Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shock the Monkey

Peter Gabriel's 1982 "Shock the Monkey" video amazes me even today, more than a quarter-century after I first saw it on MTV. While the song's lyrics evoke the power of emotional trauma to call forth our pre-civilized instincts, director Brian Grant offers a more troubling interpretation of "Monkey": the collapse of civilized boundaries when academic research "goes native." Check out the video (pops in a new screen).

While the Peter Gabriel-Brian Grant version of "Shock the Monkey" is irreplaceable, there's one other mashup of the song that cannot be missed. Its curious value is contained in two little words: Don Ho.

(Photomontage by Andrew Wood)

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