Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Gaga Saga continues....

The haircuts alone definitely count as a sin
Lady Gaga’s new video premiered last week and it is, as always, an interesting watch. (But not one to enjoy with grandma or the kids, I hasten to add.)

It features soldiers in fishnets and heels, and some frankly disturbing cavorting on what look like hospital beds. Gaga pays tribute to Madonna with, among other things, a backdrop of wooden crosses and flames. Is she Joan of Arc? A crusader? Or just a really big supporter of the England football team?

It’s clear there is more than a nod to Cabaret; hints of Madonna also lurk in every corner. One of the reasons Gaga makes such an interesting performer is that she uses her videos as opportunities to play a role, not just flog her wares. Thus she gets to do her very own take on Evita... or whoever else she damn well likes.

Are those soldiers meant to be Nazis? Is the riot footage shown towards the end of the video representative of the Stonewall riots? So many unanswered questions, so many internet dwellers volunteering their opinions.

One person who evidently isn’t a fan of Lady Gaga’s rosary-swallowing performance is the usually good-humoured Katy Perry, best known for a) being a “backslidden” preacher’s kid, and b) her debut single, I Kissed a Girl. Hours after the Alejandro premiere she twittered “Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke.” (Shamelessly exploiting pseudo-bisexuality for record sales is fine, obviously.) We can only hope the former pal of Gaga was being ironic; her fiancé Russell Brand has been vocal about her flatulence. Judging from the quality of his work thus far, it figures, really.

Is the video blasphemous? Director Steven Klein (photographer extraordinaire and A-list collaborator) defends himself, "The religious symbolism is not meant to denote anything negative, but represents the character's battle between the dark forces of this world and the spiritual salvation of the Soul. Thus at the end of the film, she chooses to be a nun, and the reason her mouth and eyes disappear is because she is withdrawing her senses from the world of evil and going inward towards prayer and contemplation." He also claimed Gaga’s rosary scene represents "the desire to take in the holy." (Sounds like meaningless waffle to you and me, of course, but in LA this little speech very nearly makes him a theologian.)

In May 2010, Gaga told The Times about the concept of the video: "It's about the purity of my friendships with my gay friends, and how I've been unable to find that with a straight man in my life. It's a celebration and an admiration of gay love – it confesses my envy of the courage and bravery they require to be together. In the video I'm pining for the love of my gay friends – but they just don't want me to be with them."

So far... so likely to upset the Catholic church.

But wait... What’s that, Gaga?

“I recently had this… miracle-like experience, where I feel much more connected to God.”

Caitlin Moran, who was charmed by Miss Germanotta and her cheerful cries of “I’m just going to pee through my fishnets!” questioned what kind of beliefs she had – Catholic, or the more generic label of “spiritual”?

“More spiritual... I don’t want to say much, because I want it to stay hidden until it comes out – but I will say that religion is very confusing for everyone, and particularly me, because there’s really no religion that doesn’t hate or condemn a certain kind of people, and I totally believe in all love and forgiveness, and excluding no one.”

Sadly, sometimes it seems as if she is right. No matter how many times Jesus said “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

Reading this, I started thinking; Who is closer to emulating Jesus? A ranting, placard bearing, foaming-at-the-mouth hater of homosexuals, or someone who accepts everyone, and uses their considerable power and influence to embrace those who tend to get left behind by society?

I’ve never quite understood why sexual “sins” get people more riled up than any others. If we decide to live by the strict rules of Leviticus, why is homosexuality so much worse than thieving, or disrespecting our parents, or not wearing a head covering? Why aren’t there any protest groups against adultery? Do “Christians” just like bullying easy targets? The Bible specifically condemns homosexuality 5 times; twice in the Old Testament and three times in the New. However, in comparison, the sin of adultery is denounced 52 times; hatred gets 21 mentions, lying 30, greed, avarice and covetousness 40, murder 57, self-righteousness 79 and idolatry 169 times.

So it’s lucky for all of us that “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus’ followers have always been a rag tag and bobtail bunch. (Check out your local church – you will find more than your fair share of weirdos.) If he were here now, who would he be hanging out with? The people who have been rejected by society, guaranteed.

Maybe we need ANOTHER remake of JC Superstar, with the full repertoire of hookers, trannies, abortionists and pole dancers. Not to mention those who work for the Inland Revenue (some things never change).

Jesus told the Priests in the temple “Corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do,” and made it very clear that only those who have never sinned in their lives (ie, none) are qualified to make judgements on anyone else. So there.

On a lighter note, our lady of pop enjoyed an education at New York's Convent of the Sacred Heart Catholic school. She says “It's interesting because I think everyone assumes that because I went to such a religious school, perhaps they don't appreciate what I'm doing now. But it is quite the opposite. I got a really solid education, in particular how to analyse art, how to make art. So if anything, my teachers are sort of nodding their heads and saying, 'She did a good job of using her artistic abilities to really create a new kind of pop.'"

She may also take solace from the fact that in the 16th century, Michaelangelo was vilified for daring to sculpt nudes for display in churches, and earned the nickname "inventor delle porcherie" (inventor of obscenities). You’re in good company, Gaga.

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