So Madonna taught me about controversy back in 1989 with her Like a Prayer video. I'm pretty sure I've blogged before about how I misunderstood the word, controversial. Not knowing what it meant, I bragged to my mother that Madonna's most controversial video ever was about to have its world premier on MTV. I thought she'd be impressed, but Susie was not impressed--not amused at all. (Not being Catholic and only 13 at the time, I didn't get the iconography. And coming from the rural South where I've had two friends who have had burning crosses lit in their yards on two occasions, I did not see anything extreme about that scene either.)
Well it seems almost everyone is pushing for controversy these days: it sells. Rihanna's video for S&M (sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me) just came out this morning. I never really paid attention to the song, even though it is the first song on the Loud album. After reading that the video had been banned in 11 countries, I immediately went to youtube (who make you confirm that you're at least 18 years old before viewing the video) to watch it. It's very colourful and bright... it's a lot of bondage scene and blow-up dolls.
Speaking of controversy, 13 civil society activists in Uganda were arrested recently for distributing a statement condemning the 20 million shillings that were put into the bank accounts of 325 Members of Parliament. Through their campaign (called "Return Our Money"), they wanted others to take a stand against what they see as corruption and demand that the Members of Parliament return the 20 million shillings--which many people in the country and elsewhere view as a bribe.
Unfortunately, others (including some others who have power) saw their campaign as disruptive to the political campaigning and, therefore, illegal. However, Human Rights Watch don't see it that way: Ugandan police and Resident District Commissioners are intimidating civil society activists seeking to expose and condemn allegations of government corruption.