Scariest Music Video … Ever
Meet Dennis Madalone. He loves America. Really, really loves America. Oh, and sad '80s haircuts. Watch and learn
- By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
I am, after all, here to enlighten.
I am here to bring joy and laughter and dark madness and slightly surreal mental gyrations of bitter reality, right along with the occasional link to truly shocking and brilliant items of interest, items that make you want to laugh and cry and scream and rend your flesh and douse your head in a giant vat of cheap vodka, all at the same time.
See, there’s patriotism, and there’s patriotism, and then there’s patriotism that’s meant be written with a capital P and a long flowing scripty font with little butterflies dotting the i’s and a big fat bullet hole where the o should be, and it’s all circled a thousand times with a bright red crayon that’s been licked to a smooth nub by aging members of, say, REO Speedwagon.
It’s the kind of patriotism where everything in its warped purview has been happily whitewashed with this rabid glaze of shuddering mediocrity and flag-waving dorkiness and desperate earnestness, where dead people become white floaty angels and manly firefighters literally walk in the clouds and overweight people give each other slow-motion hugs and children become innocent cherubs of light and the American flag becomes a giant beach towel and bad hair becomes, well, even worse hair.
So then. Meet Dennis Madalone. He is a singer. But not really. He is actually a stunt coordinator, working for the past 14 years on the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager” TV shows and he is apparently so deep into the nefarioous Trekkie thing he is even featured on a Star Trek trading card, which, of course, should tell you something right there.
Dennis has, for some reason, written a song. And made a music video to accompany it. This video, it is about America, an America that simply does not exist anywhere but in Dennis’ amazingly coiffed head, an America that is all about the aforementioned twice-baked patriotism and a heartrending love of country so syrupy and exaggerated it would make you gag if it weren’t so utterly perfect, so beautiful, so breathtaking in its, I don’t quite know what to call it. Genius? Simplicity? Harrowing vision of colon-flaming hell? Yes.
The song is called “America We Stand As One.” The video is making the rounds on the Internet right now, shooting from in-box to in-box like warped lightning because people are sending each other the link in a desperate mad rush of disbelief and saying oh my God have you seen this thing?
They are saying, stop whatever you are doing right now and click on this link right now as in immediately, please, and be enlightened as to the bizarre meta-saccharine joy that is Dennis Madalone’s America. You will never be the same again.
Watch the video yourself, if you dare. www.americawestandasone.com/video.html and please be careful of the thump as your jaw drops to the floor.
Stare in wonder at the silhouette shots wherein Dennis mouths the lyrics in exaggerated peroral contortions. Observe the extreme close-ups of Dennis’ face as he lip syncs so earnestly to the camera you think he’s about to pass a gallstone.
Watch as the aforementioned dead people walk in clouds and ghostly luminescent angels spring up from Dennis’s hair and beams of divine light blast Dennis straight in the heart and apparently give him the overwhelming desire to sing sing SING. And preen. And pose. And stroll wistfully.
And there are children, plenty of children, crowds of children, and Dennis even goes so far as to touch a few of them on the head, and when he does sparks immediately fly from their tiny innocent scalps and you are hereby instructed not to think creepy thoughts of pedophilia as you watch this because, well, Dennis is just too earnest for that sort of thing. You can just tell.
There Dennis is, thrusting out his chest as he belts out the “stand as wuah-hun” line, over and over.
There he is again on the beach, arms wide and clutching a U.S. flag doo-rag like a weapon, beckoning the soul of America to burst through his mighty rib cage, encased as it in a gold chain and a big bold all-American sports jersey with “USA” emblazoned across the front in giant block letters normally reserved for the sweatshirts of drunk German tourists visiting Disneyland for the first time.
There he is, holding a giant American flag while standing on a huge rocky outcropping by the ocean as the cool misty wind whips his long bitchin’ '80s tresses, and you can verily feel the nationalism surging through his tightly packed loins as the cameraman is standing back there thinking, oh my freaking God whatever happened to my career.
Is this video a hoax? A spoof? Surely, you think, this is a parody, this must be an SNL skit. You are at once frightened and thrilled and vaguely depressed to find out, it is not: It is very, very real – and stop calling me Shirley.
But then it hits me. As I watch Dennis cling to that giant flag on that rocky precipice of life, I realize, despite myself, despite all my better judgments and leanings and haircut preferences, I want to be Dennis Madalone.
Just for a moment. I want to live the naivete, swim in tepid pools of happy blissful ignorance, regrow my hair past my shoulders and love my country so blindly and unquestioningly that everyone and everything becomes sweet and sticky and warm, like giant mealworms of love. This is, I imagine, how a mental patient must feel.
But I can’t help it. I want to be him. I want to know that level of shockingly uninformed bliss, just for a minute. Hey, maybe I’ve been mistaken all these years. Maybe that really is America! Maybe it really is all about saccharine unity and love and shiny happy children and you, looking like there is nothing more important in life than trying to look like Peter Frampton’s brunet body double or the singer for small-time NWOBHM heavy-metal gods Saxon, circa 1981.
But then I come to. Because I know, deep down, that Dennis’ heartfelt vision has nothing to do with the real America most of us know.
America, after all, is about guns. And money. And Wal-Mart and fast food and Christmas and expensive coffee drinks and good porn and long walks in nature and power-mad governments and wacky gluttony and scoring cheap DVDs on eBay and rampant obesity and cats and oil and SUVs and cube-farm hell and God and iPods and candy.
Or, more specifically, America is all about the delicious unchecked freedom to use your paltry sums of money to score cheap porn DVDs and expensive coffee drinks and buy an obese SUV and load it up with Wal-Mart Christmas candy so as to escape your cube-farm hell and go on long nature walks with your iPod in order to shoot cats.
See, it is far too easy to mock. It is far too easy to deride and scoff and try to suppress the gag reflex as you sit all the way through Dennis’ bizarre and brilliant music video, so unerringly cheesy, so astoundingly saccharine it is, and you are forced to wonder, oh my God, who is buying this, who is enjoying this, who is believing this to be good and decent and singable art and is it the same people who enjoy Celine Dion and boxed wine and Ford Festivas and “Everybody Loves Raymond”? You already know the answer.
And then it hits you. Then you are forced to realize the terrible, heartbreaking truth that perhaps the only thing that might actually unify this fine nation in the way Dennis’ uncanny video envisions, the only issue over which America really and truly stands at one, is the overarching notion that Dennis Madalone must be stopped. Or maybe deified. Take your pick.
curt DR Oc