SIA’s “Elastic Heart” just Lolita in a Bird Cage
People who claim not to see pedo overtones in SIA’s “Elastic Heart” music video are fucking liars. Sorry.
*Lolita summary courtesy of Wikipedia,
which makes it all a total lie, right?*
Humbert Humbert, a literary scholar in Europe, describes the premature death of his childhood sweetheart, Annabel Leigh. He suggests his unconsummated love for her caused his adult obsession with girl-children between the ages 9 and 14, or “nymphets”.
Humbert fantasizes about meeting and eventually fondling the 12-year-old daughter of an impoverished family from whom he agreed to rent, buying an expensive bag of toys before meeting the McCoo family, only to find that their house burned down. A “Mrs. Haze” offers to accommodate him instead, and Humbert visits her residence reluctantly out of politeness, as “the only reason for [his] coming at all [to Ramsdale] had vanished.” He plans to decline the widowed Charlotte Haze’s offer until she at last shows him her garden and 12-year-old daughter, Dolores (born 1935), known as “Lo”, “Lola”, or “Dolly”. He immediately becomes infatuated with her, citing her uncanny resemblance to Annabel,
and agrees to stay at Charlotte’s house only to be near her daughter, whom he privately nicknames “Lolita”.
While “Lolita” is away at summer camp, Charlotte, who has fallen in love with Humbert, tells him in a letter that he must either marry her or move out to avoid embarrassment. Humbert agrees to marry Charlotte in order to continue living near Lolita. Charlotte is oblivious to Humbert’s distaste for her, as well as his lust for Lolita, until she reads his diary. Learning of Humbert’s true feelings and intentions, Charlotte plans to flee and send Lolita to a reform school, threatening to expose Humbert as a “detestable, abominable, criminal fraud.” However, fate intervenes on Humbert’s behalf: as she runs across the street in a state of shock, Charlotte is struck and killed by a passing car.
Humbert retrieves Lolita from camp, pretending that Charlotte has been hospitalized. Rather than return to Charlotte’s home, Humbert takes Lolita to a hotel. Humbert plans to use one sleeping pill (out of a total of forty) per night to drug Lolita and perform sexual intercourse on her while she is unconscious.
He tries molesting Lolita but finds that the sedative is too mild.
Instead, she initiates sex the next morning, after explaining that she had slept with a boy at camp. Later, Humbert reveals to Lolita that Charlotte is dead, giving her no choice but to accept her stepfather into her life on his terms or face foster care.
Lolita and Humbert drive around the country, moving from state to state and motel to motel. In order to keep Lolita from going to the police, Humbert tells her if he is arrested, she will become a ward of the state and lose all her clothes and belongings. He also bribes her with food, money, or permission to attend fun events for sexual favors, though he knows that she does not reciprocate his love and shares none of his interests. After a year touring North America, the two settle down in another New England town, where Lolita is enrolled in a girls’ school. Humbert becomes very possessive and strict, forbidding Lolita to take part in after-school activities or to associate with boys. Most of the townspeople see this as the action of a loving and concerned, though old-fashioned, parent.
Lolita begs to be allowed to take part in the school play, and Humbert reluctantly grants his permission in exchange for more sexual favors. The play is written by Mr. Clare Quilty. Quilty is said to have attended a rehearsal and been impressed by Lolita’s acting.
Just before opening night, Lolita and Humbert have a ferocious argument, and Lolita runs away while Humbert assures the neighbors everything is fine.
He searches frantically until he finds her exiting a phone booth.
She is in a bright, pleasant mood, saying that she tried to reach him at home and that a “great decision has been made.”
They go to buy drinks and Lolita tells Humbert she doesn’t care about the play and wants to resume their travels.
As Lolita and Humbert drive westward again, Humbert gets the feeling that their car is being tailed and becomes increasingly paranoid, suspecting that Lolita is conspiring with others in order to escape. She falls ill and must convalesce in a hospital while Humbert stays in a nearby motel, without Lolita for the first time in years. One night, Lolita disappears from the hospital, with the staff telling Humbert that her “uncle” checked her out. Humbert embarks upon a frantic search to find Lolita and her abductor, but eventually gives up. During this time, Humbert has a two-year relationship (ending in 1952) with a woman named Rita, whom he describes as a “kind, good sport” who “solemnly approve[s]” of his search for Lolita, while knowing none of the details.
Humbert receives a letter from Lolita, now 17, who tells him that she is married (making her name now Dolores Schiller), pregnant, and in desperate need of money. Humbert goes to see Lolita, giving her money in exchange for the name of the man who abducted her.
She reveals the truth: Clare Quilty checked her out of the hospital after following them throughout their travels and tried to make her star in one of his pornographic films. When she refused, he threw her out. She worked odd jobs before meeting and marrying her husband, who knows nothing about her past.
Humbert asks Lolita to leave her husband, Dick, and live with him, which she refuses to do. He gives her a large sum of money anyway.
As he leaves, she smiles and shouts goodbye in a “sweet, American” way.
Humbert finds Quilty, whom he intends to kill, at his mansion. Before doing so, he first wants Quilty to understand why he must die, for he took advantage of Humbert, a sinner, and he took advantage of a disadvantage. Eventually, Humbert shoots him dead, and exits the house. Shortly afterward, he is arrested for driving on the wrong side of the road and swerving. The narrative closes with Humbert’s final words to Lolita in which he wishes her well, and reveals the novel in its metafiction to be the memoirs of his life, only to be published after he and Lolita have both died.
The novel’s fictional “Foreword” states that Humbert Humbert dies of coronary thrombosis upon finishing his manuscript.
It also states that “Mrs. Richard Schiller” (Lolita) died giving birth to a stillborn girl on Christmas Day, 1952, at the age of 17.
I guess SIA and Shia LaBeouf are two peas in a pod when it comes to acknowledging source material. Not only has SIA failed to cite Lolita as an inspiration, she’s had the audacity to talk down to people who “cry pedophilia,” while simultaneously playing bleeding heart for victims of sexual abuse.
It’s interpretative dance. It’s art, allegedly. If people are all interpreting it as something horrible, maybe it’s horrible. Maybe if I give 100 people the finger, and 85 people find it offensive, it’s offensive. Artists who try to claim artistic and intellectual immunity from being criticized for their work are just as interested in preventing freedom of speech as people who are demanding such works never be created. While I hope that the SIA videos are not indicative of some sort of societal easement into the territory of child exploitation, I know that it ultimately falls on the shoulders of the people receiving that turgid finger in the face. Can we be convinced that we’re all idiots? That we’re all delusional? That we’re all worrying over nothing? I hope not.