Did Lady Gaga Pull a Fast One at the Super Bowl?

Opening with 'This Land Is Your Land' may have been political 'dog whistle'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2017 8:38 AM CST

(Newser) – Despite anticipation that Lady Gaga would make some kind of political statement during the Super Bowl halftime show, the pop star appeared to play nice, a performance of the LGBT-friendly "Born This Way" aside. Even prominent conservatives hailed her "apolitical" show, the Washington Post notes, with tweeted praise from the likes of Fox News, Marco Rubio, and even Ivanka Trump. But Vanity Fair reports that an "edgy political statement" may have been a "dog whistle" for President Trump protesters with Gaga's choice of opening songs, a double hit of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" followed by a portion of "This Land Is Your Land"—and the latter Woody Guthrie song is where Gaga's hidden message may lie.

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Guthrie's son Arlo has said his dad wrote "This Land" as a biting response to Berlin's patriotic song, and in the 1944 version the elder Guthrie recorded on his guitar—he owned one sporting a "This Machine Kills Fascists" sticker—the fourth verse contains some interesting (and timely Trump-tied lyrics) that have since fallen out of the versions we hear today. To wit: "There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me / The sign was painted, said 'Private Property' / But on the backside, it didn’t say nothing." Vanity Fair notes that Trump protesters have been crooning the song at rallies lately, and Arlo Guthrie and other singers like Bruce Springsteen keep the original lyrics in when they perform the song. In other words, Teen Vogue may have picked up on something major outlets missed. (Gaga made a big announcement after the Super Bowl.)

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