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Judas v Like a Prayer

Judas v Like a Prayer

I have been wanting to do this for quite a while and now with the Vulgate for the Vulgar happening, I thought this would make for a good diversion.  It is more healthy for starters, hopefully includes a few laughs, and now that Lady Gaga's official "Judas" video is out, a comparison can be done.  Secondly, it could be more entertaining than the mundane Vulgar subject.

By the way, for all you Evangelical Fundamentalists out there, Vulgar does not mean vile, but rather "common people" and the Vulgate was written for the common people who could read, which was generally the well-to-do people and not the actual commoners.  The actual common people learned the Bible via pictures in stain glass, but leave it to us non-theists to have a little fun with your religion.

Anyway, everyone tries to compare Lady Gaga with Madonna.  I say there is no comparison.  While I like them both and they are both good in their own right, there are aspects of both videos and songs that I like better than the other.

Let us get down to the nitty-gritty of the two videos.  Madonna's video is more spiritual, at least to me, and Lady Gaga's is more rebellious.  The sex scenes do not compare in the least.  In fact, Gaga's is not a sex scene, but rather an abusive scene.  Madonna's is a hot scene kinkily portrayed in a church (I recently wrote a Star Trek: Voyager story with a holodeck scene where Chakotay and Janeway did it in a church), while Gaga's scene is in a hot tub in some medieval setting.  Not to mention, Madonna has the cuter, hotter, and sexier more realistic Judas.  Sorry, Gaga, but your taste in men… Then again, Gaga's men are all part of a motorcycle gang or rather the disciples are a motorcycle gang, which could be better than the Disciples.  Thing is, I am not talking about those in the Bible, but none of her disciples, much less her Jesus, are wearing purple, which is suppose to be a royal colour.

Madonna's video has a story line to it, while Gaga's has various scenes from a variety of time periods, which make no sense at all, much like some religious theology.  Gaga is going to bring down a king with no crown, I think, and while she is a "holy fool" or "horny fool" ,  Madonna is actually making love.  However, if Gaga is referring to Mary Magdalene, she has the hooker, prostitute, wench thing all wrong, in which ever version you find.

Why don't we take a look at the two videos before we continue, just so everyone knows what I am talking about and "Get Into the Groove":

Gaga's first since hers is newer:

Now Madonna's Like a Prayer:

Now we can continue with the comparison more easily. Oh God! I think I'm falling for Madonna's Judas… But seriously, I think Madonna is more authentic in her portrayal of Judas, if he were a real character that is.

As I said, Madonna has a story line in her video.  Madonna is running from something, as we see burning crosses.  She ends up witnessing a woman being assaulted by a bunch of white men and this black man comes along to help the victim.  The police arrive, assume the man hurt the woman, and take him to jail without any questions.  Racial profiling at its finest.

Gaga begins with a disciple biker gang and I don't think there are twelve, but rather ten.  I am uncertain if she is riding with Jesus and Judas rides up beside them, but she sticks her tongue in the man's ear that she is riding with and gives him a thrill while riding the bike.  I will give her credit, the dude she is riding with is possibly biracial and she has good stomach muscles, but compared to Madonna, she has no guts in the modern age.  If she is going to have a rebellious character, she might as well go all out and not just in a skimpy dance performance where she shows off her belly button like a sultan's belly dancer or a dancing biker babe, which ever.  Suddenly, Gaga looks like she has become a pirate with no rhyme or reason.

Madonna?  Well she goes into a church looking for shelter, help, or safety?  It is a typical possible thought for many people, especially when life has suddenly become a bewildering mystery with many questions.  Why so much violence when the world is already so unkind and why are people so cruel and hateful to others?

Once in the church she sees so many neuro-stimulating items that her senses are overwhelmed, especially when the man she saw taken way by the police is behind bars in the church.  He is in so much pain that he is crying and drops the rose before her as she become attracted to him.

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga, whose Judas is cruel, is patting Peter's back during a drunken dancing pirate party, with no storyline, of which I mentioned already.  She still wants to bring him down and what for I don't know at this point, the video does not give us any clue.  Maybe she has a dysfunctional relationship with him and wants to make him walk the plank.  Who knows, but wait!  Now we're in the middle of a bar fight!  I am so confused as to why she is a barmaid in an saloon and pawing Jesus or Judas?  I somehow get the impression the jock dude is Judas, but I am uncertain, and while I am confused, she is now in medieval Europe as some sort of… Lady?  We are back to her showing off her muscular stomach again at the same time.  Twice her age and two kids later, Madonna and I can do the same thing.  What of it?  All I can say is, "Look Ma!  No stretch marks!"

