The quote is usually mis-quoted as “Money is the root of all evil”. The actual quote is “The love of money is the root of all evil”. (Timothy 6:10)
The love of money is greed. It has always been around but is rampant in our society at the moment and we are all paying a heavy price. The world in which I lived in the USA as a child in the 1950s is gone. In its place super wealthy corporations and the people who own them buy and sell our government as they please. Fear rules the day alongside greed. Many suffer and the wealthy want them to “eat cake”.
How does this impact singing? You have to dig a bit to figure it out.
If the driving force of everyday life is not to “make a profit” or “make a decent living” but to amass vast unlimited fortunes and live decadently in palaces, and if this “lifestyle” is to be adored by those who can never ever achieve even the smallest amount of financial abundance, then the values that accompany such ideas are also being sold and accepted to the public. If you own a TV station or a media company, and your market research tells you that the people who spend the most money are young men, and you also know that young men like sex and violence, then you will create programs or films that feature sex and violence (sometimes very extreme sex and violence) to make money. You will not worry about what message that sends out to the world, or the effect that message has on anyone, because your goal is to make the most money possible. If you own a TV show, and you can get more viewers by having people behave in disgusting ways (and this is rampant), and by having more viewers you can charge more for advertising, and in that way make more profits for your corporation (or its big wigs), then you do that. If anyone questions you, claim “censorship” and “prudishness” and “suppression of artistic creativity”.
Most of the media conglomerates are owned (if you dig to the bottom of their heap) by about 10 people globally. Rupert Murdoch, as an example, owns TV stations, radio stations and newspapers all over the world. He’s not alone. No matter how much money a corporation makes, or how much it pays to its stock holders or CEO’s, there is always more money to be made in the race to see who has the biggest pot of gold. You must appeal to the lowest common denominator because the money is made selling to mass markets and mass markets are drawn by the lowest common denominator of what we have available in our society. Sex, violence, conflict, and negative emotional intensity (fear and anger).
Recently, Lady Gaga included having someone come up during a performance and vomit on her. She did this, why? Perhaps it was to attract attention, to keep herself relevant, to be in the public eye, to buoy her reputation for being “shocking”, “strange”, “different”, or to seem “bold”? I have no idea. She may have done it for any reason but in the end fame produces wealth and wealth (in our society) produces power and power gives you freedom and you don’t have to answer for your behavior to anyone. That has been true for quite some time but it’s escalated to ridiculous proportions at this time.
So, I have this to say: Lady Gaga, you are talented. You do not need to stoop to such a vulgar, low and depraved state as having someone vomit on you as a “performance”, just to prove something. It does not make you seem “creative” or “amazing” or “different”, it makes you seem crass, tasteless, obnoxious and just plain stupid. It may be legal to behave this way, but why would you want to? If being famous instead of being talented is more important to you, please ask yourself why.
And to everyone else who thinks that “freedom of expression” as covered by the first amendment means that you can do anything and get away with anything by hiding behind “artistic license”, think again. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. In fact, in many cases, it means that you shouldn’t. Intelligence needs to meet art as a partner, not be buried in a plastic can. (see previous post)
Success can be a great thing and certainly wealth can also be a great thing but when wealth and success become a drug and people lose their way chasing those twin demons, no one is better off. Surely those who were at Lady Gaga’s performance will always remember it. The question is, do they really want to carry that memory around with them for decades? Life is too short to waste it on such garbage! People, walk away!