Music journalist explores religious qualities of rock ‘n’ roll
“This music is generated in the heart of man and is therefore fundamentally of the religious need, which is the fundamental original need of man; to know who made him, who he is, where he is bound,” said John Waters in an Aug. 21 interview with CNA.
Waters is the creator of a new exhibition entitled “Three chords and a longing for the truth; rock ‘n’ roll as a seeking for the infinite.” The display is proving to be hugely popular at the 33rd Rimini Meeting, an international gathering organized by the lay Catholic movement Communion and Liberation.
“The media always present rock ‘n’ roll simply as some kind of extravaganza of sensation and noise and stardom and narcissism and ego mania. But we are saying that within this shell of superficiality there is a hard core of fundamental content which is really the cry of man expressed in a modern idiom.”
Beyond the 800,000 visitors to this year’s Rimini Meeting, Waters wanted to offer his hi-tech, interactive exhibition to one person in particular – Pope Benedict XVI.
“When he was elected in 2005, all the hostile journalists dug back through all of his articles and speeches and tried to find things that would discredit him,” Waters said, recalling how the media finally unearthed a 1996 article in which Cardinal Ratzinger had opined, in the words of Waters, that “rock ‘n’ roll only appeals to the lower emotions of man and was therefore dangerous.”
Waters believes that Pope Benedict “is right in a certain sense,” that our modern culture only wants rock ‘n’ roll to be about “exaggerated sexuality, self-indulgence and narcissism.”
But he also wanted to show the pontiff a deeper reality.
“I wanted in a way to take the Pope by the elbow and lead him into this music and say, ‘come, there’s more, look at these artists, look at Bob Dylan, listen to what he is saying, listen to Leonard Cohen, listen to U2, see the sincerity of these people with the great questions that face man. And don’t be taken in by the exterior, by the noise, by the sensation, by the headlines.’” [more]