Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gag Lady Gaga?

Last week, while casting her votes online for the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, my daughter chose "Papparazzi" by Lady Gaga as her favorite song. There wasn't much competition, really, since the other choices included "I Gotta Feeling," which she is sick of, and something by Miley Cyrus, whom she claims not to like. And, she has the song on her mp3 player (the original, not the KidzBop version).

My teenager remarked to me later, "But have you watched her videos? They're kinda nasty."

So, after she was in bed, I sat down and watched the video for "Papparazzi" in addition to her MTV Music Awards performance of it. There are a lot of disturbing images in each one—at the end of the MTV performance, she ends up with fake blood coming out of her eyes, hanging from a wire like she's dead. The music video features images of murdered women—one with a bullet hole in the forehead, one lying in a pool of blood, one whose face is wrapped in Saran Wrap. You get the idea. In the middle of the video are flashes of Lady Gaga seated with other women dressed in what looked like S & M leather ensembles, licking each other's faces.

I didn't really like the music video—in fact, it has diminished my enjoyment of the song since I picture those dead women when I hear it now. I have no problem with adults watching it, but I'm queasy when I think of the tween girls who like "Papparazzi," the song, trying to find the video for it.

Years ago, parents were worried about the influence of Britney Spears, all tarted up and marketed to tweens. I don't think Lady Gaga is marketing herself to tweens, but tweens have navigated to her because they like her music when they hear it.

So, do I want her censored? No, not really. But I wish those videos weren't as easy to find and access as they are. I typed "Lady Gaga" into Google just now, and her official web site was the second link listed; click on it and you see a screen for the "Music Video World Premiere" for "Telephone." If you open it, you'll see what looks like a bad prison movie; within seconds, the prison guards rip off Lady Gaga's clothes and throw her in a cell. (It does say "Parental Advisory EXPLICIT CONTENT" in a small box in the lower corner of the window.)

What is it with Lady Gaga killing people at the end of her videos? So far, in the three videos of hers that I've watched, they've all ended in murder, two of them by poison. Does she want us all to share her fetishes, her narcissism, her psychosis? Even if it's just entertainment, it's weird and nasty stuff. And it's not for kids, obviously.

So, despite the fact that "Papparazzi" is a popular song, I don't think Nick should have put it on that list; kids don't need to be pushed in her direction. That's not censorship—it's just showing well-needed restraint.

No comments: