There was a bit of a kerfuffle on the interwebz a few weeks ago surrounding the Grammy awards. Unfortunately, it was over the wrong song.
While far too many Christian outlets were concerned that Katy Perry had performed witchcraft on stage (she didn't), there seemed to be less outcry over the much more insidious lyrics in Jay-Z's portion of his wife's song "Drunk in Love," where he puts himself as Mike Tyson (convicted rapist) biting off Holyfield's ear and Ike Turner the Abuser (Google "Eat the cake, Anna Mae" if you don't know what I'm talking about).
If anyone did mention Beyonce, it was for her quasi-cabaret chair dance, not the implicit condoning of domestic violence.
One of the many problems we face today is sex, but not in the way most people scream about it. Stuck as we are between the libertines and the puritans, we as Catholics have to offer a third way that balances these views, which sometimes means picking the lesser of two evils and finding people in popular culture who get it at least partially right.
Which is why I like Bruno Mars. But more on him in a minute.
Ever noticed how depressing it is to listen to Lady Gaga? I mean, I know she's immensely popular, and has the "Little Monster" following and all, but almost every song of hers that makes it to the radio is either about how she's perfect and doesn't need to change, or how meaningless sex is. Here's a quick sampling of some of her more... uh... "profound" lyrics:
Let's have some fun, this beat is sick, I want to take a ride on your disco stick.
Don't call my name... don't wanna kiss, don't wanna touch, just smoke my cigarette and hush.Not to mention pretty much all of "Bad Romance," "I Like it Rough," and "Judas." Watching the music videos offers another glimpse into what she seems to think about sex, love, and relationships, and it's not pretty.
Which brings me to the sexy sex that is "Do What U Want."
You can't have my heart
And you won't use my mind but
Do what you want with my body.
Now, to be fair, it's clear that she's at least partially talking to people talking about her/paparazzi, so it would seem that she is possibly using "body" to mean "image" or "appearance" - in essence a meaningless shell which is not really her. Of course then some rapper comes in singing about how he'll "Do what I want, what I want with your body, back of the club, talking shots, getting naughty," so there's still no escaping the sexual aspect.
This should be profoundly disturbing to us, that what is being pumped into our cars and our homes as "culture" is saying that it's okay if he's just using you for your body, because he's not worth your heart and not capable of your mind. In its attempt to be all rawr and liberating, it makes sex less than an icebreaker, a heartless, thoughtless, animal activity with no meaning.
Which is why I like Bruno Mars.
As someone once said, at least the pagans remembered that sex was a good thing while they were getting it wrong. Temple prostitution certainly objectified women as simply means to access the divine, but on the scale of ways to get sex wrong, it at least recognizes the grandeur that is human sexuality.
And so we have Mr. Mars who sings that "your sex takes me to paradise/and you make me feel like I've been locked out of heaven for too long."
Right on, Mr. Mars. Right on.
I mean, stop fornicating, because you're still objectifying your girlfriend and using her as a means to an end, but you've got the right idea.
My job, as a husband, is to get my wife to heaven. Her job, as my wife, is to get me to heaven. Part of that is certainly in the way which only someone who truly loves you can call you out to be a better person, for my wife loves me as I am, but loves me too much to let me stay as I am.
However, in a great mystery echoing the joy of the union between Christ and His Church, protected by marriage contra the libertines, enjoyed thoroughly contra the puritans, when the two become one, they touch heaven.