“Accused of “satanic” dance moves and “intolerable”outfits, the cult of Lady Gaga has struck a wrong chord with the moral guardians of South Korea’s youth ahead of her world tour. The pop star has had her Seoul concert re-rated as only suitable for over 18s, by South Korea’s Media Rating Board,” says BBC.
Attendees at the concert will be checked for proof of age, and all over 18 will be turned away.
Last week, in India, the Vidya Balan film The Dirty Picture was blocked from airing on TV by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and viewers who tuned into the channel had to make do with a crime-based serial instead.
The South Korean rating decision makes for an interesting debate. While films and TV content are rated and censored, live performances see no such hurdles.
Many of the stand-up comedy acts, now a regular component in metro entertainment, witness comedians freely using profanity, including the F word and making references to sex and sexuality. These shows do not get age-rated, though, in some venues such as The Comedy Store, there is a clear advisory stating that the show contains ‘adult humour’.
The lack of certification in the theatre, live performances and exhibitions and art shows leads to incidents of arbitrary moral policing, which makes the South Korean example one that makes sense to emulate. Thanks to the adult-rating, Lady Gaga’s show will see no threats of interruption by those who protested against the content. The clear signal is that the show is fit for viewing – as long as the attendees are over 18.
Take the case of the screening of the film Gandu last year. “Bengali director Q’s controversial film, Gandu, has received another blow at the hands of Censor Board. Reportedly, the film’s screening at an ongoing Naya Cinema Festival in Mumbai was scrapped at the last minute. Q, who is struggling with this unexpected turn of events confirmed the news, “Gandu is not being screened today. Legally, we are all sorted to screen a film in a preview theater without selling tickets, but still, we are unable to screen the film because we have been denied police protection and the theater authorities are justified to stall the screening to protect their interest,” reported The Hindustan Times.
That’s the problem in India. While the proposed screening of Gandu was legal, the authorities, by not giving the venue police protection, created a situation where the screening had to be cancelled. In the South Korea Lady Gaga incident, the authorities are making sure that the show goes on.