Friday, July 25, 2008

Praying to the Aliens



"Praying to the Aliens" is one of my favorite Gary Numan songs and the video for it is extremely unsettling. I'm not sure what this is supposed to be- is it primitive video art or some leftover MK-Ultra demo reel? It certainly fits the song, in a weird way. It also fits with my fears about the future. I recommend you not watch it if you have problems with epilepsy or any similar neurological issue.



Bowie not only name-checks the Templars in this video, he dresses up as one. Interesting reference for a song called "Loving the Alien," (a top 20 single in the UK) but Bowie would certainly know what he's doing, wouldn't he? Interesting to note he opens this very interesting video praying. One of his better tracks from a generally dismal period. Of the two, the Bowie lyrics are by far the most interesting, and the most troubling. Did Bowie believe that Numan hadn't fully explored the implications of his title, written five years earlier?


Watching them come and go
The Templars and the Saracens
They're traveling the holy land
Opening telegrams

Torture comes and torture goes
Knights who'd give you anything
They bear the cross of Coeur de Leon
Salvation for the mirror blind

But if you pray all your sins are hooked upon the sky
Pray and the heathen lie will disappear
Prayers they hide the saddest view
Believing the strangest things, loving the alien
And your prayers they break the sky in two
Believing the strangest things, loving the alien

Thinking of a different time
Palestine a modern problem
Bounty and your wealth in land
Terror in a best laid plan

Watching them come and go
Tomorrows and the yesterdays
Christians and the unbelievers
Hanging by the cross and nail



Given Bowie's prodigious knowledge of the occult, and his identification with aliens, it gives one pause to contemplate a song about a modern struggle between "Templars and Saracens" (complete with cryptic mentions of "terror" and torture") giving rise to a new alien religion. We've looked at powerful artists prophesying the future with their art before, and Bowie is among the most potent of our time.

When I was searching for the Gary Numan video an ad for this came up. I'm not sure praying to aliens is the type of association those guys are looking for, but who knows?

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