Lana Del Rey’s Americana shows its demand for a feminine desire that knows how to long for death.
Lana Del Rey uses the imagery of American nationalism to construct the kind of iconic girlhood that white America goes crazy for. But her relation to this history feels complicated. She aims to be “classic,” an aesthetic throwback to a bygone time when music was music and men were men and so on. But something is wrong with the picture. Ostensibly, she gives white America what it wants—an image of itself as lethal but beautiful, guilty but forgiven, an image of violence as indistinguishable from romance. If a straight white man hitsyou, it means he wants to kiss you—get it? The albums sell, but it’s not enough; critics berate her for not being convincing. But maybe it’s not Del Rey’s fault that this gloomwashing of whiteness (“Okay, we suck, but look how much we hate ourselves!”) doesn’t work. Maybe the material can no longer be made convincing.
Del Rey’s whiteness is unstable because it seems somehow faintly disturbed by the knowledge of its formation. Why else the death wish? Why else do her lips circulate independently of her face? Her lips are so plump and pleasingly symmetrical that when she first became famous a lot of people thought they were fake. The mouth became a phenomenon in its own right, signifying some kind of excess that couldn’t be assimilated. There was an exposé of her alleged “lip-enhancement surgery” and a Tumblr where someone Photoshopped the mouth onto images of celebrities. With a couple of exceptions, most of the famous faces enhanced with Lana lips on this blog belong to white people. Evidently the joke doesn’t work so well when the lips are transposed onto black people’s faces. When thick lips belong to black people, they are part of the apparatus of racial and racist identification. But on a white girl, big lips are sexy and suspicious. They must be fake meaning they look fake might be interchangeable with they better be fake. In the context of American whiteness’s paranoid relation to what it perceives as the blood taint of blackness (which is also the taint of white guilt), false full lips might be deeply preferable to a real full mouth, even if they are superficially derided.
Things girls look for in a boy:
•Fighter of the Night Man
•Champion of the sun
•Master of karate and friendship for everyone
me when buying something over $10: do i need this? do i need any material objects? will this matter when i face the great abyss?