March 19, 2010
I don’t like Lady Gaga. Don’t really like her music. What I have heard and seen of her smacks of the kind of “entertainment” that does nothing but flash pretty colors across the screen or play something repetitive over the speakers.
And yet, for this article, none of that matters, because a fellow artist, Miss Gaga herself, is being attacked for art. I will not let this stand.
Sandy Rios is the president of Culture Campaign, a conservative Illinois-based group whose purpose, according to the official website, is “To engage Christians in actively living out and declaring biblical truth in a secular, humanistic American culture.”
Anyone else find it funny that they didn’t capitalize “biblical”?
She went on Fox and railed against Lady Gaga’s new video, “Telephone,” and called it poison. The clip has a lot of shotgun points calling on everything from fear of sexual predators, a disgust of the video’s homosexual overtones, nudity, sex, and a concern for the welfare of the innocence of children who might watch it.
Someone invoked the innocence of children in a discussion regarding artistic censorship? Well paint me red and call me Eleanor!
Sandy goes off in seven different directions, some of them non-Eucledian, so let’s break down some of her more fervent claims.
“This time, we have to speculate on whether or not she has a male member or not, and whether it’s been cut off or not […] and then we’ve got Beyoncé and Gaga… gay lesbian lovers? I mean, it’s disgusting!”
This one’s actually two separate arguments: hermaphrodites and homosexuals are disgusting.
Sure. Let’s ignore that hermaphrodites are a naturally occurring group. Some people, however, choose to undergo sex-change surgeries because they don’t feel as though their bodies are representative of their gender. And gender, unlike what Texas school books will now teach, is different from sex. Either way, the only disgusting thing Rios seems to find is the discussion of genitals. Just hear her voice as she talks about the rumor that Lady Gaga is actually a transgender woman.
The rumor started some time ago, but the only instance of it in the video is one of the guards talking right after they strip her and mentioning that, well, she really didn’t have a penis.
And do I even need to get into why discussion of homosexuals is NOT a disgusting topic? Rios’ entire argument at this point is that mere knowledge of these things is something that will harm society. Even if she were right, even if the knowledge of homosexuals and hermaphrodites did do something to society’s collective brain that turned the world into some Mad Max-inspired wasteland, the knowledge of such things still has value. They exist, and therefore must be acknowledged.
But they’re not dangerous. Knowledge is never dangerous. Only the application of knowledge can bring harm. Which brings us to this…
“This is poison for the minds of our kids, and for our minds for that matter.”
“Poison” implies that it is harmful in on itself. What is harmful about seeing this video? Granted, I don’t like it, I was actually a bit bored, and I can’t find any correlation between the lyrics and the storyline in this ten-minute video. It’s fluff.
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But it brings understanding on some level. This is popular with a large demographic. Someone with a scientific mind would, therefore, have more data to use to bring about understanding of popular culture. It sounds geeky, but that’s what it is. It’s data. It’s only poison if there is a direct effect between watching the video and something harmful happening.
If I inhale cyanide, it’s going to kill my cells and cause permanent damage to some very vital organs. If I go to the McDonalds’ drive-through and get into a car accident, I’m not going to claim that cheeseburgers cause automotive death.
“I don’t know if Madonna ever did a video where […] she feigned to have a male member and they feigned perhaps cutting it off […] It’s the kind of thing we shouldn’t even be discussing, much less thinking about from my perspective.”
Oh Sandy… Just because you don’t want to think about it, doesn’t mean it’s going to go away. I know it works for all the other problems in your life like annoying friends and children, but Lady Gaga’s on all the televisions and radios.
Okay, that was really snippy. Keep this one in mind, though, because while the statement above is really, really stupid, it’s going to get downright mental in a bit.
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“Our world is filled with sexual predators […] I don’t know if you know this, Megan, but they’ve done surveys to find out the men who do these kinds of things to these young girls, something like 85% of them, are involved in some sort of porn. So you may not watch it, your kinds may not watch it, but I’m telling you the man next door who’s a sexual predator probably does watch it.”
Know what else most sexual predators watch? The news. Most of them have driver’s licenses, too. I’m also sure many of them were breast-fed. Statistically, most serial killers are white men. We should ban white men that have driver’s licenses, were breast-fed, and watch the news so we can spare the world of more sexual assault.
