07/05/11 | Posted by MattPage
The song itself premièred in the middle of April and only mentions Jesus by name once. The lyrics suggest that Gaga is using the name Judas as a metaphor for betrayal, and that she finds it hard to turn her back on the things in her past that have betrayed her. Whilst Jesus is her “virtue, Judas is the demon [she] cling[s] to”. As she explained in a recent interview “the song is about washing the feet of both good and evil and understanding and forgiving the demons from your past in order to move into the greatness of your future.”
Gaga has never been one for subtlety so in order to highlight the conflict she feels between the light and the darkness, she chose to portray them as Jesus and Judas. The video shows the disciples as bikers. Gaga is meant to be Jesus’ girl, but unable to stop looking at Judas as he drinks fights and womanises. Ultimately however, she chooses Jesus, washing his feet rather than those of Judas.
The foot washing is one of the ways that Gaga depicts herself as Mary Magdalene. It’s the popular image of Magdalene that Gaga draws upon. Whilst all that the gospels say is that Magdalene had seven demons cast out of her, church tradition has painted her as a reformed prostitute, the woman who washes Jesus feet and the woman caught in adultery from John chapter 8. All three elements occur in the video. She sings that she is a “fame hooker, prostitute wench”; she is shown washing Jesus’ feet; and ultimately she is shown as being stoned by an angry mob. It’s a fairly shocking way to end the video. With Jesus arrested and taken away Gaga is left alone, a jilted bride no longer able to turn to him for protection as per the original story. In Jesus’ absence, the mob are left alone to carry out their intended punishment, leaving Gaga stoned dead on the floor.
The portrayal of Jesus however is a little problematic, primarily because the video gives him very little personality. Whilst Judas is an apparently lovable rogue, Jesus is a weak, metrosexual saviour whose crown of thorns is a mere fashion accessory. He may do Jesus-y things like laying hands on an adoring crowd, but he’s also bland and seemingly quite dull. Judas is clearly the more interesting and charismatic figure.
Of course this may well be her point. Gaga knows Jesus represents good, but nevertheless finds herself drawn towards the bad. In this she echoes Paul “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do” (Rom 7:19). Gaga’s explanations indicate that this may well be a genuine attempt to wrestle with an important issue. Yet stripped away from this background, the video’s sexualised imagery suggests that it’s all just an over the top reaction to being cheated on. In the end, perhaps Lady Gaga’s art is weaker than her theology.
“Gaga for Jesus”! Intimations/associations, vitally inter-related, have implications: IF, you’re to have this Gaga segment, consider another more apt heading, such as “GAGA MISSES THE POINT” (or an even more apt heading your site geniuses might conjure, e.g. GAGA GAH-GAH ) and then only if followed by a gutsy, incisive, (rather than your more insipid, complicit) commentary? It is especially odious to say that Gaga “echoed Paul”. Rather, Paul being in the realm of God’s good, spoke of Satan’s taunts and his overcoming them. This contrasts to Gaga being in a very dark place and maybe knowing of the alternative and with no obvious current Christian relevance, acquiescing. YOU and Gaga BOTH cast God’s relevance and power on the same IMPOTENT level!
Gaga downrates your constituency / Christ seekers, given that Gaga’s extrapolating is OUTRIGHT APOSTASY, EXTOLLED VIA YOUR SITE: it is right to amend that which “slips through the net”!
Interesting, so Lady Gaga is resorting to religious concepts to enlarge the number of her fans…
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