It all started this past July, when pop star Lady Gaga rolled out onto a Sydney, Australia, stage dressed as a wheelchair-using mermaid named Yuyi. Then, as a treat to fans, she tweeted a loosely-coded message naming a popular gay bar where she’d be after the concert. But later that night, on the way out of that bar, she and her entourage were pelted with eggs by disability activists pissed at her for pretending to use a wheelchair.
Advocates for SCI cure were the most vocal against Yuyi, and also among the most critical of Gaga’s 2009 video, “Paparazzi,” in which she is thrown from a balcony by her boyfriend, but, using first an ugly chrome — and yet, rhinestoned — wheelchair, and then glittering crutches, dances her way back into the limelight. It’s a slick, disturbing video to a fun, danceable song. The disturbing parts are the domestic violence, porn-style costumes and a murder that closes the video out. (“We Love Her Again!,” proclaims a tabloid in the video, as she’s taken away for poisoning her boyfriend, basking in the glare of flashing lights.)
I like Gaga’s music. I own Lady Gaga’s “The Fame Monster,” and those songs consistently play in my iPod’s top 20. But I feel dirty watching her videos. They play like Fellini