Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment’

Lady Gaga, Stick To Your “Guns”

Columbine (15 killed, 24 injured).  Virginia Tech (33 killed, 23 injured).  Northern Illinois University (6 killed, 21 injured).  Fort Hood, Texas (13 killed, 32 injured).  Tuscon, Arizona (6 killed, 14 injured).  Aurora, Colorado (12 killed, 58 injured).  Newtown, Connecticut (28 killed, 2 injured).  Before you call me out on it, there are discrepancies on the number of injuries  in several of these incidents — depending on the source.

That list of deadly mass shootings started before Columbine and there were many others before Newtown.  Sadly, this list will grow.

Gun Control

This blog isn’t about gun control, the Second Amendment, or who or what is to blame.

We live in a world that is consumed with violence.   We see it on television and at the movies, we hear about it in music, we read about it in books, magazines, and newspapers.  We hear about war and terrorist-related deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And, the Chicago Police Department reported 506 shooting deaths in 2012, which is up about 15% over the previous year.

I’ve touched on these subjects before:  “Why is My Chicago So Deadly This Year?” (July 6, 2012), “Another Senseless Tragedy in Colorado — Who’s To Blame?” (July 20, 2012), and “Entertainment Violence — When Is It Too Early For Business As Usual‏?” (July 23, 2012).  You can type in part of those title in the search at the top to read the original blogs.

Newtown CT

I’m revisiting this topic today because the blame game is still going on following the December 14, 2012, deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  And, some of it in the entertainment business is way off the mark and mean-spirited.

Sharon Osbourne, I’m talking to you.  You should be ashamed of yourself for bringing violence and entertainment into a cat fight between you, your daughter, Kelly, and Lady Gaga!

Sharon Kelly Osbourne- Lady Gaga

This entertainment feud erupted, as far as I’m concerned, when “Fashion Police” co-host Kelly Osbourne said, “I actually think she’s a good singer but she has the worst fans in the world” talking about Lady Gaga.

In an open letter to Kelly, Gaga responded, “I have empathy for you Kelly, but I feel it culturally important to note that you have chosen a less compassionate path.  Your work on E! with the Fashion Police is rooted in criticism, judgment, and rating people’s beauty against one another. ‘Appearance’ is the most used reason for bullying in the world. Your show breeds negativity, and over the years has even become comedic in nature. It glorifies you and Joan Rivers pointing in the camera, laughing, and making jokes about artists and celebrities as if we are zoo animals.”

And, then Mama Osbourne fired off this to Lady Gaga, “I am calling you a bully because you have 32 million followers hanging on your every word and you are criticizing Kelly in your open letter.  Are you so desperate that you needed to make this public?”

Sharon-Osbourne-The-Talk

If it had ended there, I wouldn’t be writing this today .  However, on Monday, on “The Talk”, Sharon spouted off about mean and hateful comments that a few Lady Gaga’s fans have posted on Gaga’s website and, sadly, Sharon even went so far as to say that one of Gaga’s “Little Monsters” could go on a shooting spree like the ones I addressed earlier!  Sharon said, “One person that wants attention, it takes nothing for this to happen.  Don’t let your fans be so hideously damaging, hurtful, violent.”

I’m truly appalled by that statement.  A viewer of “The Talk”, a reader of  my blog, or a fan of <insert actor or singer here> could go on a shooting spree.  How irresponsible of Sharon, just like her daughter saying that Gaga has the worst fans, to make that statement.  Yes, there are bad apples in every fan club.  And, with the internet, those bad apples can post mean-spirited things very easily.  But, to condemn a group based on a few, hateful people is wrong.

That is my personal opinion and I welcome yours, too.  You don’t have to agree with me, but do it with dignity.

And, then Sharon Osbourne addressed guns used as props and costumes in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Wall Ball Tour”.  The North American leg kicked off last Friday night in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Lady-Gaga-machine-gun-bra2Lady-Gaga-machine-gun-bra

Osbourne says, “However, everything is guns, guns, guns … Cut to her first performance on this new tour. She’s wearing two guns coming out of her breasts.”  And, “This is not right, and she should be stopped.”

Yes, that’s true.  And, she’s been wearing them since this tour kicked off in Asia in April 2012 and, even before that, for the “Alejandro” video that came out in June 2010.

Madonna faced the same backlash in 2012 on her “MDNA Tour” because of the violent nature of the first act and specifically the bloody, deadly song, “Gang Bang”.

Madonna Gang BangMadonna MDNA

Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” started in Israel in late May and there were many calls that she drop the guns from the show after the Aurora movie theater massacre in July 2012.    A representative for the singer said, “Madonna would rather cancel her show than censor her art. Her entire career, she has fought against people telling her what she can and cannot do. She’s not about to start listening to them now”.

I agreed with Madonna then and I stand behind Lady Gaga now.  She should continue the “Born This Way Ball Tour” just as it was conceived WITH the gun bra.

We cannot and should not censor every facet of entertainment industry that is violent.  We cannot blame Madonna, Lady Gaga, Quentin Tarantino, or anyone else in entertainment for the violence problem in the world.

Sadly, violence is a fact of life.  We don’t know when or where it’s going to happen, but it will happen.  Since violence was present in the Bible, it goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anthony

Entertainment Violence — When Is It Too Early For Business As Usual‏?

We may never know why the alleged lone gunman ambushed the movie theater showing the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises” (“TDKR”) in Aurora, Colorado, last Friday morning shooting 70 people and killing 12 of them.  That shooting spree is now the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

This blog is not about the Second Amendment.  I’ve already voiced my opinion about that in previous blogs.

