Tag Archive: Controversy

If you can shutdown online commerce, inspire millions of people through music and wacky costumes, or upset Catholic churches you may  probably be an undeniable force in pop culture or Lady Gaga.

Don’t pretend you don’t know who she is because she’s probably all around you from the radio, to the web to that annoying friend of yours who keeps singing “Poker Face.” Whether you love her or can’t stand her, (either as a person or a musician) there are several reasons that explain Gaga’s massive stronghold in general entertainment.

One major factor that contributes to her success is obviously her music. She may be still compared to predecessors such as Madonna that “paved” the way for her but in her own right, Gaga has set a musical standard for today’s recording artists. Her two albums, The Fame and The Fame Monster reached number one in several countries and earned her eight Grammys combined, along with a pool of music videos that have earned her a countless stack of awards. That alone makes her an established artist to date.

In addition, most successful artists not only use their music to sky rocket themselves in media but find other  ways to stay relevant  in which case Lady Gaga has done well and that’s an understatement.

Lady Gaga is undoubtedly a pop culture icon because she’s virtually synchronized her music with the power of social media. According to Music Ally, there are 443 million hits for the term ‘Lady Gaga’ on Google and 360 million views of Bad Romance on YouTube. After releasing her latest album Born This Way on Amazon for only 99 cents last May, the power of Gaga mania brought down its servers due to excessive demand. Google also announced  the pop star would  be their spokesperson of their upcoming web-based Chromebook laptops after launching a commercial of the superstar inspiring millions of her fans on YouTube.

Apart from having such a strong social media presence and a successful music career, Lady Gaga of course revels in a little bit of controversy. Controversy generates interest and brings people closer or keeps them in that iconic status. Thus Lady Gaga is no stranger to that either, in fact her weird lyrics and eccentric costumes are always at the heart of such issues. Her latest single Judas (over 48 million views on YouTube), contain the dark lyrics “Jesus is my virtue and Judas is the demon I cling to,” has angered or rather baited religious groups into an upset frenzy. Which has no doubt yielded more hits on Google and views of the controversial videos on YouTube.

Either way, it’s no wonder people either love or hate her music or can’t  get away from the controversial headlines about Lady Gaga, it’s probably because Lady Gaga is pop culture.

Controversy sparks like a roller-coaster falling off its track as U.S. President Barack Obama  made comments about religious freedom over the mosque in Ground Zero. He spoke his mind and as president, he did well to address the issue but now I feel his comments have given Republicans some ammunition to use against the Democrats in the upcoming elections.

With the unforgettable attacks of 9/11 by extremist muslim terrorists, emotions run high at the thoughts of a mosque being built at the same ruins where the nightmare took place.

You can bet the Republicans will make this an issue.However, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the House’s only Muslim member, said Monday morning that he does not think Obama’s remarks during an Iftar dinner at the White House will hurt Democrats in November according to The Hill

“Absolutely not,” Ellison said. “The truth is that we’re a party of principle,” the second-term lawmaker added. “We believe in the idea of religious liberty.”

The Hill also reports that Republicans, however, are largely unified behind the message that while the group in New York City might have the right to build a mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, they still should not do it.
The following article is from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama’s endorsement of a controversial plan to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero poured fuel August 14, 2010 on a raging debate over religious freedom and sensitivities over the 9/11 attacks.

Muslims “have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said at an Iftar meal at the White House for Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast late Friday.

That includes “the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan.”

Obama had remained on the sidelines over plans to build an Islamic cultural center, which includes a mosque, two blocks away from the gaping Ground Zero hole where the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001.

But after a New York city commission on August 3 unanimously approved the plans, the president came out to fully support the project.

“This is America,” Obama said, “and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”

Planners say the multi-story “Cordoba House” will include a mosque, sports facilities, theater, restaurant and possibly a day care, and would be open to all visitors to demonstrate that Muslims are part of their community.

In the remarks Obama acknowledged that the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood remains “hallowed ground,” and that the 9/11 attacks “were a deeply traumatic event for our country.”

The proposed location however has touched raw nerves.

On Saturday the group 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, which represents some relatives of attack victims, said it was “stunned” by the president’s remarks.

Obama “has abandoned America at the place where America’s heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see,” the group said.

“Now this president declares that the victims of 9/11 and their families must bear another burden. We must stand silent at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered with reverence or risk being called religious bigots.”

Building the mosque “is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah,” the group claimed.

Another group representing other relatives of 9/11 victims, the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, said in May that it “strongly supports” the Islamic center.

A CNN/Opinion Research poll earlier this month showed that 68 percent of Americans opposed the Islamic center plans, while only 29 percent favored them.

Congressman Peter King, who represents New York in the US House of Representatives, said the Muslim community was “abusing” its rights and “needlessly offending” many people.

