Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bride of Satan?

English is not my mother tongue, but I like to think of myself as rather proficient in it.  I don't mean to brag, I just think that it would be a fair assessment to say that I have a good grasp of the English language.  I have extra reason to be proud of my ESL skills today because it turns out I am much better at it than large numbers of my English speaking peers.

As I discussed in my previous post, the South African Council of Churches tried to prevent Lady Gaga from performing in South Africa.  The following message was spread by many concerned Christians via social media:

“Lady Gaga! Real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.  She sold her soul to the devil for fame and fortune, suddenly having 8 million followers on Twitter, top selling artist and the top winner at the Grammys. This is clearly the devil at work!

Fellow believers in Christ Jesus, you may or may not know the seriousness of what I am saying now. We need to stand firm against the Lady Gaga concert. She is a self-confessed Satanist and the bride of Satan. Letting her into SA will bring spells of evil.”

For the moment, lets ignore the fact that we have people talking about "spells of evil" in the year 2012.  Instead I would like to draw your attention to the second last claim about her being a "self-confessed Satanist and the bride of Satan".  This very quickly became a meme amongst Christians opposing Lady Gaga.  Anytime an article about her was posted online, dozens of comments calling her a "self-confessed bride of satan" would suddenly show up.  For some, that claim wasn't enough going on to say things like:
"O and she not only confessed to be satans bride, she also said she is his nr 1 bride. If she isn hiding it I wonder why satans children are teying to hide it? Doesnt make any sense? Anyways deceit should be the order of the day when it comes to satan and his kingdom so maybe it makes perfect sense. What ever, not interested."  *
See, she's didn't only confess to being Satan's bride, she claims to be his Number One Bride.  That seemed like an odd thing to me since I consider myself pretty clued up on Gaga-facts and have never heard her confessing anything of the sort.  Heck, even Lady Gaga herself was kind of surprised by it.  So I decided to fact check this claim.  I figured it was probably something being taken out of context, seeing as how the good folks concerned with demonic influences in music tend to overlook things like subtlety, nuance, context, humour and theatricality.

This guy knows what I'm talking about!
So after an exhaustive search of the internet I found ... nothing.  Nothing at all.  This claim is not based on anything Lady Gaga said at any time.  Turns out this is one of those self sufficient internet rumours that people believe is true because other people are saying it's true.  The only places you will find Lady Gaga being a self-confessed bride of Satan (or number one bride) is in claims by concerned Christians that she is a self-confessed bride of Satan. 

Still, I was curious about where it all started.  Sure, absurd claims can live on the internet indefinitely, sheltered away from reality  for as long as the gullible can keep regurgitating and swallowing the same stupid claim.  However they have to come from somewhere originally and since it didn't come from anything Lady Gaga said, the question remained - where is this coming from?  Well according to Google Trends, this claim appeared only twice, right now and early 2011.  As near as I can tell, the source for this traces back to an anonymous email that was widely circulated at the time.  Here it is exactly as it showed up in my inbox back then (minus the random fonts and colours of course):
"The Song “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga.

Very subtly the devil sneaks into our lives to steal and destroy souls!

We don’t even realise that just by singing the lyrics of a seemingly ‘innocent’ song with a nice tune, we open the door wider for his evil spirit!!

‘Alejandro’ means: man’s defender and protector’ (GOD).
‘Fernando’ means: ardent for peace (JESUS).
‘Roberto’ means: bright or shiningly framed (HOLY SPIRIT).
‘Babe’ is the same as ‘child’

Now the lyrics again:

“Don’t call my name; don’t call my name, Alejandro(GOD).I’m not your child, i’m not your child, Fernando (JESUS). Don’t call my name; don’t call my name, Roberto (HOLY SPIRIT) Alejandro; Alejandro (GOD), Just let me go.”

People, please stop listening to Lady Gaga! Real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. She sold her soul to the devil for fame and fortune, suddenly having 8 million followers on Twitter; top selling artist, and the top winner at the Grammys. This is clearly the devil at work!

Remember the images with her inside the egg carried on a cross? Hatching from an egg signifies the cold blooded rebirth. Implanted horns on her shoulders and cheek bone indicating the transformed BRIDE OF SATAN!

(Save a soul and pass this on)
I received it, and I’ve passed it on. The blood is off my shoulder…


That may be the most tortured exegesis I've ever seen.  So you take half the lyrics, translate the names then do a double logic backflip to somehow relate those names to the Trinity and then a song about a girl saying goodbye to her latin lovers becomes a confession of satanism.  Excuse my while I slam my head against the desk for a bit.


By this logic you can take the statement "I like apples" and turn it into an endorsement of witch burning.  Apples come from trees, trees are made of wood, we use wood for fires, fires were used to to burn witches THEREFORE when someone says "I like apples" they OBVIOUSLY really mean they enjoy seeing women burn at the stake.  Right?  Or maybe this kind of tortured analysis is bullshit and maybe things just mean what they appear to mean.

See this is the bit that makes me feel pretty good about my English Language reading comprehension skills.  I know what "self-confessed" means.  Pity though that none of the people passing on this rumor has the foggiest idea.  See, self-confessed means someone actually explicitly admitted to something.  For instance my blogging friend Ali is a self-confessed vegan as well as a self-confessed fan of Cabin Pressure.  I would also be within my rights to call my blogging friend Dasia a self-confessed fan of roller derby and Benedict Cumberbatch.  I know I am correct in saying this because if you were to go to their blogs you would find them admitting those very things!  I didn't have to analyze or infer or deduce much of anything, they flat out stated it.  On the other hand if I called them "self-confessed Olympic gold medalist transvestites"** that would be wrong because a) that is factually incorrect and b) they never said anything remotely like that!!!

Seriously people, I know the English language can be tricky at times, what with flammable and inflammable meaning the same thing and all, but come on!  Self-confessed is not a hard word or concept!  It pretty much means exactly what it says!  Surely the idea of things meaning what they appear to mean has not lost all meaning yet?  Words mean things.  They mean specific things.  They can't just mean whatever you'd like them to mean instead of what they actually mean.  Am I alone here?  Is everyone else taking crazy pills?!

*This person is on my friends list so I happen to know that, contrary to his claims of not being interested, he would pounce on every possible opportunity to post this on any thread related to Gaga.  Repeatedly.
**Dear Ali and Dasia, if this accidentally becomes a meme I am really really sorry!