Remember the people who opened the local Lady Gaga/Satanism Fan Page and all the other internet petition blogs that preach Gaga-damnation? They must have had a blast dissecting and moaning about everything that was ever written about Lady Gaga, or seeing one of her music videos for the first time - getting all fired up when spotting an evil reference, just like a clever detective on CSI: Miami.
We all have this kind of fun when we moan about a pathetic restaurant waiter or a Springbok coach. It's fun being an opinionated moaner. To cleverly and wittily deconstruct who you think are idiots, freaks or unprofessional morons from the public sector is a self-righteous ego-boost. Scientifically speaking, to judge and dissect someone's actions and to get all excited about it releases beta endorphins that fuels self-confidence, and self-confidence can lead to inspiring, mostly harmless narcissism. Enough self-confidence in turn can lead to ego-masturbation without the shame of post-orgasm.
I won't go into why Gaga - or any other artist for that matter – has been made out to be the minion of Satan. It's a fairly easy task performing a semiotic analysis on each frame of a Lady Gaga music video and tracing the reference back to its original source. It's even easier to interpret lyrics that have blatant references to the devil, drugs or suicide. A lyric that mocks religion or an authority figure speaks for itself.
What's fascinating is the mind-shift from just moaning about it, and dissecting all the evil in popular music, to becoming a soldier for moral high ground who registers an anti-Lady Gaga blog or Fanpage. Or publishing an educational guide to warn teenagers about the devil and pop music - like Rodney Seale did in the late '80s with Rock Musiek: Die Reg Om Te Weet ('Rock Music: The Right to Know').
Seale visited my school in our small conservative Afrikaans town in the Klein Karoo during the early '90s before DSTV, MTV, VH1, MK and the Internet. The only two radio stations that touched our aerials were KFM and RSG, so no Barney Simon on 5FM either. And the only music shows on television were Noot vir Noot and Clive 'One Last Kiss' Bruce's Rewind that only played censored Madonna, Roxette, Indecent Obsession and Bon Jovi music videos.
Seale's moral guidebook that was supposed to warn us about the devil, introduced me and half-a-million South African teens to new bands and artists and fetishised them in a very informative catalogue. He sold his propaganda to teens and the teens saw it as forbidden audio pornography. He taught us the art of "back masking" and we all fucked up our father's record players trying to decipher the messages of Satan. His guidebook unleashed a treasure chest of previously undiscovered music - Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Meatloaf and even artists like Sting, Blondie and Prince were revealed to be devilish.
I distinctly remember seeing KISS for the first time in one of the photocopied pamphlets he handed out after his presentation. The members of KISS looked like real-life super-heroes with electric guitars as weapons ("Kids in Satan's service," according to Seale).
After Seale's departure a lot of AC/DC, Metallica and Guns N' Roses logos, pentagrams and peace signs started appearing on school desks, backpacks and lunch boxes. Older brothers' vinyls and mix tapes got 'dubbed' down on double-tape deck recorders. Madonna and Def Leppard entered the playlist at school sokkie dances. Instead of putting a firewall on the conscience of teens, Seale's moral guide liberated them from musical ignorance.
Now for Seale making the mindshift from just moaning about evil music to taking action, researching a huge spectrum of pop culture and then publishing a best-seller about it must have really excited him. Moaning and deconstruction turns into action - very similar to plain sex turning into masochism or something like autoerotic asphyxiation.
Rock Musiek: Die reg om te weet's cover reads: "Over the past 3 years, Rodney Seale has addressed half-a-million young people. He met with them at primary schools, high schools, colleges, universities, the army, private institutions and church youth camps. His book is the culmination of this service work."
If you think about it, he actually operated like a rock star who recorded an album and then went on tour with it. He toured the whole country with jam-packed gigs and got to talk to thousands of teenage schoolgirls while spreading his anti-rock gospel. He got to hang out with his biggest fans (conservative teachers and lecturers) backstage in faculty lounges and university cafeterias partying on triangular toebroodjies and tea – a lot like club gigs. Youth camps could be considered as festival gigs - lekker camping, braaiing and a bigger audience, more albums sold. Doing a few corporate (army camp) gigs kept the National Party happy. He condemned rock 'n' roll from the altar of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle: oxy-rock-'n'-roll-moron.
The same can be said for bloggers and admins who're currently running anti-Lady Gaga campaigns. In their circles, they've turned into internet rock stars. A fascination of disapproval turned into a fulltime obsession, breeding and watering this pet hate they've created - feeding it with status updates and invites until it becomes this living monster. Attention, response, action, reaction, counter-reaction, interpretation, damnation and trolling are all pyrotechnics on a big-ass online stage at a moral high-ground festival.
They are the self-appointed protectors of what's right in the world; they are the anti-rock crusaders saving the world from evil audio pornography.