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The Ghost Inside Christina Hendricks gets her to sell her limbs for tollbooth money.

OK, so this video may have come out last month, but I swear I just noticed it for the first time today (and a quick office poll confirmed that I am not alone). How did this slip under the radar? The first Broken Bells music video and it features Christina Hendricks in a "Ray Bradbury does The Valley of the Dolls" plot that has her selling her android body parts in the hopes of meeting a man on a resort planet? There's a lot going on here.

I know I might be influenced by the song (I'm a James Mercer fan and I love this Broken Bells record) but I am inclined to say that a feminist critique is lurking somewhere in this video. Could it be that Director Jacob Gentry is attempting to comment on the ways in which beautiful women are often asked to trade their bodies for success? It's great that Christina Hendricks plays the protagonist here too, because she is a prime example of a celebrity who is frequently reduced to a collection of sexualized body parts. I wonder how she felt playing the role of a cautionary tale here, where the woman who literally sells her body to realize a dream (one that mainly involves a relationship with a man—hello feminist critique) arrives too late and ends up sad and alone?

Interesting! What do you make of this?

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Comments

9 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Wow, that was really something.

I had never heard the song before and am looking at the lyrics right now -- feminist indeed! I'm interested in the fact that the protagonist in the lyrics seems to have been in an unhealthy, albeit conventional, relationship for some time ("She got no future, just a love to endure [...] 'Too late to leave him' are the songs in her car") while Hendricks' character is sacrificing in the hopes of even having what she perceives as an ideal life/relationship. Also, I'm sure there's a lot to be said about the way her body parts represent "the ghost inside," and the way that she perceives her payments to get to paradise as a future risk to this "ideal" life...

On a totally non-analytical note...is the astronaut on the right starting at around 4:00 Edward Norton?! I haven't found anything via search engines, but it sure does look like him...

Mercer!

Thanks for your comments! I definitely agree that Hendricks' severed body parts represent "the ghost inside" in some way, especially when you consider the song lyrics.

As far as the astronaut goes, I'm pretty sure they're the members of Broken Bells. The one on the right is James Mercer and the one on the left is Danger Mouse (I think). More info here: http://stereogum.com/394651/broken-bells-ghost-inside-video-feat-christi... Mercer is a total Norton lookalike with that beard!

Kelsey Wallace, Web Editor

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Firefly parallel

I'm outing myself as a serious nerd here, but all I could think of when I watched that video was Christina's role in Firefly (the first time I saw her work, I think) as Saffron, the sexy con-artist.

(A clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2NulVxQr8A)

I'm sure there are numerous discussions to be had about her feminism (or lack thereof?) on Firefly, but I just had to point that out!

Thank you! I'm glad i'm not

Thank you! I'm glad i'm not the only person who immediately thought of Firefly!

FIREFLY!!!!!!!!!!!

The first thing that came to mind when watching this was.... 'Yo-saff-bridge'... Firefly. I literally cannot watch it without seeing that classic scene where she locks Serenity into that net's path. As a Firefly fanatic... i of course love it. Almost like another episode... almost.

Ambivalence

I'm kind of struggling with this. In many ways it's a beautiful video (and I agree it's great that Hendricks is the star--there's also something to be said about disembodiment and cinematic language itself, right?--all those closeups of hands...), but I can't help feeling that the attempt at feminist critique is supported by ableist tropes, with the android plot device acting to obscure the fact that what we're all meant to be disturbed by is the thought of "Christina Hendricks without a hand / without legs" / etc. (And that logic almost starts to look like misogyny, a sort of reversed version of the stupid scene in Se7en where the female model has to choose between death and "living with a disfigured face," or whatever, and the fact that she chooses death is an indictment of HER that the movie totally endorses...is there a hint of a similar "serves her right" feeling at the end of this video?) But I might have to think about this some more.

Interesting critique!

JR,

I have to admit that the futuristic/android motif here kept me from from considering the ableist tropes that might be present. I haven't really thought about ableism as it relates to robots, but since this particular android is played by the very human Christina Hendricks it is certainly worth considering. I'm going to have to think about this some more as well!

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You sell yourself & in the

You sell yourself & in the end it's an empty dream. That's what I thought & I was relating it to show business, maybe cause I live in Hollywood.

And I totally thought of Firefly. Bring it back!!! :)

Watching Dreams Slip Away

It was so sad watching the dream she had been sold (Come be a star!) slip away as she mortgaged herself further and further, still hoping to achieve it. How similar to what the credit card companies and banks do to people today. It seems that after paying with arms and legs only to have lifetimes and dreams slip away Fortuna Repo reinstates her android parts when they repossess her spaceship leaving her stranded. There are so many other interesting meanings in the excellent comments above. For me it was questioning whether we should realize when we are chasing a dream we can never achieve.