Sorry ladies, Johnny Depp has to go. Sandy Rios said so.
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A connection between two pieces of data is not evidence of a corollary. I’m fairly certain the data Rios mentioned is accurate. Most sexual predators probably do look at pornography, but did the pornography cause them to become sexual predators?
To put it another way, how many people watch porn?
So… how many sexual predators do we have in this country? I’m going to assume it’s much, much, MUCH lower than the number of people who actually watch pornography. It’s the same for people who think rap lyrics need to be censored because the music promotes violence. The evidence? Violent people listen to it, so the music must cause it.
Could it be, perhaps, that the music has an appeal to, among other groups, people with a propensity for violence much like pornography has an appeal to people obsessed with sexual acts?
Yeah. I also go to the bathroom when I wake up in the morning. Think sleeping causes me to take a leak?
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“Some things are illegal. Pornography in certain forms is illegal [...] Not everything is lawful.”
Rios is referring to a comment made about this exhibit.
She is right about one thing. There are certain limits on what we will or won’t allow. Child pornography is banned, and for good reason. The people involved, children without an understanding of what they are being asked to do, have no say in the act. They are actually harmed by this, which is different from other forms of pornography in which all parties are explicitly aware of what is being asked of them.
But pornography is still legal.
It’s also the reason we don’t video tape rape. Or allow rape. Sex is legal. Forced sex is illegal. Oddly enough, selling sex is also illegal, but that’s another article. The point is that it’s a matter of choice. No one was forced to perform in this video. No one is forced to watch it. And everything that was done was legal. Except for the mass murder at the end.
I still don’t get what that was all about, but I’m positive everyone walked off the set.
Psst! They’re not really dead, Sandy.
“When I travel in other cultures, teenagers in many cultures still have retained that innocence of youth. Not so here. Our kids have these wooden stares. Kids are into being cool. There’s nothing they haven’t seen. It’s like we have raped them of their innocence and the joy of youth and childhood. I think we can do better than that.”
She shoots, she scores!
What, may I ask, is the joy of youth and childhood? Is it running around? Being fed information on a need-to-know basis? Not having any responsibility while also not having any power over your own choices? Please, Jedi Master Sandy. Enlighten me.
I’ll tell you. The joy of youth and childhood is exploration and learning. Kids learn by playing. It’s one of the tactics educators use to make learning more accessible. We’ll play games with the kids. Sometimes they won’t know they’re learning. Learning new concepts, applying them, basically, EDUCATION is the joy of childhood.
Our kids have that blank stare because we don’t encourage that. Either that, or, if they’re kids you’ve been watching, Sandy, it’s probably because they can look right through your crap and are wondering how someone so award-winningly stupid made it this far in life without accidentally killing herself with a toothbrush.
“You cannot hide it, trash it, put it in a new drawer, turn off the TV at every point, but you have to learn to teach your kids to make judgments at every point.”
Sometimes I wonder if the people I write about know the kind of ammunition they give me and everyone else who works to elevate art and crush censorship and hypocrisy.
Let’s summarize. We need to ban videos and images like “Telephone,” but we need to instruct our children on what to do by sitting down with them, watching this content, and teaching them how to make the proper choices in life.
I know, I know. She could be arguing that this is a necessary step only because music videos and images like this exist. Still, even if she is, she’s essentially setting forth a plan of action to make sure children are informed about content like this should parents not want their children exposed to things like this.
She’s making my argument for me!
What a jerk!
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Why do I even write more than this? If there’s a way to shield kids by teaching them your twisted world-view, Sandy, and if said world-view is going to deter them from watching this kind of stuff later in life or liking it, why ban it?
I think she’s just a lazy parent. There, I said it.
I don’t like Gaga. I think she’s all show. While there are artists who were dressing like this years ago who do have an understanding of art, Gaga does what she does because it’s a show. That’s it. There’s nothing deeper than what I saw in the video. If you find something, if her music and videos bring you a measure of joy, by all means, keep watching and listening. If it brings that bit of good into your life, it’s doing something positive. It’s not for me, though.
I just don’t think someone watches a Lady Gaga video and thinks, “You know, that ‘rape’ thing sounds interesting. Think I’ll try it.”