Back to Madonna, who has a storyline that makes sense…

She lays down on a pew, takes a nap, and starts dreaming.  Heaven help her, she is now kissing Judas' feet, and then releases him from his cage.  At this point, it really starts to get good, because Judas, Judas…

When he comes to me, I am ready
I'll wash his feet with my hair if he needs

Just like a prayer

Madonna is going to take him there eventually, but not yet.  He kisses her on the cheek and forehead.  Then she watches him depart, but before either of them takes the other anywhere she must experience Stigmata first.  Except she only experiences one of the five wounds of Stigmata, so she does not have to suffer very long, but mind you, she is still dreaming and has not yet awaken.  As sleeping beauty, she watches a full "Godspell" choir.  Can I get a "Glory Hallelujah"?

Meanwhile, Gaga holds a gun to Judas or is that Jesus?  I'm so confused at this point, but she holds it to his stomach, which is the worst of the five wounds of Stigmata, but I'm not feeling it.  I am into the song, but not into the video, because I cannot figure out what sort of story she is trying to tell.  Of course, the dude who loves her tongue and belly action is watching with a smile, but wait a minute… She moves the gun to the Jock dude's face.  That has nothing to do with Stigmata, so where is the numinous feeling in this video?

In the most Biblical sense,
I am beyond repentance
Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind
But in the cultural sense
I just speak in future tense
Judas kiss me if offensed,
Or wear ear condom next time

Um… yeah.  He needs one.  I'm just not feeling the video here, Gaga.  So let's go back to the Full "Godspell" choir that takes us there in the midnight hour with angels sighing.

Madonna appears to leave the church and has a flashback to the assault scene, but she is still in the church dreaming.  So this is most definitely a flashback and it is troubling her greatly. The woman is stabbed in the side, the most fatal wound of the Stigmata.  The black man comes to help, but is hauled off again, with a white man giving Madonna a snide look, as though to call her a slur.  Again we see burning crosses, which is symbolic of an actual reality and the pain of it can be felt.  Madonna maybe dancing at this point, but her facial expression and the act of wrapping her arms around herself show a variety of feelings.  If you pause it right when she has her arms fully crossed in front of her, it looks as though she is suffering with mental anguish and the fact that the man was hauled off to jail, it was not as it seemed.  The reality of the story is totally different from what was assumed, but we go back to total neurological Godspell in the church.

Meanwhile, Gaga still has the gun pointed in the Jock dude's face.  She paints his mouth with lipstick and falls as though she were shot.  Now we go to some nonsensical water and hot tub mix scene, which finally does go to a hot tub scene, but it is hardly as kinky as Madonna's love scene.  The woman has claws, which you see when she washes feet.  What is it?  An apocalyptic scene or a foot washing scene?  Well, we know there is not going to be any Second Coming, so anyone's guess is good.

OK, so the Jock dude must be Judas, because he kisses the dude with the weird crown on both cheeks.  That and you finally get a view of the name on the back of his jacket, which says "Judas".  Then it gets a bit… well, I don't know.  I don't think I would appreciate any man forcing me down as he has his hands on my face.  Seems a bit abusive, but she's just a horny… um… holy fool, depending on which lyrics you stumble upon and Jesus is her burden… no that's not right.  Jesus is her virtue, while Judas is a demon she clings to and once again she shows off her abs.  The next scene with Judas, I am not about to describe.  I figure the audience can make a description for themselves, because I cannot figure out a creative way to describe that, in which young readers will not comprehend.

Meanwhile, Judas comes back to Madonna in the church and a woman touches her on the forehead to either bless or heal her.  That part I am unsure of, but at least her dream makes a little more sense than Gaga's debauchery.

Judas is back and now this is love, pure Sexual Healing.  It is total heavenly love as he kisses her again and takes her there on the pew.  It's getting hot in here! Blood, sweat, and tears, they take each other there in total ecstasy!  Now THAT'S a love scene, better than Kirk kissing Uhura in the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren", which was the first interracial kiss on TV back in the late 60s.  Madonna is obviously satisfied and happy.  You go, girl!