The bottom line is that regardless of whatever laws we have in place in America, bad people or people suffering from mental illnesses can get weapons and go on shooting or murderous rampages that turn into tragedies like the one in Aurora, Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and the list goes on.

Last Friday, while families were still trying to find out if their loved ones were safe, at area hospitals, or if they were one of the victims, speculation began over what prompted the alleged mass murderer, James Holmes, to gun down so many people.

Some media outlets correlated the shootings with the 1986 “The Dark Knight Rises” comic book.  There will be other theories of how the world of entertainment, whether it’s violence in the songs we hear, the movies or television shows we watch, or the books that we read, played a role.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, some movies were delayed several months because of story lines involving terrorist plots or bombs on planes and some movies were edited to remove the World Trade Center, acts that referenced terrorism, or planes flying near buildings.

We’re already feeling the effects from the Aurora, Colorado, shootings.  Some movie promos for “TDKR” have been pulled from television in some cities, and Warner Bros. asked that the trailer to “Gangster Squad” (due in theaters September 7, 2012) be dropped before “TDKR” because there is a scene of a mass shooting of a movie theater audience with automatic weapons.

I fully understand the decision about dropping the previews to “Gangster Squad” or, at least, editing that scene from the trailer.  But, how soon is too soon to write or sing songs about acts of gun violence, showing people being gunned down in movies or on television shows, or even writing books that detail that aggression?

While I don’t know the answer to that question, I know what I feel in my heart.  I honestly know that the families of those that were killed or injured and those that escaped the madness physically unhurt have more on their minds right now that what is happening in the world of entertainment.  They are dealing with shock, sadness, and fear.

I can’t imagine that the movie companies decision to withhold box office results Sunday “out of respect” for the families really gave them that much solace.  I don’t think knowing whether “TDKR” broke any box office records this weekend is on their mind.

When my mother died on November 7, 1990, the last thing I thought about was the advanced sneak preview of “Home Alone” that upcoming weekend and its box office release the next weekend.  As funny as the movie looked prior to my mother’s death, it didn’t matter to me afterwards and I didn’t see until it was released on video the following year.

I can’t tell you anything else that happened the week after Miss ABBA, my golden retriever, died this past February.

Please don’t take what I’m writing out of context.  I feel for the families in Colorado although I didn’t know them.  I can’t imagine the pain they’re feeling knowing that their loved ones were out for a night of fun and excitement and now some of them will never know how the Batman trilogy ended and their families are planning funerals and praying that their hospitalized loved ones will recover.

However, I don’t think that we should begin editing every thing that is being released in the next few months.  As I said before, the families of those injured and killed could probably care less about music, movies, books, and concerts at this time or for a long to time to come.

I’m writing this because the first thing in the entertainment world that came to mind was Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” that is currently playing in Europe.  It makes its North American debut in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 28, 2012.

In the “Transgression” segment of the concert, guns play a very integral part in the third and fourth songs in the show, “Revolver” and “Gang Bang”.  This show was developed well before the Colorado shootings and it debuted in Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 31, 2012.

Sunday night, on its homepage, msn.com had a headline to grab your attention, “Singer brings guns on stage for show” and then it asked in the story, “Was Madonna edgy or just plain insensitive?”  Remember, this exact show has been going on for months.  This wasn’t something that she did the night after the Colorado shootings in Scotland to garner attention.

In England, Mothers Against Guns told the Daily Record, “Madonna and her dancers using replica guns was always in bad taste but given what happened in Colorado it is even worse.  She should know better.”

While this could apply to any genre of entertainment, I’ll focus on Madonna since the tour is coming to United States and it will be in Denver, Colorado, on October 18, 2012, less than three months after the Aurora movie massacre.

So, while the “MDNA Tour” will have been visited 33 cities across Asia and Europe before its late August North American debut, should it be altered in the United States?

For those of you unfamiliar with the song “Gang Bang”, from the deluxe edition of Madonna’s latest album, “MDNA”, here’s a sample of the lyrics, “And Then I Discovered It Couldn’t Get Worse/You Were Building My Coffin/You Were Driving My Hearse/Bang Bang (Shot You Dead)/Bang Bang (In the Head)/Bang Bang, Shot You Dead/Shot My Lover In the Head/Bang Bang, Shot You Dead/Now I Have No Regret”.

It’s a very violent song, but definitely a stand out on the “MDNA” album.  In concert, the onstage dramatization is even more visual.

I can separate reality from entertainment.  I know when I see “Dexter” kill bad guys on the Showtime series that it’s not real and that I cannot go out and do the same thing.  I know when Madonna sings about killing an ex-lover and dramatizes it live on stage on tour that it’s not reality.  However, some people can’t do that.  Luckily, for us, that is a much smaller number.

I don’t want Madonna to drop “Gang Bang” her from highly choreographed show when it comes to North America.  I want to see the tour as it was developed and orchestrated despite the tragedy in Colorado.

But, even with that being said, I’m really torn about the Denver concert in October.  Hardcore Madonna fans that bought tickets already know about the gun play and the depicted violence.  Some of them, maybe a large number of them, may feel uneasy about it now.  Will three months be enough time for people to heal?  I’m not sure, but I’m thinking, no.

Should that show just be cancelled?  Should “Revolver” and “Gang Bang” be dropped from that one concert?  Or, should Madonna perform those songs in Denver and then likely be accused of being “insensitive”?

What are your thoughts?

Anthony