Blasphemous or artistic?

Surfing Youtube has always been something that I enjoyed very much since the start of the year. With countless of videos uploaded on a daily basis, one is able to find a video on anything or everything on this amazing website. Upon browsing through videos over the weekend, I chanced upon Lady Gaga’s most controversial music video yet- Judas. In this video, Lady Gaga is portrayed as Mary Magdalene with the male starring in this video as Judas, who is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and betrayed Jesus into the hands of the chief priests as mentioned in the New Testament in the Bible.

This music video was compared to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”, in 1989 which outraged the Catholic community and the video was even deemed as blasphemous. Likewise with this video, members of the Catholic faith have found this to be blasphemous. However, the question is, is her music video really classified as blasphemous or artistic? Several of Lady Gaga’s other music videos have received criticisms saying that from what her music videos portray, she is a devil worshipper and the list goes on and on. This is where we can see how communication and behaviors are based on how we perceive reality. The difference in our communication is due to the way our surroundings are perceived and based on our past experiences.

Perception is the process by which we make sense of the world around us. One of the three processes which occurs during perception is selection. This therefore refers to how we attend to or select information from our environment for processing. What influences selection are mainly mass media, individual characteristics, social network, our environment and lastly our psychological state, priorities and motives. This is where I believe is the cause for Lady Gaga’s music video, Judas to ruffle so many feathers of such a large faith. The mass media always communicates any form of religion with utmost respect at all times, and therefore that causes us to view any forms of faith in that manner. Because we are all so accustomed to that, having a music video depict a story from the Bible in such a way is just not favoured by hundreds of people. Individual characteristics, I believe are the main cause for viewers either classifying this music video as artistic or blasphemous. For example, church goers would probably classify Judas as blasphemous or as “a disturbed vision of hell” even. This is due to past experiences and knowledge, combined with one’s social network and from being in a Catholic family, growing up knowing all these biblical stories and always having the best impressions of all the characters mentioned in these biblical stories to suddenly seeing them scantily clad and having the story twisted in some perverted way or another.

On the other hand, non believers of the Catholic faith would not be as offended as the Catholic community was. I personally, am not a Catholic and when I watched this video for the first time, I did think it was disrespectful but ironically, artistic. As Lady Gaga said herself in an interview, she viewed this music video as a “social or cultural statement” and that it was a “metaphor and not a biblical lesson”. Yet again, it all boils down to how we perceive everything around us. Even a music video on the internet, which does not directly harm anyone has raised several controversial issues on blasphemy, for example. Being in the 21st century, I feel that people should not take whatever they see, hear or read literally all the time and to allow ourselves to be more open to other ideas or cultures even, that we are not familiar with. This can perhaps, sculpt the way we think and perceive things in a way that might surprise us.

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2 Responses to Blasphemous or artistic?

  1. pammyng says:

    Hi Elvina! I personally feel that Lady Gaga’s ‘Judas’ video is very controversial, and is disrespectful on many different levels. The media messages portrayed are very subjective, and question the Christian and Catholic belief. With that said, music is indeed a way to express yourself, and if Gaga wants to continue being the controversial artist that she is, people will just need to be more open-minded. Since selection influences perception, then we as audiences should select the media we want to be exposed to, and perceive them accordingly!

  2. Foo Ye Wei says:

    I love this song by the way haha.

    But does this mean I condone her message? Does this mean I am evil and ungodly and headed straight for hell? For some, yes indeed, it does. Perhaps religion follows a longer-drawn timeline of paradigm shifts than popular media, but I would say this is analagous to when Britney Spears’ bare midriff in her earlier videos foreshadowed for many cynics the gradual disintegration of a society’s mores and values.

    What I would point out is that literally every generation and society protects their point-of-view fiercely. What this means is that every generation will judge its antecedent as an affront to the current norm, and thus the newcomer is generally judged negatively. But at the end of the day, the newcomer will become the “norm”, awaiting its next challenger, if only as an avenue to exercise and demonstrate a fervent self-belief in our chosen community.

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