This morning, Lady Gaga posted a video of her speaking her mind on the military’s current “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, which prevents homosexuals from serving openly in the military. She throws out statistics including how 14,000 soldiers had been discharged from the armed forces because of the law, including 400 during the Obama administration. She provides anecdotes of individual soldiers’ outings. And then she gives a call to action, to contact senators who will be voting on the Defense Authorization Bill next Tuesday (Sept. 21), which includes language to deactivate DADT.
One minute of those seven-and-a-half minutes are spent watching Gaga watching her phone, as she attempts to dial her New York senators. It’s kind of embarrassing — but not for her. Here’s one of the world’s biggest pop cultural icons of 2010 trying to put democracy into action, and she gets a million rings and a busy signal, and a “this mail box is full.” (Apparently, the Democratic senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand reached out to Gaga independently, if her Twitter is to be believed, but still: ouch.)
No matter your feelings on DADT, it is at least admirable to see a celebrity set a step-by-step course of action on a political issue. For one thing, when citizens are asked to call their senators, they don’t know what that looks or sounds like, or what they’re supposed to say. Another that — thank goodness — it doesn’t finish with her asking for donations. It’s not that kind of thing.
And here’s a woman who’s normal job is to make a spectacle of herself make a spectacle of an issue. She brought an entourage of soldiers from SLDN.org to accompany her to the MTV VMAs (hell, she’s on their home page now), and presented them with honor in her voice during one of her acceptance speeches — one after she thanked “the gays” for making the “Bad Romance” video over and over again on YouTube. Through her official videos, her Monster Ball tour, her public statements, Gaga has worked to establish that she’s as much of a gay icon now as she is a pop icon.
Where it gets hazy for me is the that #BornThisWay hashtag.
[More after the jump…]
As Gaga announce at the Video Music Awards, “Born This Way” is the title of her new album. This “way,” in our modern day dialogue, sometime refers to being gay. Or being born a freak. Or simply just being born the way you are. At this point, it’s hazy how Gaga will be turning the phrase in her new album’s title track. But I’d hate to also see re-hashed (as it were) in this political movement in order to sell more records. It could the shine off the authenticity of her advocacy, her “voice of this generation,” which is obviously of great import to her and her fans.
Check out the video below. What do you think?