Parisian stop-motion music video that violates anti-burqa law


How broad is the anti-burqa law? Would footage of a motorcycle race violate it, the riders wearing full-face helmets? A Mummenschanz show? Heavy prosthetic makeup?

Burn victims beware, you’ll have to go un-bandaged in public! Plus Parisian masquerade balls are just totally lame now. Let’s not even get started on The Phantom of the Opera.

Yo. Ex-Parisian, now in duel Paris/SF residence here. This guy and his video need to get over himself. Self-righteous self-promotion done by acting like a law that is ONLY being enforced on women of color is ridiculous. This was no brave act on his part. Watchmen saw yet another rich white tourist dude doing some lame attempt at art/joking, and dismissed it. He is in no way shape or form in danger by this law, nor is he paying critical attention what offence and harm the law has done on the women affected by it. At best he’s just flaunting his privilege. “White american dude doesn’t get arrested for breaking a law”. hardly news, more like a way of life.

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How about White American Dude draws attention to racist laws?


Hmm. To be honest I didn’t even think about the law, and wasn’t trying to make any kind of point. It was only when we shot the Eiffel Tower bit on day 3, and the cops walked past, that my Parisian friend told me what I was doing was technically illegal. No pretense of bravery or protest on my part, since I was unaware. My sympathies are with anyone affected by the law.

And for fuck’s sake, some of us white guys are not American. Hard to believe, I know, but there it is.


What, so providing you with the opportunity to discuss the law and its abuse counts for nothing?

I thought you Frenchies knew the point of art.

(Post clearly composed before reading any further, but whether a given point made by a work of art is intentional or not is beside the point : p)

Watching this forced my mind to imagine the soles of my feet burning with the heat of a thousand suns.

Face cover when mandated by law are exempt. Another exemption is carnival.

Though I wonder about ski masks in the mountains.

So how many exemptions are there?

Could it amount to ‘this law totally isn’t all about burqas, even though that’s the only thing it seems to apply to’?

OK, having calmed down, I will concede Margaret_Bombin’s point. This video is indeed a demonstration of privilege, even though I didn’t intend it to be one. I didn’t even think about the burqa law when I wrapped my face up, I was just going for the look I used when I made the dance up. But that’s where she’s right: privilege is not having to think about things that other people are forced to. If I’d been a Muslim woman in Paris, I couldn’t have done what I did without thinking about it.

I’d go further, actually: having the money to visit Paris is evidence of privilege; not everyone has the liberty to do that. Also, I was there because I’d gotten a grant to do an artist residency in rural France, and anyone who’s gotten a grant like that has to admit that’s a position of privilege, too. You get things like that from being able to write grant apps well, as much as anything else. Having the liberty to make art is a position of privilege as well, since so many people around the world have to struggle just to eat.

Separately, it’s interesting the framing effect the headline has on the clip. To me, it’s a clip about my dumb dancing in a pretty place. Even that draws attention away from the lyrics, which are, in this case, what I think the the song is about. When I submitted the clip I mentioned the accidental illegality as a kind of ‘ps, it’s funny that’; the point of the video was never to say anything about that law, and I don’t even mention it on the Vimeo site itself. Corey’s headline is snappier than the one I proposed, which didn’t mention burqas at all, but then frames the whole video differently. The song, which was the point of origin for the whole thing as far as I’m concerned, retreats even further into the distance, and commenters here talk only about how the video relates to the headline.

Finally, it’s still annoying the way anyone in America seems to assume anyone who might look like them on the internet is American. You might not notice this, but as a non-American I see it often enough to have the shits with it. It seems like cultural narcissism to me. Seriously guys, there’s a whole world out there. We are not all you.

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