No matter who or what one does in life, it’s inevitable to bump against stereotypes. New parents get tired of people talking to their baby instead of them. When I go out to eat with my aged-but-spry father, waitresses ask me what he would like; he says things like that happen so often he doesn’t pay attention any more. And religious sisters get really tired of “cute” stories when they do something. We hear a lot of them.
Still, National Public Radio usually avoids the snide contrast and goes for the real story. So I was taken aback by the way they handled the news that the Benedictine Nuns of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de l’Annonciation had signed a contract with Decca Records for a CD of Gregorian chant. After all, I don’t recall any cute stories about the Chant CD by the monks of Santo Domingo de Silos when it soared to the top of the charts.
Here’s what they said, in its entirety:
“Lady Gaga now shares a record label with a band of soul sisters – that is, a group of Benedictine nuns. Universal Music’s Decca Records discovered them at their convent in France as part of a global search for the best singers of Gregorian Chants. Unlike Lady Gaga, the nuns probably won’t have to worry about paparazzi. They live a life hidden behind closed doors. As for costumes, well, they’ll likely stick with something traditional.”
Lady Gaga? What did she have to do with this story? The answer is: nothing, other than recording on the Decca label – and an overtly sexual performance style that many find offensive. A story about sisters who sing beautifully might be boring, but juxtaposing the mental image of Lady Gaga with their quiet life and modest attire seemed – what – cute? funny? ridiculous? Or just plain anti-Catholic?
At least on this one, NPR blew it. I hope Decca does better than this for the rest of their publicity.
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