The MTV Video Music Awards is an award show for things, music videos, that don’t really matter any more. No one remembers who wins the awards, but a lot of people remember Kanye West stealing the mic from Taylor Swift or Britney Spears kissing Madonna. The VMA’s give importance—a stage, really—to these “events,” and the “events” give importance to the VMAs. It’s a symbiotic relationship for sustaining pop culture relevance.
This year’s “crazy VMA moment” was Lady Gaga performing as her male alter ego, Jo Calderone. This, though, might have some importance outside of the let-me-let-you-help-me dynamic of past VMA craziness. Could Gaga’s act say something about gender and ethnic generalizations? Krystal Danielle Luna writes at The Next Great Generation:
As mainstream American culture often depicts people, especially Italian-Americans, from New Jersey as an outspoken, blunt and sometimes rude crowd, Calderone’s regional/ethnic traits carry inordinate significance. And although it is surely an unfair generalization, the cast ofJersey Shore have come to represent that cultural intersection. Besides Guidos, however, another image of Jersey-bred masculinity can be found in The Sopranos, an ethnic stereotype that perfectly matches the mannerisms of Jo Calderone.
Read on here.
—Photo Chris Pizzello/AP