Amusing interpretation of “Happy Birthday”

Here’s a clip that my friend Abigail brought to my (well, all her Facebook friends’) attention.  It’s really amusing if you know a little bit about the history of Western classical music.

Madonna = Satan?

Polish Catholics–led by the usually-cool Lech Walesa–are protesting Madonna’s upcoming concert, slated for August 15: the Feast of the Assumption as well as the Polish Armed Forces Day.  They say her music is blasphemous/overly sexual/”a satanic provocation” (ouch!).

I understand their point, kind of.  Madonna’s music isn’t exactly in line with Church teaching, and Poland is a country that likes its Church.  If I were a Polish Catholic (and admittedly I’m 0 for 2 on that front) I would probably not care so much, and just not go to the concert if I disagreed with her message–and I don’t disagree with it, so that’s that.  Although I still probably wouldn’t go, because I’ve never liked her music, and her arms are too bionic for my taste these days.

I think it’s fine for Poles to register protest if they have one.  But frankly the only reason Madonna is playing a concert there (and basically the only reason she plays anywhere) is to make a profit.  If people are so against it, the best way to keep the concert from happening is to boycott buying tickets.  Overblown statements, such as this gem from Father Stanislaw Malkowski, just make the cause look silly:

This is an attack by the devil on our immaculate Catholic nation.

Her music not in line with your beliefs, Father Stosh?  Probably.  Devilish?  Meh.  Not likely.

Blatantly fishing for hits

I’ve noticed that this site’s been getting some traffic from (hooray for WordPress’s blog stats).  Alpha Inventions is this software that links to a bunch of blogs and the best I can describe it is that it’s like the shuffle function on your iPod, but for blogs.  And if a blogger writes a post that includes the url, the blog automatically gets added to this giant iTunes library of cyberspace, and then the blog gets more hits.

So that’s what I’m doing.  Because I want more hits.

Quick hit: Bob Dylan’s Xmas album

Bob Dylan (who was born Jewish but went through a Jesus phase back in the day and is now apparently going through a Chabad phase among others) has decided to record a Christmas album.  I know there’s a long tradition of Jewish folks writing/performing Christmas tunes, but this is kind of beyond Irving Berlin.

These days, Jews, for the most part, don’t have to apologize for being Jews the way they did in Berlin’s day.  We don’t have to assimilate as musicians by writing Christmas songs, or recording them, for that matter.  So why is Dylan doing this?  My money is on shock value, novelty, pure aesthetic enjoyment, or hopes of making lots of money.  We’ll see.

What’s under Lady Gaga’s leotard?

The internets have been buzzing with news that Lady Gaga is possibly a hermaphrodite (or is “intersex” more appropriate? please enlighten me if you know), as video footage from one of her concerts shows her getting off a moped-like thing and pulling a Britney Spears in the audience’s direction.  If you look real hard at ~1:10 and squint your eyes, it kind of looks like there might be more going on down there than we had previously thought.

So of course lots of people are talking about how crazy/gross/maybe kinda hot this is, and whether she really has the parts she’s now purported to have or whether this is just a stunt.  I frankly don’t really care; she is who she is.  What I do hope is that this provokes meaningful conversation about the interplay between (biological) sex and gender, and the complex ways in which we choose to go about presenting our sexual identity to the rest of the world.

Because Lady Gaga is, without a doubt, the current mainstream artist most able to provoke those kinds of conversations.  She’s aware that she is as much performance artist as singer and she fully intends to provoke discussion about sex, sexuality and gender.  Let’s roll with it then, and talk about body parts, etc. regardless of the kind(s) that Gaga was born with.

Also, if this is true, it leads to endless possibilities for jokes about how her muffin is bluffin’.  Just saying.

On another note: here’s an interesting take on her unconventional fashion choices–that she’s doing it to emulate avant-garde architecture and design.

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