I don’t listen to pop music as much as I used to when I was a kid, but hearing about Lady Gaga and her music just can’t be helped nowadays. She’s pretty much become a household name. Based on what I’ve heard, Lady Gaga is not only a singer but also a full-fledged performer, and a good one at that.
I won’t pretend to fully know why so many people seem to be attracted to her and her music, but I can understand that it mostly boils down to personal taste and preference. After all, I too was once a teenager who liked to idolize international pop sensations.
In any case, though, I don’t care for Lady Gaga and her music. I don’t care about her outrageous costumes, her controversial lyrics, and her overall presentation of herself as some sort of wild circus act. But when I got wind of the fact that several local church groups were trying to stop her from performing live here in the Philippines, I got the sudden urge to say something to point out the ridiculousness of it all.
The whole protest against Lady Gaga’s concert in the Philippines is just silly. The local church groups behind it are therefore silly by proxy. Again, I don’t care much for this pop star; but as the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
The Wrong Approach
Biblemode Youth is one of the local church groups behind the protests against Lady Gaga’s concert. I tried to look up why they wanted to keep Lady Gaga from performing here in the Philippines, and I’ve found that their argument simply boils down to this: “Stop liking what I don’t like!” To me, this is an immature and bull-headed approach to things, especially when it concerns the lives of other people—people whose lives you shouldn’t bother to get involved in. It’s easier if you just let the people vote with their money. Those who want to watch the concert get to watch the concert. After all, it isn’t free. And it’s not that easy to control the actions of other people anyway. Since the only person that you truly have control over is yourself, wouldn’t it be better if you simply focused on that? If you don’t like the music, change the station. If you hate the show on TV, change the channel. And if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Practicing control over yourself and your own choices seems like an easier and stress-free alternative to me.
These Brains Were Made for Thinking
Speaking of choices, there’s one very important fact about Filipinos that many of today’s local church groups like Biblemode Youth don’t seem to get: Many of Lady Gaga’s fans (or whoever else wants to watch her concert) are perfectly capable of making choices for themselves with the use of their brains. Yes, those brains still work despite the onslaught of mindless reality shows and soap operas on local TV.
But what about the children, you ask? Well, that’s none of my business. But if you really want to know, I suggest you take it up to their parents. After all, it’s their children. They’re not mine. And they’re not anyone else’s children either. So it’s really the parents who should have the final say on whether a kid gets to watch Lady Gaga’s concert or not. Same goes for teenagers, speaking of which they’ve got friends and some of them are in holy spaces. They can perhaps talk amongst themselves to decide whether or not the concert is worth going to. Having to go through all the trouble of banning Lady Gaga entirely is unnecessary.
Lady Gaga Isn’t the Devil, But Far from It
Lady Gaga is tagged by the likes of former Manila congressman and current Pastor Benny Abante Jr. of the Metropolitan Baptist Church as a bad influence on today’s youth. In a report on ABS-CBN’s news website that was published prior to the scheduled concert, he said: “’Yung isang kanta, ’yung ‘Born This Way,’ it’s also telling the young people na ‘you can do anything, you want anyway, you are born this way.’ It is not only immoral; it is also a blasphemy. The Lord Jesus Christ is being maligned here and mocked.” Talk about missing the point.
For those who do not know the words to the Lady Gaga song mentioned above, the chorus goes like this:
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
The rest of the song just goes around the same theme: That it’s perfectly okay to accept yourself with whatever you are born with, and you can make the most out of your life no matter what. I have no idea what kind of thinking would lead anyone to misconstrue this song as blasphemous, but if I had to make a guess, I’d say it’s delusional religious thinking (no offense to all religious people who might be reading this).
So is Mr. Pastor-Congressman saying that God can be wrong? That God is prone to making mistakes and it’s wrong to believe you’re all right just the way you are? What ever happened to Mr. All-Perfect?
The way I see it, Lady Gaga is actually doing the lord’s work. She gives money to charity, makes a lot of people happy with her music, offers inspiration for everyone to embrace who they are and what they possess, and she even makes some of us laugh with the way she dresses when she goes to the Grammy’s. That’s more than can be said for most of the people who are trying to oppose her performance here in the country.
A Decent Proposal
I know the local groups who are trying to stop Lady Gaga from performing live are only trying to help. After all, where would we be without proper guidance away from the teachings of the spooky devil? But the fact remains, all those who want to watch Lady Gaga’s concert are going to do so on their own accord, in their own time, and with their own money. It’s up to themselves to make the choice, not up to anyone else. And there’s only one real way to help: Just get out of the way.
David Gonzales is a freelance writer and technology journalist based in Metro, Manila, Philippines, who advocates freedom of thought and freedom of speech or expression. He’s a member of the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society (PATAS) and blogs at davidvgonzales.posterous.com.
Editor’s Note: This is a reactionary commentary concerning the almost-cancelled two-show concert in the Philippines last May of the American Pop artist Lady Gaga. Despite the street protests staged by some local religiously fanatic church groups in the Philippines days prior to the concert, the show went on successfully. Both evenings were sold out. There was no any untoward incident that occurred inside the venue. The concertgoers didn’t turn into devil worshippers. The Lady Gaga concert didn’t cause anyone to commit murder or something. Everyone went back to their usual lives and routines after the show was over. The whole anti-Gaga protest thing was not much different from all those hate campaigns staged by various usually religion-fuelled protest groups since the days of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Madonna, Marilyn Manson, and even the Philippines’ very own Eraserheads. At the end of the show, it’s just music, you know.
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