Lady Gaga’s “Powerful” Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell Speech

Yesterday, at a rally in Portland, Maine, Lady Gaga took the stage and gave a 20 minute speech that she “wrote [her]self” in which she defended gays in the military, derided the military’s standing “don’t ask don’t tell” policy towards homosexuality, and demanded that straight soldiers who “have prejudice in [their] heart” should be discharged. (Uh.*) You can watch the full speech after the jump. SPOILER ALERT: it’s not very good. It’s a weird, clunky, melodramatic speech. Obviously. What other kind of speech would it be? She’s proud of having written it herself, which is fair, but it’s not as if anyone would have cared if she’d gotten a little help from someone who actually knew how to write speeches. And she tries to get really emotional and “outraged” but it falls flat because she hasn’t, you know, spent the past 30 years on the stump becoming really good at pretending to be emotional and “outraged.” It’s hard to do that in a speech because you have to be the HIGHEST-CALIBER of liar and that takes decades of poisonous practice. Oh, and let’s be honest: when KNOWN SEX CRIMINAL Terry Richardson quietly pops up on stage behind her at the 2:47 mark to snap photographs, it pretty much bankrupts everything that she’s trying to do. “Please pay attention to my stirring message about equality and ignore the self-satisfied pedophile behind me who will undoubtedly sell images of this rally to American Apparel.” Gross.

That being said, the military should repeal Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell, and Lady Gaga does have a lot of young people very interested in the things that she says and does, so.

It is, of course, the classic and perennial debate over whether pop/rock/movie/TV stars should make their political views public. Personally, I’m always in favor. Why not?! Sure, they almost never have any idea what they are talking about (with the possible exceptions of Bono and George Clooney, and probably not even them) but if someone is willing to accept whatever they have to say about any given issue without doing their own research, then it’s not like that person is getting their information from a BETTER source. At the very least, they might as well enlighten themselves in the mildest of ways by sharing Jennifer Lopez’s belief about third world cleft palettes, or whatever. “That sad thing sounds gross!” Yes, it does.

But, there is a difference between publicly declaring your support for an issue, and giving a weird, half-comprehensible 20 minute speech on the subject. Relax, Lady Gaga. Not that we aren’t all on your side, but you could have, for example, given a 10 minute speech. Let’s put it this way, if you start using terms in your speech that you made up yourself, like “Cafeteria Americans,” and then have to take more time out of your speech to explain the terms that you just made up, THE SPEECH IS TOO LONG. Also, American flag tie? Stop it. If you actually care about this issue, and I believe that you do, then cut it out. Your interest to be taken seriously and to wield your impressive cultural power for the forces of good is not helped by dressing like an ACTUAL CLOWN. (Thanks for the tip, Steven.)

*Seriously, Lady Gaga? How about we (by “we” I mean “you” + condescending) focus on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which is an insanely arcane throwback Jim Crowe law whose time for repeal came the moment it was signed into being, and drop this whole “straight soldiers with prejudice in their heart should be discharged.” Not only is that an impossible non-starter, it’s also just preposterous. And dumb. You sound dumb now.