Lady Gaga’s newest video isn’t a pop song, it’s a plea for air conditioning. In the seizure-inducing new video for “Perfect Illusion,” set in the bone-dry desert surrounding Los Angeles, the Super Bowl-bound pop star is probably suffering from heat stroke. Look at her, tumbling among the weeds like the dried-up shell of a discarded lover, lamenting her visual hallucination of a bad romance.
The human body and brain aren’t designed to withstand such heat. In the deserts on the outskirts of L.A., temperatures commonly reach 100 degrees, which is a level of heat that can quickly induce heatstroke. The symptoms can be severe: The usual nausea and vomiting can give way to confusion and a racing pulse, and when it’s really bad, violent behavior, delirium, and, yup, hallucinations. If Gaga’s at the point where she’s imagining entire relationships, she must be very hot indeed.
Should we be worried about Mother Monster? The effects that heat can have on the brain and behavior can be quite serious. Scientists have provided plenty of evidence for a link between violent crime and sudden exposure to hot temperatures, which places her, a hurt and confused and potentially vicious ex-girlfriend, in a precarious situation.
As far as gossip blogs have shown, Lady Gaga does not regularly spend time in extreme heat, so her sudden sojourn to the desert for this video shoot would definitely constitute a shock to her system capable of inducing bad behavior. Heatstroke gets worse: If she’s got a history of mental illness, the sudden heat could exacerbate the symptoms, as Australian scientists found when they studied a correlation between 80-plus degree heat and hospital admissions for mental disorders in 2008.
Given the video’s desert setting and it’s ending, one might wonder whether Lady Gaga’s hallucinations might actually be a mirage — an optical, not psychological, illusion precipitated by the desert heat. But the video is missing the telltale blurriness of a mirage, which is actually a pool of refracted light that manifests as a shimmering puddle on the ground. Instead, we have delirium, blurred vision, and flashing lights — telltale signs that, wherever Mama Monster is, it’s way too hot.