I'm actually writing about Lady Gaga.
Hardly seems right.
But, to bring closure to the analysis of the lyrics, the least we can do is look at the video.
I'll embed it here so you can follow along, if you are really that fascinated.
The start portrays Jesus and the 12 as a biker gang.
This isn't that odd... medieval and Renaissance artists generally dressed Jesus and the disciples in clothing and settings contemporary to their own times, much as Godspell attempted to do for modern culture back in the 1970s (I've often wondered when we will get an artist who will portray Christ on a cross in a business suit, or in a t-shirt and blue jeans).
While a couple of disciples (Philip and Simon) are briefly seen at the very beginning, three main apostles get most of the screen shot at the beginning:
- Thomas (the doubter),
- Judas (the betrayer) and - after Judas gets a longing look from the lady - a focus on
- John (the beloved disciple who alone refused to run from the foot of the Cross).
Jesus is, of course, the leader of the gang, wearing the crown of thorns.
A major theme in the video is the presence or absence of tears - when Lady Gaga is oriented towards or clinging to Jesus, there are no mascara tears. When she turns towards or thinks about Judas, tears appear.
Oddly enough, the first verse, in which she proclaims her love for Judas, she is actually clinging to Jesus and has no tears on her face. She pushes Judas roughly downstairs and heads towards what turns out to be a wedding with Jesus at the Electric Chapel.
When she hits the first chorus, proclaiming herself a holy fool and still in love with Judas, we see the first tears appear.
So, this is apparently a lover's triangle, where she is throwing over Judas to marry Jesus, but still loves Judas.
Meanwhile, Judas is shown going after whatever sensual pleasure he can get, completely ignoring the singer.
As she walks with Jesus, there are still tears in her eyes - she still loves Judas.
There's a visual connection between "love is like a rock" and Peter (from Petrus, the Rock). And, of course, love can be like a millstone that is tied around your neck as you are cast into the sea (more on that in a bit), or it can be used to build up the house [of God].
A brief visual sign of forgiveness and an open cage followed closely by a swinging mace could be a reference to the sacrament of confession or to the harrowing of hell or both. This is immediately followed by (and reinforced with) Jesus warning Judas away from the singer. There are still tears in the singer's eyes.
We see a quick visual reference to the ropes and wood of the Crucifixion, with a shot of the crowned head of Jesus as the singer reiterates that Judas is a king with no crown.
She is taken to the chapel and protected by Jesus, as a mob fight breaks out and Judas follows. She clings to Jesus, but still has tears in her eyes.
Judas is still whoring around outside, Lady Gaga's tears are increasing.
She has to make a choice - she uses a gun to prepare to shoot Judas dead, but instead of a bullet, lipstick comes out, which she smears on Judas cheeks.
Although visually she is conflicted, as she wields the gun against Judas she has no tears in her eyes.
As Jesus calms the crowd, now we see the choice: either Lady Gaga is engulfed in the waters of the sea (sin) or in the baptismal waters.
Jesus is on her right in the baptismal font, giving life to the waters, Judas is on her left in the baptismal font: the waters of baptism can wash her sins away. Around the baptismal font, fire rages (Our God is a consuming fire). She pours out an Erhlenmeyer flask of water (these flasks are used for measuring liquids in chemistry - the measuring cup that pours out justice and mercy upon the nations). It is an interesting artifact of the video that, for the viewer, our right and left put the two figures in reverse.
Both men have their feet on the rock... whose feet shall she wash?
As the sea flood carries her near a bridge (Jesus is the Pontifex, the bridge between God and man), she chooses to wash Jesus' feet. Jesus is the winner, and is helped up into the winner's ring, as the evil in Lady Gaga is washed away by the sea.
The lipstick-smeared Judas is then seen kissing Jesus on both cheeks.
The tears are now gone from the singer's eyes, and she holds the gun as she glances back at Judas but clings to Jesus.
It is interesting to note that in the final portion, Judas pours what appears to be a beer over the singer's buttocks and groin, in an obvious act of disgust and dismissal, and an apparent acknowledgement that most modern sins originate below the waist.
She responds by mocking him, throwing baptismal water in his face. Throughout this sequence, she has no tears in her eyes.
She then dresses in a white bridal gown, but has her fingernails and hair daubed with black - an apparent reference to her current lifestyle, as the crowd stones her to death. In Scripture, a woman could be stoned to death for adultery.
Her face is clear of tears, until she sings her own name.
As she sings her own name, the tears reappear.
She knows exactly what she's doing.
She did it as well as it can be done in a music video.
Pray for her.