Lady Gaga’s latest electronic driven single, “Born This Way” intros and outros with what sounds like the opening to every movie produced by Marvel Entertainment in the last five years- a sort ofDark Knightdroning of cellos and violins. It immediately grabs your interest.
After two short lines of dialogue the beat settles into a rather familiar La Roux-like sound (“Bullet Proof”). I have no doubt this track will be beaten to death in dance clubs and modern bars for the next twelve months. “Born This Way” will sidle up next to great dance mixes of the 90s like “Return of the Mack” (Mark Morrison).
For whatever criticism Gaga will suffe,r having joined a virtually irrelevant class of beat thrashers, she is also due some praise for producing pop music with intriguing vocal interplay. Will her tracks last? Probably. Take a tour of used CD stores in about five years and the overabundance of Gaga tracks will betray one important point: she did her job of selling albums. After all, my four year old still breaks out into, “pa-pa paparazzi,” with zero provocation and “po-po-po poker face” as though she was learning these songs right along side “Ho-Ho-Ho Hosannah.” Of course she prefers the Glee Version of “Poker Face” (Glee The Music: Volume 3).
Loving the man: him or Him…
The first line of the song is is just too interesting to pass up. It’s pretty much impossible to fully grab the point (if any) Gaga is attempting to make with the dramatic words, “It doesn’t matter if you love him or capital H-i-m.” However, one thing is sure, she is most definitely standing up for some kind of marginalized group of people; perhaps overpaid rock stars. The point becomes distorted as she moves from early visions of mom telling her that “we were all superstars,” to a commentary on race as being beautiful regardless. Regardless of what, I do not know.
If the deafening theme of equalization has found its way into the psyche of those whom you care for, consider this provocative point: when we’re all equal, who truly deserves help? Don’t give up! I know it’s tough to re-engage the mind after having the grey matter pounded out of your head but this stuff matters. The fact that there is inequality in the world is not new news. However, popsters would seem to think that equality for all will meet the needs of all. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I am the exact same as the homeless guy on the street (whom I walk by everyday on the way to work); “born this way,” “the same DNA,” “all the same,” then I have just as much right to leave him stranded in poverty. Regardless of his appearance, he’s obviously not in need because he was born that way and like Gaga reminds us, “God doesn’t make mistakes.”
It is for this horrifying reason that it actually does matter which man you love: him or capital “H-i-m.” If I’m just another man, who picks what he does and doesn’t care about then I’m going to choose to care about myself every time. But if I love Him, the best Man, God who tells me about a better way to live than for myself, then I might do some good. God’s standard is selfless. It is not based on equality, rather it is based on service: service to men and women regardless of their race, gender, sexual preference, intelligence or financial statement. Equality, in the post-modern sense is the greatest form of discrimination because it says we all have equal rights when in fact we most definitely do not. The goal is not to just blankly say, “We’re all the same!” Instead the goal is to recognize that inequality exists and choose regularly to place ourselves below the poor, homeless and broken, as their servant. That’s true love!
Ya you were “born this way”…now what?
Lady Gaga, in true pop fashion and apparently at her mother’s knee picks a tag line that sounds provocative and drills into the subconscious of our culture with no need to explain herself. The final criticism of irrelevant pop-cultural ideology is not going to be its hedonistic, self absorbed, indulged and otherwise preoccupied mentality, it will be its inability to complete a thought. We have thoughtless lyricists filling the mouths of otherwise talented people like Lady Gaga, who is herself, like all of us, “born this way;” an empty vessel in need of filling.
The truth is, God did not make us “this way.” He made Adam and Eve sinless in the garden, it is the result of sin in the world that we are now born sinful and surrounded by sin. Gage refers to her mantra, “born this way,” as the “religion of the insecure.” Perhaps she is playing her pop-religious ideas against a typical Christian fundamentalism that has told imperfect people, “If you are perfect then you can be a part of our club!” If that’s the case, on behalf of Christendom I apologize! Our Lord loves and welcomes you to come just as you are. (Luke 5:31-32). But ‘who you are’ will never be enough to get freedom from inequality, whether social inequality here on earth or moral inequality with God. Our Lord loves and welcomes imperfect sinners…but doesn’t leave them that way! In Christ we become new creations ready to love God and serve our neighbors.
Spread this track around and don’t be afraid to engage the ideas! They are partially formed but might still provoke some good conversation with kids and friends. Maybe this song could be a conversation starter to a discussion about how we are born sinful, but that God has a plan of redemption that is open to all people!