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Lady GaGa’s “Alejandro”- You Might Have Missed The Point

June 10, 2010

If you didn’t “get” Lady GaGa’s “Alejandro” video, you may just have missed one of the most intense artistic translations of at least one of the greatest social issues of our time- gay rights. She does this by pointing out two areas where discrimination against gays and lesbians is overt; the military and the church.

Now, I know that Lady GaGa’s can be a bit…much to take in all at once at times.  But I personally think this is the best music video she’s done so far (the only one I’ve actually not liked was the one with Bey…and you know why). In the barely 48 hours since its release, “Alejandro” has had more than 6 million hits on youtube.

Before we go further- no shame, I’m a GaGa fan. If you’re not, fine- but I am. I listen to all kinds of music, but at the same time, I’m very selective- picky even. For me this young Italian from the East Coast was and is a breath of fresh air.

I’ve also seen her live (I like her in small venues) and she puts on a kick ass show which I really appreciate.

Ultimately what I love about her is her clear vision. Sure, it may not always be clear to us, but she knows what she’s doing. She knows what she’s saying. She’s committed to her craft.

Previous videos have been sexed up, clubbed up, danced up and laced up.  I’ve enjoyed them all sans the previously mentioned which I really could have done without.

But “Alejandro” presents an entirely different phase of expression.

There has been a lot of picking apart and criticizing of the video, all of which I see as missing the point.  I can’t say that I’ve broken the GaGa code, but I can certainly say that there were things about the video that were very deliberate and meaningful.

GaGa is very open about her love and respect for the gay community.  She has repeatedly expressed compassion for the hell gays and lesbians are put through just to be who they are, and ultimately, to love who they choose to love, and her respect for the strength of character it takes to not hide who they are because many in society would prefer they do.

What I love about this video is it hits different intellectual levels at the same time. The opening sequence of the cadence steps by 10 or so men is being referred to as a reference to the American military.

But if you pay attention, you’ll note it’s not just our military, but militaries in general that are referenced through the video. You can base that not just on what they wear, but in this specific instance, how they step. I also see, based on dress, two kinds of men in these militaries- gay, and not.

If you’re wondering what those things are that some of the men are carrying, I believe ultimately it’s a reference to the architects of society, because according to people smarter than me, those silly shaped contraptions actually reference technical drawing; architecture.

At any rate, if it’s not obvious why we’re looking at gays in the military let me illuminate the current situation for you; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Read the news.

The video shows men in underwear and high heals, on beds with ropes on the frames. Not just any beds. Beds found in military barracks.

There are gays in our military. Always have been.  There are gays in every military.  It’s even possible [read: reality] that some of the architects of society throughout history were also gay. Chew that.

Just when the many military references start to sink in (or fly overhead), another image comes onto the screen. GaGa dressed in red and white latex- as a nun with rosary beads.


Another anti-gay doctrine.

There’s a second outfit, also latex, that shows a cross over GaGa’s crotch. *hits pause*

Now. We know a couple things about the church are true whether one is Catholic or not- being gay is a sin and sex is basically ruled by church doctrine. You don’t have it before you’re married in the church and you’re only allowed to perform certain kinds of sex according to the church.

You’re not supposed to support gays either, according to the church. If you love god, you can’t love gays.

Soon, the cross, the doctrine, and the reality crash together.

And now for a sidebar rant. Some have called GaGa wearing the cross, ingesting the rosary and so on, “against God” or a mockery of religion. One commentator accused GaGa of “sucking on” the rosary.  She doesn’t ever suck on the rosary.  She takes the full rosary into her open mouth. If one can’t find the symbolic meaning in that nothing I write here is gonna make an inch of difference.

Singer Katy Perry took to twitter after the release of GaGa’s video and called it “blasphemy.”

And for that, I must take Katy Perry on.

Main Entry: blas·phe·my

Pronunciation: ˈblas-fə-mē

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural blas·phe·mies

Date: 13th century

1 a : the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God b : the act of claiming the attributes of deity
2 : irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable

When I first saw Perry’s tweet I was ticked.  God is in the eye of the believer. Faith is a matter between that person and their God- not that person, their God and her as the judge.  Also, this is the same chick who sang the song “I kissed a girl and I liked it.”  This is the same chick who was accused by catholic and Christian leaders alike, for using music to negatively influence children to experiment with homosexuality.  She was defended by just about everyone who wasn’t attacking her.

GaGa does not insult or show contempt or lack of reverence for God.  She certainly doesn’t use the video to claim to be one.

Further, there are some who believe the human body is sacred.  There are some who would look at Perry’s most recent video (where she shoots whipped cream from her breasts) and call that blasphemous.

Her comments were mean spirited, hypocritical and catty.  Keep it to yourself Kate. Or at lest brush up on the origin and history of the cross- but that’s for another day.

Back to GaGa.

At points in the video you see a young man holding an intense expression. I read one review where the writer chalked this guy up to having no meaning, his presence merely a way to lengthen the video. Said writer missed the point.

When I see this man, I see a person conflicted.  He’s constantly watching the men who are “obviously” gay.  What is he thinking?  Is he conflicted about something?  Personally, I think so.  Towards the end of the video he takes his hat off and takes a step…towards the gay men. Could he also be gay, but hiding it, not sure if he can be who he is?  That’s what I see when I see him. Crossroads.

Having gone through all that, it’s fine if you hate the video. But for those who treat it as if it has no meaning or no purpose, that’s not true- or fair. GaGa is a purposeful artist. She’s doesn’t piss on your head and tell you its raining. With this latest effort she is, I think, trying to get the viewer to see and think about these issues that are personally important to her, and important to our society as a whole.

Some have said the video is unnecessarily long.  Maybe it is.  Or maybe she’s taking the necessary amount of time to fully express these issues and allowing the viewer some time to take it all in.

GaGa takes our most controversial and complicated issues and presents them in seamless fashion.  For that, she’s brilliant.

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