In the annals of FoxNews.com headlines, “Snoop Dogg shoots clown resembling Donald Trump in new music video” is a low-key classic. You don’t hear about a lot of clowns that resemble Mahatma Gandhi, or clowns resembling the brave men and women who died in 9/11. And “resembling” is such a pleasingly circumspect word, in contrast with the absurdity of everything else in this headline. Now is a fun time to remember that Fox News shares a parent company with The New York Post, who seem not to have reported on this event but would probably have done it differently. Anyway, I want to emphasize that Snoop Dogg shot a clown resembling Donald Trump in a music video, not in real life. That makes it a symbolic act—a message, probably. This theory is supported by S.D. Dogg’s remarks to Billboard:
I feel like it’s a lot of people making cool records, having fun, partying, but nobody’s dealing with the real issue with this fucking clown as president and the shit that we dealing with out here. So I wanted to take time out to push pause on a party record and make one of these records for the time being.
Notice how he assures us he’s working on a party record, too. Snoop has been doing this for a long time. Also, he sucks now. Or does he? This clown video is actually pretty…okay, I’m not willing to say it’s good. But I’m glad I watched it. Video after the jump.
Reasons this is not good:
- It’s titled “BADBADNOTGOOD.” [Correction: It’s titled “Lavendder” and made with the instrumentalists BADBADNOTGOOD.]
- It is a concept video.
- The concept is that everyone is a clown, and the clowns routinely murder one another.
- Snoop Dogg does not tell me to get high or stop loving these hoes. Instead, he talks about how bad everything is, leading up to a supposedly transgressive act rendered toothless in at least three ways. It’s not the president; it’s a clown with an orange face.1 A flag that says “bang” comes out of the gun, and we linger on this shot, making absolutely clear that the clown who is not President Trump has not been shot. And then we see this clown later, grumpy but alive. This is just the right amount of audacity to get you 15 minutes on Fox News.
- Clowns suck.
And yet. There’s something about this video that feels alive, if only as an expression of Snoop’s frustration. Trying to parse the clown metaphor is just hard enough to keep the viewer engaged. White people are clowns, including the white clown who lives with his black family and smokes weed on the way to work. Most of the black people are not clowns, but one of them wears a sweatshirt that says “clown,”2 and the black cop is definitely a clown.
All the guns are toys. But the toy gun that Dad Clown snatches from his son is a toy for children, whereas the toy gun the cop shoots at Dad Clown tears holes in his chest. The gun Snoop uses to shoot President Clown looks like a real gun, and it makes a gunshot sound. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I was a little shocked when I heard that sound. But this gun is most definitely a toy, too, what with the flag that says “bang” and all.
I think it’s safe to say this whole thing is a metaphor, but the rules of that metaphor are hard to pin down. The ambiguity is kind of thrilling. This is clearly a work of late-career insanity by Snoop. But there’s something vital about it. As much as the idea feels worked over and rewritten, it also feels like he had fun making it. He has a vision. It is weird and probably failed, but at least he’s doing something.
There’s that petty audacity, though, so mostly what he’s doing is getting on Fox News. They seem to be the only ones worked up about this, which seems appropriate. Gangsta rap and moral outrage are in a symbiotic relationship. Snoop has executed a pretty safe provocation, here, but there’s still something about it I like.
I think it’s the shot near the end, when Snoop and his friend are passing a joint back and forth and blatantly leaving the clown resembling Donald Trump out of the rotation. In Snoop’s world, this must be the ultimate insult. It is also a distillation of pop liberalism’s threat to Trump: everyone is going to be cool and have a good time together, but we will leave you out. I await his resignation.