The message is MEDIA

In Lady Gaga’s video, Telephone, we see product placement. We see Virgin Mobile cellular phones. We see popular culture references. We see references to the transphobic accusations of her gender identity. We see a play of multiple queer identities, multiple movie genre references, fashion trend nods, variously interpreted sexual references, either through innuendo or explicit. We see the play of queer, trans-, racial, and gender discourses. Through it we can also read multiple histories: her career history, movie history, women’s history, pop music history, fashion history, technological history, the history of theory. The sheer plethora of semiological delights in the video is an awe-inspiring pot-pourri of modernity. This video is one signal of the reversal Marshall McLuhan’s the media is the message. Somehow the semiology of Lady Gaga’s oeuvre and this video in particular evoke a world in which all semiological boundaries are being blurred/exploded. The distinction between media (phones, cameras, video cameras, music videos, exploitation flicks, popular culture, cooking shows, etc. etc.) and the message that each media sends is increasingly getting blurred as every interface is omni-compatible.

Our telephones are mobile, but they are also cameras, and video recorders, and mini-computers. They are video game consoles, calculators, text-messengers, facebook updaters, web-browsers, mp3 players, sound recorders, alarm clocks, and our personal rolodex. Our computers are also omni-compatible. They can be mobile too, with webcams that take video and pictures,  have mics and speakers. We can video phone around the world with Skype for free; we can internet chat with gchat or msn. They are our dvd players, our movie makers, our music studios, and our media databases. Our video game consoles are our dvd players and our web browsers, our social networking sites. Our music videos are our advertisement, our cultural texts, our identity-formation magazines. All our media delivery devices are becoming similarly multifunctional. All of our media content is becoming one vast ocean of inter-textuality. Twitter and blogs and news and youTube and Huffington Post and craigslist and magazines and facebook and email and texting and word-of-mouth and branding and embodiment and advertising and peer-to-peer and the film industry and activism and multi-national conglomerates and political ideology and institutional structures and discourse and localized identities and globalization.

All of our media is becoming one… and the message is MEDIA.

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