Adam Lambert in the Garden of Darkness and Light
With the release of the video for ‘Better Than I Know Myself,” we are reminded of something we wrote back in the early summer of 2009, which seems both prescient and relevant. Here it is, excerpted from Chapter 2 of On the Meaning of Adam Lambert. More thoughts to follow…
The Messiah Pose
The photo, the imagery: lips puckered, serpentine belt, arms outstretched – head tilted back – eyes closed – bare arms – ripped jeans
I believe that Adam uses symbols to communicate with an audience as this does, or to keep him safe as his Egyptian God tattoo does. Every item of clothing, each accoutrement is strategically considered, as is the choreography.
Here’s the Serpent in the Old Testament: Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:1-5)
My summary description
He’s the dangerous boy your dad warned you about, tattooed, ripped jeans, earrings, long hair and that very symbol of lust and evil – the serpent. Makes him a “must-have-him” obsession for us.
In this pose he looks like that boy, asking for forgiveness for what he’s just done, not in this standing pose, but lying down. Completely open in anticipation, lips awaiting a kiss, arms ready to fold around a loving body? Serpentine belt removed with one hand while the other feels for the z – oh no…. have to stop or I’ll fall off my chair, go unconscious, the police will bang the door down and find this open on my computer!!
By xena princess warrior on 07/08/2009 8:57 pm
Asking for forgiveness? There’s not a shred of guilt or remorse in that boy! He’s asking for love. He’s inviting you to go with him, wherever he wants to take you. And we’ll all go there with him!!
By Juneau Underwood on 07/08/2009 10:40 pm
Can’t he pretend to be someone other than Adam? You are right that he never feels guilt or remorse and has said so many times.
By xena princess warrior on 07/08/2009 11:27 pm
OK, Xena, you did have to bring up the Garden of Eden, and now I have to release my thoughts on this subject, although this is still a work in progress. Here goes nothing…
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
And the serpent is correct, for there are two trees in the middle of the garden: not only the Tree of Knowledge but also the Tree of Life. Now, this story always struck me as a complete set-up, for it is inevitable that Eve will be drawn to taste the fruit and to offer it to Adam. And why not? Does God really want his best creation to remain in a state of blind obedience, no better than a puppy? God has to want humans to have Knowledge, for without it, humans cannot appreciate the full glory of Creation. Without Knowledge, humans cannot aspire for transcendence, to become one with the Angels. But Knowledge also comes with a price: We are no longer happy, innocent creatures. We perceive our beast-nature and are ashamed of it. (Here one can truly say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing…) We are cast out of the Garden, so that we may not taste of the other tree, the Tree of Life. And the rest is History, an unrelenting struggle between our beast-nature and angel-nature.
In Judaism, God offers another path back to Eternity, through an earthly Tree of Life, the Torah. In Torah, the way to Eternity is not through following rules (although there are plenty of them). The way to Eternity is through the experience of Transcendence in the here and now, by fully experiencing the miracle of creation, which is around us all the time, in every molecule we breathe, but which we generally fail to appreciate. We imagine that the sacred is something that stands apart from the every day. Sometimes it does help to put yourself in that kind of space. But the sacred is all around us, all the time, if we open our minds to it. (It’s just so damned hard, when you have hungry children and deadlines, along with feelings of pride, guilt, shame, jealousy, covetousness, etc.)
We achieve transcendence when we reconcile our beast-nature and angel-nature. Which brings me to our latter-day Adam, he who embodies the beast-angel, so purely and vibrantly inhabiting his lovely flesh, brimming with erotic energy and overflowing with a voice like Praise. He is totally channeling the cosmic force. In him, “bad” and “good” merge completely. Sleazy morphs into sublime. When we consume him, we experience a shattering of those false dichotomies within us, and we feel Whole. Dare I say this is an experience of Transcendence?
By Juneau Underwood on 07/09/2009 12:00 am