20110505

Gaga "Judas"


 Lady Gaga's newest music video "Judas" is sure to cause waves of chaos among Evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics.  I'm looking at you, Bill Donahue.  It might do well for someone whose church is most famous lately for its Bishops and Fathers being" in love with their own Judases" to shut up and listen.  It perhaps appears to some as if Gaga is using the characters from Scripture offensively to be metaphorical for something that is in no way spiritual.  I would like anyone of this mindset to stick with me for a few minutes, because I think she will surprise you.  Stop looking for offense for just a few minutes, and look at content.

Gaga has been thinking about spiritual matters a lot lately, I think.  She posted a video a while ago on her Facebook page which showed some people who were protesting outside one of her shows.  She actually drove her car over and started to speak with these guys, who then called her hideous names, referring to her homosexuality and promiscuity, and et cetera.  It takes everything within me not to express hatred for these men, these hypocrites, these tramplers of humanity.  However, I don't want to talk about them.  I want to talk about Gaga.


"In the most Biblical sense,
I am beyond repentance
Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind"

These are lyrics from the bridge, but I wanted to start here because this is where the song is coming from.  Gaga grew up in a Catholic setting, so she clearly knows the story of Jesus and Judas.  She even knows it well enough to make a pun about Peter the "rock" either building a house or sinking a dead body (so true of the church, unfortunately).


I feel sad that she considers herself beyond repentance.  The reason she feels this way is because of people like those idiots outside of her show.  They didn't preach forgiveness to her, only "morality".  Their specific version of morality.  Since Gaga didn't fulfill the guidelines that they insist on to be "a moral person", she is condemned.  As she says herself, a "prostitute wench".  This is the view she has of herself.  At least through their eyes.  I hope someone someday tells her how Jesus looks at her.  I think, based on her video, at least someone close to her might know, and know it better than those people who would condemn her.

Gaga explains what she means when she talks about Jesus and Judas.  She says it directly in the lyrics of the song, there can be no other interpretation.

"Jesus is my virtue,
Judas is the demon I cling to"

This is something that every human person probably faces in their lifetime.  Is there good and bad?  Darkness and light?  Which one am I?  If these things are bad, and yet I like them, am I bad?  Am I a sinner?  What if I like being a sinner?  Whose morality is right?  In this case, her metaphorical use of Christ and his betrayer is actually quite touching and valid.  All humans have "demons that we cling to" and Gaga has named hers: Judas.


You can see her respect for Jesus in the music video.  He is usually in front of her, a form of protecting her.  She is touching him as if she depends on him.  In fact, there is never a moment of behavior that would not befit a Savior and one he wishes to save.  Gaga has taken the role of Mary Magdalene.  Does anyone remember why Mary Magdalene is in the Bible?  Show of hands?  It was because Jesus the Messiah hung out with her.  He didn't call her names, he didn't condemn her.  He loved her.  She was the first person to see him after his resurrection, and she clung to him, much like Gaga does with her Jesus-stand-in near the end of the music video. Mary clung to him because she knew he was her only hope.  The "spiritual leaders" of her day would despise her, but not him.  Maybe Gaga is having a similar internal struggle.  It makes sense that she would cloak this frustration in a way that is sure to be controversial and offensive.  It's an easy way to hide, and allows everyone to confirm for her what she already says about herself.  That she is unforgivable.


Gaga is depicted praying to Jesus and washing his feet, even while Judas pours his beer all over her in a way that seems he is defiling her.  She longs for her "virtue" or maybe even a Messiah, but she still loves her demon.  If you are a Christian who cannot relate with this picture then you may need to do some serious soul-searching.  If you think you happen to be a "better" person than Magdalene or Gaga you better do some serious self-evaluation.  Because that kind of thinking leads us to the end of the video where Gaga is stoned.  What would Jesus have to say about that?  Something along the lines of "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone" I would think.  And even after he spoke those words, the one who had never sinned chose to forgive instead of condemn.










2 comments:

Misty said...

Very nice interpretation.

Sinister Spinster said...

We are all in love with "Judas" in some way or another. Few of us recognize that much less admit it. Thank you for your review of this video. It made me take another, closer look.
On a side note, I think Mary Magdelene was a different person than the prostitute figure in the Gospels. I believe Magdelene was a full deciple and as close to him as John the Beloved. I think the confusion comes from thousands of years of paternalistic and misogynistic interpretation of scripture. Magdelene's person and contribution has devolved into legend and unearned disrepute.
Nevertheless, Lady Gaga's portrayal of a conflicted follower in all her confusion, remorse and love for her Savior is superb.