July 24, 2011

Rachel Strella

Express Yourself

I've been watching a show on Palladia called “Madonna: Truth or Dare,” - a documentary of her Blond Ambition Tour in 1990. The piece is filmed entirely in black and white, except for clips during her concerts. (The timing is fitting, as this Wednesday marks the 28th anniversary of the release of her self-titled album). According to the documentary, when Madonna reached Italy, she was informed the Vatican tried to ban her show. During this part of the documentary, her song “Live to Tell” serves as backdrop to the scene while splicing in press statements in response to the Vatican.

In her response statement, Madonna says she is proud to be an Italian American; she is proud to be an American because it is the country she grew up in. “My show is not a conventional rock show but a theatrical presentation of my music. And, like theater, is takes questions, provokes thoughts, and takes you on an on emotional journey. […] I do not endorse a way of life, but describe one, and the audience is left to make its own decisions and judgments. This is what I consider to be freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought.”

Madonna is living proof that often when we express ourselves, there’s backlash.

Social media has leveled the playing field, as a form of freedom of expression, for many. We can now self-publish, self-promote, and become our own gatekeeper to the online world.

At the end of the day, freedom of expression wins; it’s up to the audience to make up their minds – not the Vatican, or anyone else, to try to control it. Her words “freedom” and “opportunity” sum up our freedom to publish how we feel and the opportunity to move the masses with a single blog entry, YouTube clip or Facebook update. Because the online world is so visible, as is Madonna, there will be those that disagree and even shun individual forms of expression. We are free to disagree with their disagreement and continue to express our thoughts and feelings, as we please. This is all part of the online “conversation.”

And thanks to social media, we can do this on our broad scale. How are you expressing yourself?

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