Friday, April 02, 2010

Lady Gaga - "Telephone" Video (Jonas Akerlund, 2010)

My friend Kevin urged me to watch the new Lady Gaga video. It's actually just about the first time I've heard her music, other than a song they played during our recent night at the roller rink in Glendale. Anyway, I like the video a lot. I like the 70's exploitation flick references, and of course the appearance of the Pussy Wagon, but what it really made me think of is the musical numbers from those old Busby Berkely movies.

In films like 42nd Street, we watch musical numbers performed on stage in front of an audience, but as the routines go on, the camera pans deeper into the stage, showing views that could not possibly be seen by the audience or even fit on a theater stage. These scenes exist purely in the universe of movies. They remind you that you are watching a movie. They have nothing to do with reality. Similarly, the video for "Telephone" exists entirely in the world of music videos. Because no matter how big a diva you are, they don't allow you to wear your bizarro runway fashions in prison. When Lady Gaga is seen on the yard wearing sunglasses made of cigarettes (still smoking!), it's a clever little joke--cigarettes are the ultimate bling on the prison yard, right?--but what's really cool about it is that the glasses are so totally impractical in the real world. You can't see out of them! They have no purpose other than to look cool.

Alex Blaze wrote about the maybe-kinda-transgressive nature of the lesbianism in the video:

From a sexuality standpoint, I give it a "meh" as well, since the lesbianism is obviously just there to make straight boys drool and it's given a complete "Well they're in prison" (a straight male fantasy if ever there was one) excuse so that Beyonce can still be read as straight.

This is essentially correct, but misses the point. Lady Gaga is a straight woman who reads as a drag queen. In terms of gay identity, she's like a visitor from the future, so it hardly makes sense to hassle her for not trying to overturn sexual mores that are already long outdated.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely the one aspect of this video that truly sucks is that it's one long advert for Virgin Mobile?

Lady Gaga is a corporate shill, there to sell product... no different to any other pop/rock star ever... but there's something ridiculous when other bloggers, etc refer to her as 'subversive', she's nothing of the sort, she's a void- enjoy her for being 'pop' and 'fun' but attempting to make her seem at all significant (other than having an ability to sell units) seems daft

4/02/2010 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Lady Gaga Tickets said...

Has anyone purchased Lady Gaga Tickets from the website

4/23/2010 7:35 AM  

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