June 27, 2010


Conservatives need to change their tune on pop music (Mark Judge, 6/27/10, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Lady Gaga is no Madonna. That some conservatives are comparing the two performers is yet another sign of the pop-culture (and even religious) illiteracy of the right. I myself am a conservative, and it always demoralizes me when people on the right fumble the ball on popular culture, particularly in the field of pop music.

Robert Bork once referred to the industrial gloom freaks Nine Inch Nails as rap. Reagan-era Interior Secretary James Watt tried to postpone a Beach Boys Fourth of July concert, thinking that the somnolent surfers would cause trouble. And, despite how much I've begged and pleaded, the Weekly Standard and National Review will not cover pop music, which I consider a beautiful form of spiritual art.

Now, taking a lead from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, everyone is comparing Gaga to Madonna. To me Madonna will always be a mediocre talent, but one of her better songs is "Like a Prayer," which came out in 1986. Many conservative culture warriors wrongly considered the video for "Like a Prayer" blasphemous, and are now juxtaposing it with a new video by pop star Gaga. In the video for her song "Alejandro," Gaga is dressed in a red latex nun costume. She swallows a rosary and is depicted in scenes of sadomasochistic sex and Nazi marching troops. As night follows day, conservatives went nuts. Donohue called Lady Gaga a "Madonna wannabe." The rest of the right-wing photosphere fell into place.

They will miss a crucial fact: Madonna's video for "Like a Prayer" is an intelligent and even devout meditation on grace, love, and conscience. Lady Gaga's is lazy trash.

Indeed, conservatives ought to understand that all great rock music is conservative. How better illustrate the point than with a songstress celebrating Nazi opposition to Christianity?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 27, 2010 7:58 AM
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