Prayer-Soldier writes "
An 11 Jun 10 FOX News headline reads, “Lady Gaga is the Latest Celeb to Abuse Catholic Imagery in Hollywood's 'War on Religion.'” The FOX News article reported that Gaga has a new video which combines strong sexual content with distorted Catholic imagery. In her recent video “Alejandro,” the imagery begins with a surreal militaristic tone, switches to that of a funeral procession, then proceeds to alternating images of suggestive scenes and Gaga in priest's vestments and a nun's habit. At one point, while in a latex habit, Gaga ingests a rosary into her mouth.
In a 9 Jun 10 MTV article, Steven Klein, the video's director was asked what was behind the imagery. Klein replied, "I was not thinking in terms [of influences.] I saw it more as a combination of cinema and theater." Klein continued, "[It is] about a woman's desire to resurrect a dead love and who can not face the brutality of her present situation. The pain of living without your true love." The explanation gave little from which to understand the flashes of rosary beads, crosses, crucifixes and latex vestments and habits.
MTV revealed a little more in a 10 Jun 10 article which noted the “Gaga-as-Madonna imagery” combined with the religious symbolism. MTV revealed that Klein wrote in an email that the religious representation was not meant to be negative. Klein wrote, "[It] represents the character's battle between the dark forces of this world and the spiritual salvation of the Soul." Klein explained, "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." Klein added that the scene in which Gaga ingests the rosary beads is meant to represent "the desire to take in the holy."
In an 11 Jun 10 article, MTV sought the interpretation of Josef Sorett, a professor of religion and African-American studies at Columbia University. In his interpretation of the scene where Gaga ingests rosary beads, Sorett suggests, “we think of consumption, the divine consuming us, or vice versa, Holy Communion."
When MTV asked Sorett if he was shocked by the video, Sorett replied, "On one hand it's controversial, and it always will be. Even look back to Kanye West, posing on the cover of Rolling Stone with the crown of thorns. In certain sectors, that still provokes," he said. "But when I talk about this kind of stuff with my students, they tend to have a more cynical response ... you know, 'How much of this is the artist trying to create controversy?' Especially these days. It seems that the provocative has become the commonplace."
In the 10 Jun 10 MTV article, one MTV commentator suggested, “that Gaga and Klein should have done better editing and constructed a better narrative so the idea that Gaga becomes pious and is fighting good and evil is [easy to understand].”
The FOX News article, however, considered the video to be one more example of a long series of Hollywood imagery that denigrates Christianity, especially Catholicism. After a list of attacks upon Christianity, culminating with Comedy Central’s possible plans to develop a satirical series about Jesus Christ, the FOX News article asked, “So why is it that the entertainment industry isn’t afraid to twist, tease and ridicule Christianity, or more specifically Catholicism, but rarely dares even to touch other religions? Would Gaga have dared hold a Koran to her crotch? Would David have been brave enough to relieve himself on a painting of Allah [referring to an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”]?”
The FOX News article quoted singer, song writer, Katy Perry, who tweeted, "Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke.”
On 4 Jun 10, a RightBias.com editorial reviewed Comedy Central's plans to create a series which extensively ridicules Jesus Christ. The Washington Times columnist, Jeffery Kuhner, concluded, “Christians must vigorously defend their faith. If Comedy Central wants to make a series depicting Christ as a street hoodlum, that is its right. But it is also the right of Christians to be offended and to express their outrage. Freedom of speech cuts both ways. Christians should let it be known that they will boycott not just all of Comedy Central's programs, but more important, all of its advertisers. Corporations that advertise on Comedy Central are either directly or indirectly sponsoring anti-Christian bigotry.”
Cited Articles and Posts
FOX News (11 Jun 10)
MTV (9 Jun10)
MTV (11 Jun 10)
MTV (10 Jun 10)
RightBias.com (4 Jun 10)