Lady Gaga mobilises her social network for political change

Lady Gaga is using YouTube and her huge following on Twitter and Facebook to mobilise a groundswell of support for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” legislation which is prejudicial to gay and lesbian members of the military.

Fresh from her outrageous appearance at the VMA Music Awards where she accepted her award for Music Video of the Year wearing a dress made of meat, Lady Gaga has made another swift u-turn and uploaded a direct, heartfelt message on YouTube that speaks directly to the United States government.

Shot in black and white, Lady Gaga is refreshingly free of any alienating, outlandish costumes. She wears a simple white-collar shirt and black tie, her platinum blonde hair hangs loose over her shoulders and she sits in front of the Stars and Stripes, speaking directly into the camera.

In the video posted on YouTube, the 24-year old pop phenomenon asks Senators John McCain and Mitch McConnell not to filibuster the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” legislation which pertains to the service of gay men and women in the US militiary.

The first half of the video is an impassioned and focussed examination of why the law is unfair and unjustifiable. The second half verges into the realm of performance theater when she makes a call on her BlackBerry to her Senator in a bid to ask him to repeal the law. For the next three minutes, the phone simply rings and Gaga stares wilfully, forlornly into the camera.

Finally she gets through to an automatic voice message system, but the mailbox is full, so she ends by encouraging her followers to keep calling.

Lady Gaga is mobilising her 6.3 million Twitter followers and her 18 million Facebook fans to watch the video, sign a “twitition” (a Twitter petition) and make their voices heard to prevent a filibuster from John McCain in the US senate next Tuesday.

The video comes across as honest and direct and free from any pretensions or hidden agendas. But Lady Gaga is so inherently theatrical that whatever she does comes across as dramatic and loaded with meaning.

In the YouTube video, she says “I am here to be a voice of my Generation.” Is this the moment when she extends her influence into the realm of politics?

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