In the 24 hours since it was first released, Lady Gaga's epic "Alejandro" video has already succeeded in kicking up a cloud of controversy over its use of religious symbolism in several key scenes — scenes that some believe go too far.
Gaga, who was raised Catholic, has never been one to shy away from exploring the topic of religion in her work, but with "Alejandro," she seems to have pushed things to the limit. In the video, she and director Steven Klein combine Catholic imagery with sexual themes like S&M and androgyny. In one scene, LG wears a latex version of a nun's robe, and in another, she sucks on rosary beads. Already, the clip has drawn complaints from the Catholic League and, somewhat surprisingly, Katy Perry, who wrote on her Twitter account Tuesday: "Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke."
In fact, "Alejandro" seems to have created such a controversy that, hours after speaking with Klein about the video's meaning, we sent him a follow-up e-mail about the use of religious imagery and symbolism and the criticism both have garnered. Here, exclusively, is his response:
"The religious symbolism is not meant to denote anything negative, but represents the character's battle between the dark forces of this world and the spiritual salvation of the Soul," Klein wrote. "Thus at the end of the film, she chooses to be a nun, and the reason her mouth and eyes disappear is because she is withdrawing her senses from the world of evil and going inward towards prayer and contemplation."
Klein added that the scene in which Gaga ingests the rosary beads is meant to represent "the desire to take in the holy."
An e-mail to Lady Gaga's label, Interscope Records, seeking additional comment on the "Alejandro" video had not received a response by press time.
What do you think of the religious imagery in the "Alejandro" video? Share your thoughts in the comments.