Kevin Fallon in the Daily Beast thinks Lady Gaga’s National Anthem at the Super Bowl was a Big Gay Moment. Everything about her performance — the voice, the gestures, the clothes — were gay, gay, GAY, and clearly the producers meant it that way, he says.
He writes: “…she electrified us with a campy, full-voiced, theatrical-as-hell rendition…”
Fallon argues that the singer of the National Anthem reflects what’s going on in the larger society and that the choice of singer feeds into our national needs. Whitney Houston’s soaring anthem during the Gulf War, Alicia Keys gravitas after the shootings in Newtown, though he then runs out of specific examples.
But, he is certain about Lady Gaga and this Big Gay Moment. “In front of the most heteronormative, traditionally homophobic population in the country — the NFL and its diehard fans — our gay hero sang the national anthem.”
He’s “disheartened” at “Gaga’s normative reinvention,” after all she did not wear a meat dress. “It took crooning with Tony Bennett and singing with Julie Andrews at the Oscars for the rest of the world to catch on to the transgressive powers of her talent.”
Still, she made a statement in other ways including her “sequined pantsuit and that Morticia hair,” what Fallon calls “the gayest outfit I’ve seen on the football field.”
“This is a Broadway babe singing to her fans, her misfits, her gays like the theatrical drag queen she is.”
“But at a time when gay rights, LGBT struggles and queer violence, depression, suicide, and acceptance dominate political and cultural conversation, it speaks to the America that, if not the one we have now, is the one that we may be heading toward that it was Lady Gaga, our queer hero, who was the one to sing for us.”
There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, about studio head Sam Goldwyn who told his flunkies one day that he wanted to make a movie about the poet Sappho. One of his guys says, “But, boss, she’s a lesbian.”
“That all right. We’ll make her an American,” said Goldwyn.
Without a doubt, Lady Gaga is a gay icon and maybe to gay eyes, that seem to see literally everything through the gay prism, Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl was the Big Gay Moment. But to the rest of us, she was just an American, dressed like almost any show-biz type, belting out our National Anthem, and quite well, too.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse