Lady Gaga

Or shall I call her the “forbidden fruit”?
Not in a religious way, although the connotation helps her sell.
The connotation helps all artists sell.
From those who restore frescos of the Madonna, to Madonna, the singer.

“Forbidden fruit” in a law-abiding way.
In reference to the South Korean authorities banning under 18s to go to Lady Gaga’s concert.
When I heard about it on BBC radio, several monologues popped in my head.
Of Lady Gaga
Of the authority imposing the ban
Of the Christian protesters in Seul
Of the concert goers.
Different scenarios.

Scenario 1

The monologue of little Stefani – a little girl (to become the famous lady Gaga).
I have to go against all the rules. I have to scare people, shock people, repulse people. Somehow. Some way.
Think, Stefani, think!
“Just put your paws up!”
Shock religious people. Check.
Shock the non-religious people. Check.
Shock the undecided people. Check.
Crazy outfits. Check.
Catchy jingles. Check.
A tormented past. For sure.
Bullied in school, or perhaps a dead parent. Work on this, Stef!

The monologue of the Christian protester
I protest.
She’s demonic – she wears horns on her head (that’s only OK during Halloween).
She is disrespectful to the Christian religion (take a note: define how exactly!).
She’s showing too much flesh, and sometimes it’s not even her own!
Her show is “pornographic and promotes homosexuality”.
Because homosexuality is bad(take another note: create a defensive argument on that one!)

The monologue of the South Korean authorities
(more like a motto)
“Always please the majority voters – the religious or the non-religious”

The monologue of the concert goer 
Oh, shut up with your monologues.
The chick rocks.

Scenario 2
Little Stefani has grown up and has checked everything that was on her list.
Religious people turned out to be the majority voters so they got their ban.
Concert is still oversold so concert goers are happy and concert non-goers due to no tickets left are on YouTube.
Kids under 18 still know everything about death, incest, pornography, homosexuality, and cancer.
And Lady Gaga isn’t the reason for that.
The omnipresent media access and downpour of unreferenced, unpredictable, agenda-driven, influential media is the reason for that.
Not even.
But the untrained eye, the illiterate person and the unaware mind is.

You can’t fight Lady Gaga or programs such as My Sweet 16.
The way you can’t fight religious threats like the one of burning in hell.
Unless you educate yourself, your eyes, and your mind.

Every form of art, in its own time, has gone through a period of rejection and criticism, in part, in full, for one reason or another.
In music:
Stravinsky, Debussy, Prokofiev, Bartók, have written music often described as “atonal”.
Meaning something negative.
In Nazi Germany, atonal music was surmised as “Bolshevik”, perceived as degenerate.

In painting:
Initially, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus was considered pagan.
It luckily escaped the Savonarola’s fires that burned some of his other ‘pagan’ works.
Even Impressionists were perceived as radicals in their time.
They were rejected, criticised.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they, too, were seen as blasphemous for all the nudity and displayed male and female flesh in their paintings.
We can only dream today of having one of those hanging on our walls.

I’m not comparing Lady Gaga with Renoir.
I’m not even defending her art or whatever it is that’s going on.
She’s using formulas (known to be successful and now, slightly predictable) and it’s working.
For her.
Perhaps, even for the artists to come after her.
Which isn’t bad in itself.
It’s the whirlpool of spin offs that phenomena like Lady Gaga create in which our young don’t know what to do, how to interpret things and how to select what matters.

Banning under 18-year-olds from a Lady Gaga concert is like banning them from watching Star Wars.
If the kids don’t know it’s an actor behind the black mask, tough.
If they don’t know Lady Gaga is putting up a show, equally tough.

There’s no stopping people from creating art, or art that’s not yet accepted as art.
There’s no stopping people from consuming that either.
There is only one way of protecting young people – if that’s the goal of the Seul authorities, or of any other authoritative figure, for that matter.
Education. It sounds cliche, preachy and terribly boring, true.
Like aspirin.
But it’ll help.

I remember what the majority of PSD (personal and social development) teachers told me during my numerous interviews with them (and the Malta PSD association) earlier this year.
“Kids don’t know that Rihanna isn’t perfect.”
One even said, “Rihanna, too, goes to the bathroom, cries, and gets insecure”.
“Her photos are retouched. She has hundreds of people working on her image, her hair, her makeup…But kids don’t know of that whatsoever.”
“They look at her, worship her, and pressure themselves to be like her,completely unaware of the army of people that work for exactly that effect on their young minds.”
Will banning then change any of this?

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