By JUMAN KEVIN TINDO
“This is the manifesto of Mother Monster. On G.O.A.T., a Government Owned Alien Territory in space, a birth of magnificent and magical proportions took place. But the birth was not finite. It was infinite. As the wombs numbered and the mitosis of the future began, it was perceived that this infamous moment in life is not temporal, it is eternal. And thus began the beginning of the new race, a race within the race of humanity, a race which bares no prejudice, no judgment but boundless freedom,” so goes Lady Gaga’s opening words in her song “Born This Way.”
This song gave birth to the professed ‘little monsters,’ a group of people rooting and recognizing the message Lady Gaga is conceiving to the world. She is a queen, a warrior, a goddess, a sex symbol, and the so-called Mother Monster. However, her concert here in the Philippines raised many eyebrows from our Christian friends. They perceived her as immoral, satanic, and unethical. These harsh words were in every Filipino’s mouth as the concert of ‘Mother Monster’ approached.
Text messages encouraging everyone to boycott her concert went viral. It stated that Lady Gaga is a devil worshipper and mocks Jesus through her song Judas.
I myself became intrigued by this matter. I think that all those cruel words thrown at her are just a product of closed-mindedness, of people who do not have the appreciation of new art. For art’s sake, Lady Gaga is a symbol of positivity and individuality for all those out-of-the-norm people.
Even Lea Salonga wrote that Judas is a metaphor for people who seem to always find themselves attracted to what is clearly not good for them. And I agree with her. I also sometimes find myself in sync with those kinds of situation. That is the reason why I understand the way Lady Gaga dresses and interprets her songs, a reason why I understand her art.
I believe that every artist, whatever rubbish or jewel he or she produces, has the right to express his or her art- however outrageous or appealing it may be, and for whatever motive it may serve. The artist maintains his or her right to express his or her work, just like writing.
There’s an adage that always reminds us that art is in the “eye of the beholder.” How something registers artistically to us distinctly differs in so many ways. Whether it’s a painting, a dance, a song, or a live performance, one person could regard it as intellectual while another as a failed endeavor of art. Art is subjective.
If we remember last year, an art by Mideo Cruz was condemned by the Catholics. One of his works, Poleteismo, showed a giant wooden crucifix with a moveable bright red male organ. This artwork divided the opinion of Filipinos. Some applauded it; some condemned it.
The Philippines is still regarded as a conservative nation because majority of Filipinos are Catholics. Lady Gaga’s concert dealt with the same themes but not as critical as Mideo Cruz’s artwork. It tackled freedom of expression, right to be shallow, art, religion, and the modernizing global standards.
Lady Gaga stands for more than “grossly blasphemous, immoral, lewd and carrying demonic and occultist overtones.” These people said that Lady Gaga and her music have no place in this morally upright and Christian-oriented society. She is more than that. She stands for the equality of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders (LGBTs) with the rest of the population. She advocates anti-bullying and, she campaigns for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) awareness. She stands for advocacies which “Christians” sometimes do not give attention to.
What people perceive about her is their own business. They also have their right to express their own thoughts. You can love her or hate her. You can take pleasure in her music or not. You can even desire to protest her work if you don’t agree with it so as long as it doesn’t impede anyone else from liking her art.
Let us not suffocate artists, their inventiveness, and their privilege to convey themselves. Our country has a multitude of artists that we should be proud of. But, we must also welcome other artists from different nations to be a part of our happiness and pleasure of all things beautiful.
Of course, artists must be responsible for the art that he or she expresses. Yes, though we are in a democratic country, freedom of expression has a limitation. There are all types of audiences. There are those who can tolerate lewdness, those who are conservatives, and many more. But the point here is, we must give a chance for all artists, writers, painters, and everyone else the benefit of the doubt.
I think that despite all the differences in culture, religion, or how we perceive art, all must be open-minded. Lady Gaga has opened the doors of a world where people can be the same even with outrageous clothes and outfits through her songs.
“It’s not about the music, it’s about being yourself!” she exclaimed during her concert.
Through her, I became a ‘”little monster.” A member of a race which bares no prejudice, no judgment but boundless freedom. And I am happy that I am blessed with the understanding that art has its own beauty despite the theme it poses. # nordis.net