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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Column: ‘Techno’ video falls a bit short

    Diplo, LNY TNZ, Yellow Claw and Waka Flocka Flame just released a new music video that I can only describe as the opening scene of a cautionary Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode overlaid with some electro house (or hardstyle, I can never be sure) music.

    Aptly titled “Techno,” the video depicts a pseudo-Breaking Bad plot line in the midst of a kind-of-obvious and very Swedish homage to the party drug scene. “Techno” is clearly intended by its creators to state some social message about the danger of drug use linked with the techno music scene. But the irony of it is killing me.

    The video brings us a sub-artsy look into the world of electro house music, raves and the drugs that so often are associated with them. The story surrounds a father and daughter dealing with the fallout from the daughter’s admission to university. The father is a farmer who somehow rapidly gets into the drug-cooking field á la Walter White in order to pay for his daughter’s new life.

    The duo embark on a journey to what looks like Ikea to furnish her new high-rise apartment life. The daughter, spoiler alert, then becomes popular somehow — being an attractive farm girl can do that to you — and almost immediately dies after going to a warehouse party.

    Her father rushes to the hospital and seems confused that his now-hip daughter has died of the drugs he was making to fund her schooling, and sadness ensues as the song ends.

    The artists should be lauded for bringing to light a serious issue. According to data compiled by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, emergency room visits in the U.S. involving MDMA jumped 123 percent between 2004 and 2009, the most recent year on record. And that’s just ecstasy — those numbers don’t account for other popular party drugs like GHB, ketamine or acid.

    But while I think this video could have been an exemplary example of artists and celebrities using their fame to bring attention to a topic of concern, it feels a little bit like the stoners at your school teaching the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

    In my own experience, I have seen a shockingly high concentration of D.A.R.E. T-shirts being worn ironically by college students at parties. The video for “Techno” presents the same kind of problem.

    It’s a cool video and a decent song. But it’s also gimmicky, hypocritical and ultimately doesn’t teach us anything that we don’t already know about rampant party drug use on college campuses and electronic music concerts around the world. Diplo, LNY TNZ, Yellow Claw and Waka Flocka Flame are making money off of criticizing a culture in which they are complicit. Diplo may have recently banned kandi, homemade jewelry used to facilitate the selling of drugs, from his concerts, but he only did so a week after two drug-related deaths at his appearance at the Mad Decent Block Party in Maryland.

    And Waka Flocka Flame just offered someone $50,000 to roll his blunts for him.

    So, while I’m willing to give the artists the benefit of the doubt in assuming they had the best of intentions when they filmed “Techno,” I’d like to see them try a little harder to prove their commitment to reducing drug use among their audience.

    And I’m definitely worried about the message getting lost when this song is played at college parties by the same people wearing D.A.R.E. shirts.

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    Nick Havey is a junior studying physiology and Spanish. Follow him on Twitter.

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