I believe that by this point I have made it clear that eccentric, brilliant, crazy people intrigue me greatly. I don't really see how this will ever change. But, this new Lady Gaga video is beyond where I am willing to go.
Gaga' new single "Born This Way" found its way onto these here inter-webs in video form last week sometime on Vevo, YouTube's recent offering for legal artist-submitted and promoted music video content.
Born This Way, like Gaga's "Alejandro", is about 7 or 8 minutes long and truly reminds me of the old Michael videos that were really short films rather than just a music video. Something about this production style seems to be very artistic and I really like it. I like story lines, creativity, and one medium acting as another.
But, also like Alejandro, the video of Born This Way does not necessarily add to the song in a way that provides any insight into the textual poetry. And, also like Alejandro, it shows way too much skin unnecessarily. For that reason, I choose not to link to the video here as I would often do. I do consider it an attempt at art and so I won't necessarily discourage you from watching it, but I do recommend that you be careful.
The Born This Way video approaches the art of movie making much like the Thriller video did. It gives a little context, tells a little story, and then infiltrates the screen with dancing and singing. One major difference though: Gaga is nearly naked for the entire video. Same thing was true of the Alejandro video and when she WAS clothed she was dressed as a nun (and it eventually heads toward a sacrilegious ending). Not only is Gaga almost naked, but she enacts sexual movements throughout the video as well. It is extreme overkill. (Arguably, the Alejandro video is still much worse.)
Typically, those of us who are offended by this blatant sexual outpouring from a TV screen would just change the channel or click a different video. But I watched this all the way through because I couldn't figure out if it was the sexual discourse that I struggled with or whether or not it was the fact that this was a great song, written for a noble cause, and was simply destroyed by a terrible video design.
I interpret the text of the song like this: love yourself no matter who you are, what you do, how you feel, or what people think of you or call you. In today's world this is a message that ought to speak loudly. Very loudly. God makes no mistakes.
I interpret the video like this: a star like Gaga was born and helped to raise up followers who don't hate. Given, the metaphor used in the video was extreme, strong, and downright weird...but I still got the message.
Problem number one: is this video about keeping people from wanting to kill themselves because they feel out of place because they are gay, fat, or not cool? Or is it a message that Gaga is helping the world out by promoting self confidence? I would argue that it might be both. As a Christian, I appreciate an effort to promote an idea and message of love.
Here's the issue that I see though. If the ultimate goal is that someone love themselves no matter who they are or what they look like, what is the need for the sexual acts on screen? What good does that do? I might argue that, if anything, it only makes a fan look at Gaga's body and think differently about their own body. This seems counterproductive.
P!nk's new video and song seems to be a better representation of this message.
As a result of the issue stated above, I think that Gaga's new video does nothing to advance culture in a way that she wants it to advance (toward a movement of love and acceptance) because it is so bogged down with sexual aspects that a viewer may never be able to get past it. (Though, P!nk's new video uses the F word unnecessarily as well.)
It seems to me that the popular world is catching on to the damage it has caused. And some artists are trying to fix it. I appreciate that.
But, they're not seeing the whole picture.
I have a lot a respect for Gaga but I think she is quickly losing me as a true fan.