At Least Lady Gaga Is Still Controversial in Indonesia

Guess who’s banned in Indonesia? Despite having nearly sold out a 40,000-seat venue, Lady Gaga will not be performing in Jakarta on June 3. Because? Because she is Lady Gaga. In the buildup to the show, three hard-line Islamic groups protested it on profanity grounds and managed to convince the police that there were safety concerns significant enough to shut it down. Reuters quotes Salim Alatas, the Jakarta head of Islamic Defender Front: “She’s a vulgar singer who wears only panties and a bra when she sings and she stated she is the envoy of the devil’s child and that she will spread satanic teaching.” (Note: I’m not a religious scholar, but I think Alatas is talking about the song “Judas.” And, also, more generally, stuff like this.) “This is dangerous.”

Well, this is a real bummer for the tens of thousands of people who already paid to see her and, of course, speaks volumes about the unfortunate state of free speech in Indonesia, which has a secular government. But if there is a bright side here: Hey, at least Lady Gaga is still dangerous to someone, right? Almost makes you proud of the good ol’ U.S. of A. for churning out the kind of pop stars whose shtick get eye rolls here but invoke nationwide panic elsewhere. Also, does anyone know if Salim Alatas is available to hysterically describe more of our top musicians’ whole M.O.? He is hilarious at it.

Filed Under: Lady Gaga

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

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