When Lipa Schmeltzer’s new music video, “Hang Up the Phone,” hit the Internet last week, I didn’t know what to think. What on God’s green earth was this?
The video is a study in contradictions. So much so that, as Josh Nathan-Kazis observes, it enters into the Uncanny Valley between Hasidic and mainstream culture. With its pop sounds and Lady Gaga imagery it’s an affront to the Haredi establishment, whose worst fears about outside influence it confirms. That would be the same establishment that successfully shut down Lipa’s “Big Event” at Madison Square Garden in 2008, making the video even more of a provocation.
But the lyrics! Oy. “The gadgets make us lazy / We gotta take it easy / uh uh oh / Can you hang up the phone?” Is there a more culturally conservative, moralistic message than that? Apparently, according to Lipa Schmeltzer, technology is eroding the fabric of our civilization. (Quick! Someone alert Ann Landers!) Watch clips of Orthodox apologist Eytan Kobre at the recent anti-Internet Asifa at Citi Field, and it sounds like much the same thing. Ugh.