What with MTV’s ever-increasing population of scantily clad teen girls preening ’n’ pouting like a pedophile’s wet dream, criticizing the network for exploiting young women ain’t the subtlest of observations. Even still, few make such pointed, powerful critiques of this trend as filmmaker Sadie Benning, with her scathingly hilarious video for Julie Ruin’s (aka Kathleen Hanna’s) acerbic “Aerobicide.” With faux news footage, Benning mocks marketing stars who package “Girl Power!” as a purchasable commodity, which leaves MTV — itself a virtual nonstop ad for Britney, Christina, the Spice Girls, etc. — with consumer-culture blood on its hands.
So while “Aerobicide” may be the most memorable music video in years, don’t expect it on the network’s daily rotation. In fact, don’t expect MTV to play any of the other 19 punk music videos and film shorts on Kill Rock Stars’ Video Fanzine II. Though it’s smarter than offerings on the boob tube’s music channels, this compilation would be considered too artsy, too difficult for a mass audience. Sure, there are “big names” — notably Elliott Smith — but the real highlights include Slumber Party’s slow-mo dreaming and the post-Go-Gos romp of Sleater-Kinney’s “You’re No Rock ’n’ Roll Fun.”
All in all, despite a few expected duds, this worthwhile compilation merits at least a handful of viewings. Which is five more than those teenybopper strip clips on MTV deserve.
E-mail Jimmy Draper at firstname.lastname@example.org.