“It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero,” said King, a Republican. “Unfortunately the president caved in to political correctness.”

Self-described “liberal Muslim” Farzana Hassan, a Canadian, told Fox News on Saturday that she believes the Islamic center’s location is “provocative.”

“This is highly insensitive to the sentiments of the people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks,” said Hassan, who has written books on Islam.

Obama said the Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks do not represent Islam.

“It is a gross distortion of Islam,” the president said late Friday. “In fact, Al-Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion — and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a US advocacy group, said it welcomed Obama’s “strong support for Muslim religious rights.”

Nihad Awad, a senior CAIR official, said he hoped his remarks “will serve as encouragement to those who are challenging the rising level of Islamophobia in our society.”

Awad also urged “other national political and religious leaders to speak out in defense of the freedom of religion and equality of all Americans.”

One of those reacting Saturday was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I applaud President Obama’s clarion defense of the freedom of religion,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

The proposed site “is as important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime,” he said.

Passions over the issue run high across the country.

A Florida church has already said it will hold a “Koran-burning” on September 11 — which this year coincides with Eid al-Fitr, the end-of-Ramadan holiday.

Modern Warfare 2
Modern Warfare 2

 Video games are only for kids.  Like addictive drugs, they only dull the mind, destroy lives and are a complete waste of time. Well these days that is not entirely true. The development of video games since the 70s have come a long way. The video game is currently a multi-billion dollar industry, heavily competing alongside with the movie/film industry and has expanded to all age groups. If time is moderately spent on video games, they can provide an enjoyable escape no different than reading a novel or watching a cinematic film.

 However, video games have faced a tireless wave of discrimination and smug ever since their inception. Especially the adult-intended games that have been slapped with ridiculous bans and bombarded with complaints from angry parents and congressmen because there is a “direct link” between violent video games and children.

 Yes it is true some games contain inappropriate content such as strong violence, sexual images, use of drugs and vulgar language. But that is why there are rating systems such as the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in the States. The ESRB fully equips parents with the power to educate themselves on various kinds of video game content and the ability to proactively decide which games are or not suitable for their children.

 The media also contributes to the unfair lookdown of video games. They purposefully take some parts of a video game out of context for sensational headlines and provide one sided views.

The highly anticipated military first-person-shooter (FPS), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) had been released in November. However, one of the missions in the game sparked some major controversy with the media because it involved a terrorist attack in an airport. Of course, headlines from several news outlets would read:

“Outrage as new video game lets players kill civilians in terror attacks! Modern Warfare 2 accused of promoting terrorism! New game lets players massacre civilians!”

The one-sidedness does not stop there. Several news outlets keep failing to get the facts straight.

 “In one of the missions, players can join a group of Russian ultranationalist terrorists and massacre civilians with assault weapons in an airport. A scene from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The mission effectively simulates a terrorist attack from a first-person view,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

 An opinion show called “Fox and Friends” from Fox News hosted Founder of Slash Gamer Jon Christensen and CEO of Common Sense Media Jim Steyer on a debate/report on MW2 that was far from accurate.

 “You essentially get to be a terrorist and kill people and it’s very realistic,” The Fox host said.

Wrong. The player is not a terrorist. The player actually takes on the role of an undercover agent trying to infiltrate a group of Russian terrorists but the player does participate in the attack as he or she watches the terrorists slowly walk through an airport and fire at large groups of innocent, unarmed people with assault rifles and grenade launchers. Some of the defenseless victims crawl to safety while they bleed to death, others drag the injured away from gunfire and cry in fear.

 The scene is graphic and horrific. Even those with thick skin would feel a chill run down their spine. Regardless, that is the shocking realism and effect of terrorism that the game is trying to create and is an essential part of MW2’s storyline.

 “We push the story. We want the player to be emotionally attached. We want them to be emotionally shocked,” according to head of Infinity Ward game developer Vince Zampella.

Infinity Ward warns gamers that the scene may be disturbing and they can choose not to play through the part. Infinity Ward does not advocate terrorism in anyway and honored U.S. troops on Veteran’s Day after the game’s release.

 It is no doubt video games strive to get more realistic each day and that some game content is intended for more mature audiences only, hence MW2 is labeled Mature (M) by the ESRB and intended for players of ages 17 and over.

 In addition to that, it is unfair a military video game like MW2 should be bashed by the media for trying to present and confront the issues of terrorism.

Novels, movies, and TV shows like 24 have trenched on similar ground but never get on hot seat. So what is so different about a video game that implements storytelling and a creative drive in its gameplay?

 Overall, video games have constantly achieved the level of realism and technology they aspire to for over the past 30 years. But they will not achieve the acceptance other forms of media entertainment enjoy today.