Arcade Fire have really come of age with this album. Not terribly original – if anything, less so than ever – butt really catchy, memorable songs.

    • BadDyke Says:

      “The gay male fascination with drag continues to elude me; the notion that drag is an affront to MtF’s before women all the more so.”

      Whilst not getting the first one either, I think WHY M2T get so upset is easy…………………..
      Okay, I might not like drag, but at least I can easily spot a gay man in drag. Insulting perhaps but not a direct threat.

      Which is WHY M2T so desperately want to suppress it — because they want to keep their magic claim that they CAN’T be spotted, and that they are TOTALLY different to a gay man in drag (or even just a straight bloke in a dress), because of their magical inner female essence that we could so easily detect if we weren’t so transphobic and blind………

      And it’s no affront to us because they don’t give a flying fuck about women (except when we dare to disagree).

  9. redhester Says:

    the video is a vile trash object of political propaganda. disgusting and callous. male violence is so LOLZ and entertaining. men are fascinated by their own depravity and seem fixated by watching themselves rape/kill/murder/destroy.

    MEANWHILE on planet earth, *actual women* are being “men’ed” (my new term for male violence against women, to collect all the many acts of male cruelty into one word that keeps the focus on the agent: MEN). men can’t stand it when the fuckmeat/breeder/servant class of folk mirror their own gross shit back at them.

    also, @morag99, i giggled at your use of “exist” and how you stretched it across your vast mind to fit the truth. it’s fascinating how us women hack language to make it fit our lives. i am looking forward to doing more hacking/spinning and am always delighted to see such art from my sisters.

    i am so grateful to be a woman, among women. Gallus, thank you for all you do. (hugs)

  10. neme Says:

    Here’s my favorite way to watch it.

    1. Cue up the “We Exist” video, mute the sound, hit pause.
    2. Open another window and cue up this video:
    3. When the music on #2 starts to play, unpause #1.

    We’ve seen it all before.

    • Ashland Avenue Says:

      Ha! I see what you did there! Good one!

      • neme Says:

        Not that I’m implying anyone should, oh… I don’t know… edit the soundtrack of “Goodbye Horses” onto the video of “We Exist”… *ninja emoticon*

  11. Jane Says:

    Waaaaaahhhhhh! Laura Jane Grace isn’t happy with Arcade Fire’s gesture:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/laura-jane-grace-blasts-arcade-fire-over-we-exist-video-20140522

    No good deed goes unpunished with these whiny babies.

    • Teal Deer Says:

      Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a transwoman can…

    • anon male Says:

      But trans actors can’t play pre-transition parts because it’s like way too emotional!

      • neme Says:

        They might get triggered! And kill themselves! Hide the pills!

      • morag99 Says:

        Way. Way emotional. Like, it would be so so triggery. Yeah, and really … ugh, I just can’t. I can’t even … Wow, it would be really bad and that. Oh, you wouldn’t understand!! You with your matchy, TERFy genital!! Oh my god I hate you. Just get away from me you racist-fascist-trans-eradicator!! You make me feel all killy inside. Fuck you, you cuntly radfem!! I am a woman! And a way better one than some ugly cis bitch! I hate myself. You don’t think I exist. Why? Why? If you don’t put me in charge of feminism, something real bad is going to happen. I give up. Call my doctor. Just you wait. I’ll protest every word that comes out of your mouth. People will listen to ME. Oh, yeah, they will. I only have to screech, and they come running to make it all better. You’re, like, so done. Irrelevant, over, a dinosaur. Ha ha ha mmm wha ha heeee!!!! Stop trying to kill me! Meanie, bigot, Hitler. When you say no to me, it activates my PTSD symptoms, which require feminization surgery. OK, I’ll play the part. I need the money. But it’s gonna be MY way, you vile cis scum. Why can’t you be reasonable so we can discuss our differences? Let’s start with my existence.

      • farishcunning Says:

        ” Meanie, bigot, Hitler.”

        LOVE this–the transfer progressive litany of insults.

      • Adrian Says:

        You laugh (legitimately – I’m laughing too) but honestly there’s a problem in it.

        Supposedly trans roles (M2T, usually) must be played by trans M2T actors. But! If the role is about how the person doesn’t fit in and involves a lot of obvious non-passing, then oh, no, can’t possibly ask an M2T to take such a demeaning role.

        It’s as if the ideal is, there’s some role in a film, and it’s really, really femmy (wait, let me get more kleenex… ok we’re good, continue) and only halfway through, or even later, oh, my! what? That character is trans! But you’d totes never know! But hey, it’s played by a trans actor, so all is good with the world. You’d never know, though, if you met that actor on the street. Mmmmm hmmmm. Because trans women are women and you’d never know unless they tell you!

        But if there’s some role in a film and it looks like “oh, dude in a dress at nine o’ clock, did anyone tell him? No? Okay we all pretend it’s fine? Mmm hmm” then there’s a dilemma, because you don’t want some evil “cis” person usurping the role, but on the other hand, you don’t want any M2T outing themself in such a terrible role… oh wait! I found the answer! Don’t make such movies, because the whole idea of focusing on passing or admitting that anyone maybe senses something is “off” is transphobic! Okay then.

      • morag99 Says:

        Oh, my! That’s beautiful in black and white. Thanks!


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