Five Finger Death Punch sure got people talking with the release of their controversial new music video for "Living the Dream." The video features many metaphors, some perhaps too deep for the naked eye, and the most controversial scene, features a woman, portrayed as an elitist with a pin that says "Exempt" and features the star symbol of China. This woman then makes a line of people put on a mask, and when they do, they are rewarded with a "Compliant" button that has three sickel & hammer designs on them. Guitarist Zoltan Bathory posted a new statement saying this scene was totally misinterpreted. He claims the band is not anti-mask, leading us to have some questions about his statement.
First, just a quick look at some screenshots of the scene in question for context:
Now I would like to post Zoltan's recent statement, with some annotations where I have questions about the general nature of his statement.
As much as some news sites used “anti-mask” as a clickbait title (And I must applaud the capitalist in them or I myself would be a hypocrite) Let’s make this crystal clear: In a fictional story, Amongst shopping cart zombies, Tide Pod eating fat superheroes and all the other metaphors, why would anyone think the mask scene isn’t one.
The scene in question is not about the masks… it’s NOT an Anti-Mask message…
… in fact you can go to FiveFingerDeathPunch.com
Right now and buy some cool ones…
If I must explain this 🤷♂️ The whole video is in the frame work of fiction, a dystopian nightmare of one of the founding fathers – right before he signs the constitution.
Just as I prefaced it: "We as artists, have a unique opportunity to portray and ridicule the absurd to prevent it from becoming reality.
The mask segments are about hypocrisy on the highest level. When the rules are made for you but those who made them are exempt. Pretty much the standard in all dictatorships and totalitarian regimes (I had the displeasure of growing up in one) hence the reference.
Zoltan is trying to argue that we are putting too much focus on the "compliant" mask guy, and not enough on the elitist "exempt" woman. But why use the mask metaphor? Taking that metaphor to it's extreme, who in current society feels exempt from wearing masks? Which portion of elitists do not wear masks? Of the two Presidential candidates, which one feels they are exempt from wearing a mask?
If Zoltan is trying to imply that scene is supposed to be a metaphor for the lockdown, while government officials still did things they told others not to do, then I will say they failed to get that metaphor across with the mask scene. And, I would also say that is a fair game criticism, but I think we disagree on what the solution is.
I often say, ask us!!! The immigrants… the Cubans, the Venezuelans, the North Koreans, anyone from the former Soviet block… Talk to us and we will tell you …. WE were lucky, because we had a place to escape to. We are fortunate that we could come here…. but If America is gone, where will you go?
What do you mean by "if America is gone?" Where did America go? What about wearing masks makes it not America?
We immigrants also remember how our freedom slipped away, how our rights were ripped from us, how we were kept under the thumb and in fear of our own governments. So maybe, just maybe… we have valuable experience we can tell you about, we can forewarn you of the things we have seen before.
How is freedom currently slipping away? The federal government is currently being run by the Republican party, are you saying they are taking away our freedom? Which freedoms specifically?
So We the people must do everything in our power to stay free as a society. We must prevent the rise of tyranny in all shapes and forms, we must resist the would be dictators and the totalitarian ideals. This is what the founding fathers worried about and tried to prevent by creating the constitution. Believe it. America is a miracle, and I LOVE this country… and I will never shut up about it 🇺🇸
What tyranny is rising that we must prevent? Who are the "would be dictators and the totalitarian ideals." Can you be a little more specific, since, according to you, people aren't getting your message clearly?
Anyway – not anti mask – and If you reduced this entire video to that scene and missed the metaphor behind it … Well… the good news is – It is STILL America so you have the right to have and even print your own opinion.
And, as you can see, we print your opinion as well. Also, I can't speak for other publications, but Metal Injection didn't reduce the video to just that scene, I actually commented on every scene in the video. But, it certainly seemed like that was a central theme in the video.