Gaga on the other hand is dancing in her pirate costume insisting that she is so in love with Judas, who seems more of an abuser than a lover.  Of course, for her ways she gets stoned to death… in medieval clothing.  Nice.  Let's just perpetuate misogyny while we are at it.  Personally, I prefer the song alone without the video, because it sounds more symbolic of an abusive lover that she wants to take down, but is stuck in a cycle of abuse.  The music is good and she knows there are better men out there than Judas.

Finally, Madonna sees Judas get locked up in his cage again and wakes up from her wonderfully blissful sensuous dream, despite the fact it was mixed with a traumatic scene.  It was still transcending.  She sits up, sees Judas behind bars, and remembers the man who was accused of something he did not do.  She heads to the jail, tells what she saw to a policeman, and the man is released with a happy ending.

For two women who grew up Catholic, there is  no comparison.  Madonna showed all the symbolism of religion, while still having a story line.  She showed all the pain and agony that one can go through, as well as human love and compassion.  In the end, she drops the fairytale, stands on her own two feet, does the right thing, and gets the innocent man out of jail, despite having society ridicule her for it.  That in itself brings on a good feeling and without the neuro-stimulating items in the church, such as candles, music, symbolic imagery, and dancing.

Lady Gaga?  Well, I guess if a woman has sex with the wrong man, she gets barbarically stoned to death, just as the Bible says.  However, Madonna had more symbolic neuro-stimuli in her video, in which to "Get Into the Groove".  Gaga "Can Dance", with excellent choreography, but she cannot tell a story in her video.  She does not need a "get out of hell free card" though.  She just needs better video scene writers with better imaginations and maybe more knowledge of symbolic theology.  Her lyrist is great though.

Of the accusations that Lady Gaga is copying Madonna, this is what she had to say about that (slightly edited due to language):

“I feel like honestly that God sent me those ["Judas"] lyrics and that melody,” Lady Gaga said crying.

“That’s retarded,” Lady Gaga said of copycat accusations. “If you put the songs next to each other, side by side, the only similarities are the chord progression. It’s the same one that’s been in disco music for the last 50 years. Just because I’m the first f***ing artist in 25 years to think of putting it on Top 40 radio, it doesn’t mean I’m a plagiarist, it means I’m f***ing smart. Sorry.”

“I am not stupid enough to put a record out and be that moronic. Why would I try to put a song out and think I’m getting one over on everybody?”

I do not even hear the same chords and I do not see any similarities in the videos, much less the songs.  On top of it all, Gaga does not even appear to be Mary Magdalene in the video.  Maybe I do not understand Lady Gaga's videos or maybe Madonna has more theatrical experience.  Which ever, there is no similarity in my mind between the two, unlike the Gospel stories, which are similar to Horus and other mythical stories.  Gaga is bold and rebellious, but Madonna is bold and daring with a story line.

Not only that, Madonna did "Like a Prayer" in the twentieth century and was daring enough to have a love scene with a black man, who was symbolic of Judas.  Gaga, did not even come close, except in the name of the character.  Biblical wise, Gaga had the betrayal down and Madonna did not.  Madonna's Judas did not betray anyone nor was he abusive.  The betrayal was the only thing Gaga had and physical appearance is the only thing Madonna had in relationship to the origin of the story.

Sorry, but even as a child, I looked at the Jesus pictures and thought, "That's not Jesus.  Given the location, he had to be much darker or at least looked like a Middle Eastern person."  The same goes for Judas, so if Jesus is going to be anyone's lover, he never was a white man.  Maybe biracial, but not white.  I can hear the Klan and the Religious Reich now.  I will probably be the number one worst enemy on their women's list.  Can't have White women fornicating with Black men you know, and God forbid they are not married when they do consummate a relationship.  Just keep in mind your book says, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone" of which Gaga mixed Old Testament writing with New Testament writing with the stoning at the end.

So in conclusion, both singers have their good points and while I do like Lady Gaga's songs, her video does not have the same quality as Madonna's.

Note:  I do hope everyone forgives the shameless and sacrilegious plug within this article though, but if you do read it, a word of warning, it is extremely sacrilegious and could be offensive to some people.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • Amy

    I would agree that Lady Gaga is more of a rebel and she has much more anti Christian message in her music and videos.

    • I'm not sure what you mean by anti-Christian message. I wasn't quite referring to whether or not the messages were anti-Christian or not. Even I can seem like I'm anti-Xian and then turn around and praise someone like Spong or Rev. Barry Lynn. I was going more for choreography, storyline, acting, etc., more than what how they presented Xianity.

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