Gaga Part II – Just Dance

Part Two of a series.  Click here for Part One, Gaga the Phenomenon

I’ve had a little bit too much, much
All of the people start to rush, start to rush by
Can’t find a drink, oh man
Where are my keys, I lost my phone, phone

Just Dance – Lady Gaga 

A Christian perpsective on Lady Gaga

Gaga's breakout single, Just Dance

 

Gaga’s first hit single, Just Dance, didn’t initially set the world alight on release.  It gathered momentum after it became an Australian nightclub favourite and Australia initially drove its worldwide chart success. 

It’s little wonder because the song reads as a laudatory commentary on the nightclub, binge drinking culture so prevalent in Australia.  The heroine staggers from misadventure to misadventure, increasingly “hosed”, to the driving refrain that everything will be alright if you “Just Dance”. 

Okay, its confession time, I was not a distant observer of the traditional Australian “rites of passage” as a late teen, early twenty at university and in my early working career with a high disposable income.  I’ve been where Lady Gaga is advocating and done that. 

Jam Just Dance, or Love Game on your iPod, tweak the volume as high as it goes and you can be pretty quickly transported back to 2am in your favourite night club with a thumping beat, a bump and grind crowd and a steady flow of vodka shots having their inevitable effect on one’s sobriety (or lack of). 

And we’re all gettin’ hosed tonight.
What’s going on on the floor?
I love this record baby, but I can’t see straight anymore.
Keep it cool what’s the name of this club?
I can’t remember but it’s alright, alright.
Just dance. Gonna be okay.
Da-doo-doo-doo
Just dance. Spin that record babe.
 

It’s a heady place, but I can’t say I remember it being one where “just dancing” was a cure to all of one’s life problems.  In fact the opposite was more likely to be true.  From what I remember, my peers and I were more likely to spend Sunday (often in church!) squinting behind shades and picking over the gossip of the previous evening’s events, working out who’d said what, done what and to whom, and dealing with the ramifications.  And that was amongst friends. 

If anything the last fifteen to twenty years has seen night club culture become more malevolent, not less.  Things like drink spiking were rare back then.  Arguably the drug culture was harder to access and the substances were more “natural” than what gets churned out of laboratories these days. 

So this message that we can just go out, get hosed, and be safe with our similarly inebriated friends seems a little out of kilter with the darker side of the nightclub culture that is the subject of millions of dollars worth of advertising warning of its dangers and promoting safe behavior. 

I’m going to go out on a limb here.  I’d go as far to suggest that a 4 minute pop frenzy like “Just Dance” with its catchy synth hooks and dirty bass enjoys significantly more mind share and has more currency for the average teen than what has been purchased with the millions poured into “alcohol education” by government. 

If you wander around the world of Facebook and peruse the photo pages of the average late tween/twenty something you’ll get a pretty good insight into the binge drinking culture of the ‘average’ Aussie.  Spend time in any university during orientation week and you’ll hear the messages of hedonism, promiscuity and indulgence lauded, without reference to the down side. 

Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” world view provides a thumping soundtrack to this world of social hedonism, fueled by the great social lubricants of our time, alcohol and drugs.  But she’s painting an incomplete picture – one that doesn’t pay sufficient homage to what happens when it all goes wrong. 

How many lives are wrecked by what is said and done around the “dance”?  I’m not preaching wowserism or abstinence even.  But let’s not suggest we can all go and get hosed this weekend without recognising that it’s high risk behaviour. 

Brett Stewart court caseTo paint a modern day parable – consider what one night of alcohol fueled “fun” in the presence of mates meant for Manly, NSW and Australian rugby league star Brett Stewart.  At the time he was the face of promoting rugby league, a renowned clean skin with a fantastic reputation for visiting kids with diabetes and inspiring them to battle a condition he had overcome to be one of the best players of his sport in the world. 

One night he went to the 2009 season launch, a week after winning the world club championship, on top of the world.  The next morning he woke up to find his life irreparably altered

I’ve been privy to quite a bit of the “behind the scenes” of the charges laid against Stewart after that one mad night on the drink – it’s highly likely he will be found innocent and receive some sense of vindication. 

But he will never truly recover the trashing of his reputation and the personal hell he and his extended family has endured these past 18 months.  All for one night on the drink where a loss of control resulted in some naivety with tragic consequences. 

I’d suggest Brett Stewart would give nearly everything he has for the chance to re-live that infamous evening. 

It’s a hell not far from anyone hosed in the streets this Saturday night.  Just Dance?

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One Response to Gaga Part II – Just Dance

  1. Pingback: Gaga III: Love Game « Co-mission

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