Last night at the Grammys, apparently, Nicki Minaj tried to shock the jaded nation of dopes who are the core audience for the awards show that celebrated the life of the woman whom their culture of excess helped usher to the other side. In attendance was rehabilitated woman beater Chris Brown. The previous night, Bobby Brown had decided it was more important to go on with the show in Alabama, where he histrionically expressed his grief for departed ex-wife Whitney, while leaving their 16-year-old daughter to fend for herself at the Beverly Hills Hilton, from whence she was taken to the hospital to deal with an anxiety attack brought about by the untimely death of her mother.
Fresh off of having been invited into American living rooms across the country by Madonna at the Super Bowl half-time show, where the two songstresses were accompanied by terrorist wannabe MIA flipping the bird to America from one of its greatest stages (world peace was the message), to the later shocked consternation of the Material Girl, the young and talentless warbler staged a conscientious objection to the Catholic Church that the Catholic League describes thusly:
Nicki Minaj, fresh off looking like a fool with Madonna at the Super Bowl, showed up last night on the red carpet at the Grammys with a guy dressed like the pope. This was just a prelude of what was to come.
Minaj’s performance began on stage with a mock confessional skit. This was followed by a taped video depicting a mock exorcism. With stained glass in the background, she appeared on stage again with choir boys and monks dancing.
Perhaps the most vulgar part was the sexual statement that showed a scantily clad female dancer stretching backwards while an altar boy knelt between her legs in prayer. Finally, “Come All Ye Faithful” was sung while a man posing as a bishop walked on stage; Minaj was shown levitating.
None of this was by accident, and all of it was approved by The Recording Academy, which puts on the Grammys. Whether Minaj is possessed is surely an open question, but what is not in doubt is the irresponsibility of The Recording Academy. Never would they allow an artist to insult Judaism or Islam.
If you believe that even a single performer or presenter might have had the good sense and/or integrity to refuse to participate in the wake of this extravagant tantrum of unearned self-righteousness, you’d be silly. These are Important People, who had Important Grief to express, along with other Important Sentiments masquerading as Important Insights into the Human Condition, by which they mean the Super-Human Condition, which is the Reality That As Celebrities They Live. All in all, it was a pastiche of a parody of a burlesque of a burlesque, which is what Art is all about. And Art, as any of them with the vocabulary to do so will tell you, Elevates the Human Spirit.
Next year, these brave Speakers of Truth to Power will undoubtedly stage a mock stoning of a Muslim woman who’s been accused of sex out of wedlock by her rapist, or summarily burned because she might give inconvenient testimony regarding the rape by prison guards that has forced her to seek treatment for vaginal and anal bleeding.
Barring that, I’m sure that they will passionately denounce the rampant sexual abuse of youngsters by the righteous deal-makers in Hollywood, or the general sleaze of deal-makers within the recording industry—even as they seek to encourage government to greatly expand censorship powers over the Internet, in order to protect their profits. Censorship of any kind against them, however, would be an outrageous, unconstitutional violation of their God-given right to express their genius.
It would be folly to insinuate that Nicki Minaj is well enough informed to see that such a vulgar treatment of Catholicism might be ill-timed at the moment, considering the President’s unique understanding of the First Amendment. Archbishop Chaput on the HHS birth control/abortifacient mandate, via Father Z:
The current administration prides itself on being measured and deliberate.
The current HHS mandate needs to be understood as exactly that. Commentators are using words like “gaffe,” “ill conceived,” and “mistake” to describe the mandate. They’re wrong.
It’s impossible to see this regulation as some happenstance policy. It has been too long in the making.
Despite all of its public apprehension about “culture warriors” on the political right in the past, the current administration has created an HHS mandate that is the embodiment of culture war. At its heart is a seemingly deep distrust of the formative role religious faith has on personal and social conduct, and a deep distaste for religion’s moral influence on public affairs. To say that this view is contrary to the Founders’ thinking and the record of American history would be an understatement.
Critics may characterize my words here as partisan or political. These are my personal views, and of course people are free to disagree. But it is this administration – not Catholic ministries, or institutions, or bishops – that chose the timing and nature of the fight. The onus is entirely on the White House, which also has the power to remove the issue from public conflict.
The administration lied to the Bishops, repeatedly, and to their (now-long) faces, regarding their intentions vis-a-vis Conscience Clause protections. The Bishops were, of course, hopelessly naive, and sided with the rhetoric that had right-wing extremists Falsely Accusing the Great Reconciler of Bad Intentions. Lying is stock in trade with this administration, though, so even as they were announcing their embarrassment at having been gulled from the pulpit Sunday, new Administration Spokesthing Jack Lew was making the Sunday talk show rounds lying about the Democrat-dominated Senate’s inability to pass a budget:
We might be tempted to think Lew misspoke, except that he said virtually the same thing, on two different shows, when he was specifically asked about the failure of Senate Democrats to pass a budget resolution. He even prefaced his comment on CNN by citing the “need to be honest.”
He could have tried to argue, as some Democrats do, that the debt-ceiling deal last year in effect was a budget resolution. Or he could have spoken more broadly about gridlock in the Senate, after acknowledging a traditional budget resolution had not been passed. Instead, the former budget director twice choose to use highly misleading language that blamed Republicans for the failure of the Democratic leadership.
We wavered between three and four Pinocchios, in part because the budget resolution is only a blueprint, not a law, but ultimately decided a two-time budget director really should know better.
By the way, I imagine it’s possible that several of the 300-and-not-counting-anymore Mexicans killed with Fast and Furious supplied weapons might have been Catholic:
Tony Coulson, the DEA’s agent in charge of Southern Arizona during Fast and Furious, says many federal field agents knew the ATF was walking guns to Mexico, but supervisors told them to back off when they objected.
“Clearly, we went too far,” Coulson said. “The question we had among rank and file law enforcement was, ‘When is someone going to call ATF on this, when is someone going to tell them to stop?’”
Coulson’s remarks jibe with what is already known about the operation. The DEA, the FBI and ICE, also known as Immigration Customs and Enforcement, all played roles in the investigation.
Coulson said those agencies share the blame since top officials knew, but did little to stop, the gunrunning effort. Coulson is among the first senior public officials, current or former, who admit knowing about the botched operation.
Coulson claims he raised objections to then-DEA chief Elizabeth Kempshall, but was told it was taken care of. After attending a meeting with ATF agent in charge Bill Newell, Coulson said that’s when he and other agents “knew (Fast and Furious) was not some sort of benign, pie-in-the-sky publicity stunt. Guns were actually getting in the hands of criminals.”
I’m sure it’s inflammatory and irresponsible of me to point this out because . . . Father Pfleger, who curiously seems to have nothing to say about the HHS mandate.
UPDATE: La Pundette has related observations.