I woke up this morning contemplating the interchangeability of Lady Gaga with Pope Benedict XVI. In their shared capacity as the most heavily-costumed celebrities presently and continuously ejaculated upon by the international media, I thought it would be interesting for us to see them exchange jobs for a year and observe what effect this might have on their respective careers.
It certainly isn't hard to imagine Lady Gaga being a mega-hit at the Vatican, I can just see her flying down inside the dome of St Peter's on an aerial trapeze, down to the high altar to celebrate mass while disco lights flash and the Vatican Choir pulsates in orgiastic abandon.
It would be much harder on the Pope, of course, who exhibits about as much charisma as a Safeway shopping cart. In fact he seems pretty talentless at much of anything, and his articulation of the standard Vatican twaddle on whatever subject is of current media interest seems nothing short of soporific.
I blame the Protestant Reformation for the present zombification of the Papacy. Today's Pontifex Maximus is expected to present himself in a constant state of pious self-absorption, apparently worried 24/7 about the ever-accelerating slide of this wicked world into the blazing fires of Hell, not to mention the horrible prospect of gay people getting married.
Who could envision a modern pope sparking up a doobie and putting on some Grateful Dead tapes in his spare time, or kicking back with a couple margaritas on the exquisitely embroidered papal sofa in his bluejeans to watch the NFL Superbowl?
How one longs for a return of the Papacy to Renaissance times, when expressions of piety and spiritual advancement were really about the least one would expect in the behavior and deportment of the popes.