That headline originally read ‘Condemnation for Lady Gaga,’ and I had the article all planned out but she really surprised me with her performance Sunday night. I was not alone in assuming she would use the grandest stage in the world to push an anti-Trump, uber-progressive agenda down America’s (and the world’s) throat. Instead, she delivered an exciting show that even included a beautiful patriotic opening.
Most are using the term ‘apolitical’ to describe the Super Bowl Halftime show, and I would largely agree. She never deviated from the lyrics of her songs, with the exception of hyping up the crowd and sweetly greeting her parents. There were no agenda pushing videos, signs, symbolic costumes, or other displays that would indicate any partiality whatsoever. I say good for her!
Football has been too politicized all season. The issue of kneeling during the national anthem was discussed ad nauseam. While trying to catch highlights and recaps from Sunday’s games, there were times I wasn’t sure if I was watching ESPN or MSNBC. This hurt the NFL and ratings this season have taken a dive. ESPN has been hurting as well. People turn to sports as an escape from real-life issues like politics, not to further dive into them. People were robbed of that this season.
Did the NFL realize this and demand that Lady Gaga not dip her toes into the political cesspool during their crown-jewel event? Did they gag Gaga? We may never know. The NFL would never admit to participating in censorship, and it would be disastrous to Lady Gaga’s reputation as an activist if she ‘sold out.’
Personally, I would like to think that she chose to promote unification over division. America really needs that right now as political tensions haven’t been this high in decades. Some liberals are upset that she didn’t exploit her platform, but what aren’t liberals upset about these days? Lady Gaga chose to go high while most of her celebrity comrades have been choosing to go low. Taking the high-road is a central tenant of Gaga’s under-reported devout Christian faith.
I’d have rather watched Garth Brooks or George Strait for those thirteen minutes but that is just my preference. Her show was electric, flawlessly executed and she certainly earned her paycheck. Maybe this performance will be an indicator of what we can expect from the entertainment industry from this point forward. I doubt it, but I can hope.
– Jeremy Hobbs