Did The Jakarta Globe’s editorial go gaga over Lady Gaga?

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Indonesia’s Twitterverse and the Liberal-minded are aghast.

In today’s editorial (below) The Jakarta Globe, seen by some as being until lately a progressive force in Indonesia, seemingly condoned the decision to nix Lady Gaga’s controversial would-be concert in Indonesia.

The editorial begins by saying that the organizers made the right decision to cancel Lady Gaga’s show because of security concerns. Fair enough. It then says the paper does not condone violence or threats to forward an agenda. Good point.

Then it gets interesting: “It is not about how she dresses, which is needlessly provocative, but about what she sings and the lyrics of her songs. It is about the lack of morality in what she represents. Youth will typically be rebellious and anti-establishment.

This is puzzling. Lady Gaga sings a lot of shit that typically appeal to youth. Rebellious, anti-establishment, aimed to shock. The same type of music that horrified the morals of the parent generation in the time of the Sex Pistols and Marilyn Manson. Go a bit further back and Elvis Presley, with his obscene gyrations, was considered a devil spawn by the Establishment then.

So if you take Lady Gaga in a historical perspective, she is as dangerous – or not – as the Sex Pistols, Marilyn Manson and Elvis in leading our youth to Hell and damnation. Surprisingly, may of these youth are in positions of responsibility and frowning on lady Gaga these days.

The Globe editorial then becomes a bit confusing: “But it is also important that we inculcate in them the proper Indonesian values that will put them in good standing when they enter into adulthood. Given the divisiveness and the controversy created, the decision to cancel Lady Gaga’s show was the correct one.”

Why canceling Lady Gaga’s show was the correct one when it comes to putting these youth on the correct path of Proper Indonesian Values is never quite explained.

And finally, the very interesting denoument which is actually composed of two half formed thoughts 1: “We must all show maturity and understanding about the cultural sensitivities in our communities.” and 2: “We must accept that Indonesian society is different and that we cannot be expected to be as liberal as other societies” juxtaposed to give the illusion of proper reasoning.

Thought #1 is a truism. Nobody can argue against the fact that we all should show maturity and understanding about the cultural sensitivities in our communities. You can make that argument even in America, homeland of Lady Gaga and no one can disagree with you on this.

Thought #2 is a combination of a truism: “We must accept that Indonesian society is different” and a fallacious conclusion “we cannot be expected to be as liberal as other societies.”

Which societies are we talking about. Saudi Arabia, Puritan America, The Mormons, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China? It would be helpful if The Globe were to elaborate on that. (And let’s not have the tired argument that you have only so many words to write an editorial. A journalistic rule is also that if a story or opinion is that important you should be creative and find space for it).

This editorial has, naturally, stirred up controversy and criticism in Indonesia’s Twitterverse, the current cool hangout for Indonesia’s chattering classes and liberal sentiment. One of them is a string of criticisms against The Globe by @AubreyBelford, the Asia Correspondent for http://www.theglobalmail.org.

But enough of what Unspun, Aubrey and The Globe says. What do readers really think? (and if you’re not satisfied with the poll, you can always leave a comment)

Editorial: Gaga Concert is Too Hot For Indonesia | The Jakarta Globe

The saga over Lady Gaga’s concert is finally over now that the pop star decided to cancel her Jakarta show. The reason was security concerns and, given the public controversy, it was definitely the right decision. Certainly her large fan base in Indonesia will be disappointed. It is also unfortunate that the concert was called off due to security concerns. The country’s police had assured both fans and organizers that it would be possible for the show to proceed. There are larger issues at play, though. Indonesia is a vibrant, diverse democracy and as such the authorities had to take into consideration all voices. It is their job to ensure that all segments of society have their voices heard. We do not condone the use of violence and threats to allegedly push an agenda. We do not condone breaking the law and damaging property just to make a point, as some groups have allegedly done recently. Such behavior is unwelcome in a democratic, civilized society. There are, however, many justifiable reasons for opposing acts like Lady Gaga, such as the messages these supposed artists project. It is not about how she dresses, which is needlessly provocative, but about what she sings and the lyrics of her songs. It is about the lack of morality in what she represents. Youth will typically be rebellious and anti-establishment. But it is also important that we inculcate in them the proper Indonesian values that will put them in good standing when they enter into adulthood. Given the divisiveness and the controversy created, the decision to cancel Lady Gaga’s show was the correct one. We must all show maturity and understanding about the cultural sensitivities in our communities. We must accept that Indonesian society is different and that we cannot be expected to be as liberal as other societies.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom says:

    And let’s not forget Soekarno, himself no stranger to risque behaviour, labelled Western music as ‘nyak-nyik-nyok,’ and jailed the now-classic band Koes Plus, whose songs are a staple for the baby-booming 60-something pejabats at Karaoke. Good to see the Globe has caught up to 1950s America.

    Like

  2. ahtiongbu says:

    It’s not perplexing at all. The Globe is owned by Lippo Group (Riadys). They are staunch Christians. What other editorial line would you expect?

    Like

  3. rokibull says:

    my favorite is heartbeat and everythings gonna be alright

    Like

  4. Jefry says:

    These problems are long gone and the decision to cancel the Lady Gaga concert in Jakarta.
    As a Muslim I am very pleased with the end like this and at least the youth could be more berkonsentarsi still unstable with their education and their worship.

    Like

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