13th August 2012, 10:38 PM #1
Toooooo much coffeeeeeee
Gaga is a fraud
The Case Against Lady Gaga: The Essay
Lady Gaga has been described as “a voice for our generation.” She is a woman on the verge of releasing Born This Way, a potentially world-changing record which one person has called “the greatest album of this decade.” The lead single of the same name has been dubbed the “anthem for our generation.” Her concerts have been deemed “youth churches,” and, as someone once put it: “the bitch can sing.”
Oh, right — just so you know: all of those quotes are Lady Gaga talking about herself.
The Truth About Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga’s favorite subject is Lady Gaga. She envisions herself as an enigmatic riddle wrapped inside a mysterious paradox. For my inability to understand this infinitely complex figure, I’m constantly being bashed over the head by her Monster Cult: I simply “don’t ‘get’ her,” they say. Browse YouTube comments or Twitter flame wars: her detractors are told that they fail to understand Gaga’s deeper points about celebrity, fame, and art. If we understood what she was aiming at, we’re told, we’d stop aiming our bayonets at her and proclaim ourselves Little Monsters, too.
In this essay — which will be ever-growing — I intend to chronicle, in fairly comprehensive fashion, why I totally do “get” Lady Gaga — and why to understand her is not to embrace her.
2010 was a watershed year for her — but for all the wrong reasons. Having achieved fame, she has shed the arty, self-knowing persona of her early period and has come to embody all of the pop life’s worst attributes: egomania, pretension, and self-importance, topped off with a big, steaming pile of histrionics.
Let’s begin by examining what exactly a ‘Little Monster’ is.
The Sociology of the Monster Cult
The first notable point about the term ‘Little Monster’ is that it did not evolve organically, as was the case with, say, Justin Bieber’s equivalent, the ‘Beliebers.’ Lady Gaga herself decreed that her followers were her ‘Little Monsters,’ and they obediently followed suit in adopting the terminology. It was not a creation of the fans: ‘Mother Monster’ simply started calling them that during her concerts (or ‘youth churches,’ as she has called them) and they adopted the moniker without protest.
No big deal. But why ‘monsters’? Let’s allow Gaga to explain herself. Here, in her own words: the full text of the ‘Manifesto of Little Monsters.’
There’s something heroic about the way my fans operate their cameras. So precisely and intricately, so proudly, and so methodically. Like Kings writing the history of their people. It’s their prolific nature that both creates and procures what will later be perceived as the “kingdom.” So, the real truth about Lady Gaga fans lies in this sentiment: They are the kings. They are the queens. They write the history of the kingdom, while I am something of a devoted Jester.
It is in the theory of perception that we have established our bond. Or, the lie, I should say, for which we kill. We are nothing without our image. Without our projection. Without the spiritual hologram of who we perceive ourselves to be, or to become, in the future.
The first thing that’s notable about this startlingly incoherent manifesto is that it’s actually not a manifesto. A manifesto is a body of work outlining the intentions and core components of an ideology or movement. Gaga’s two-paragraph brain-droppings can be described as many things, but ‘manifesto’ is not a term that comes to mind.
Second, if the manifesto is of Little Monsters, then it ought properly to be written by Little Monsters, not Lady Gaga. (And the word ‘prolific’? I don’t think it means what she thinks it means.) A proper fan community should be allowed to grow organically. But from the naming of the community to the expression of its ideas, the Monster Cult seems to be a strictly top-down operation: Lady Gaga issues the decrees, and the Monsters follow suit.
Gaga’s inscrutable ramblings aside, the common explanation seems to be that ‘monster’ is a tongue-in-cheek reference to what is allegedly the nature of the typical Lady Gaga fan: eccentric, a bit freakish, maybe a bit of a misfit. Mother Monster thus styles herself as the Queen of the Misfits; a public representation of the positive, artistic role of the outcast. She diligently thanks her Monsters in all of her public speeches and appearances, declaring them her reason for living and even the true writers of Born This Way. In October 2010, Lady Gaga even took to her Twitter to announce that, for Halloween, she was going to dress up as a Little Monster.
It takes a special kind of egomania to dress up as a fan of yourself for Halloween. But then, Lady Gaga’s arrogance — already thoroughly documented in the first paragraph — is pretty extraordinary.
“The funny thing is that some people have reduced freedom to a brand. They think that it’s trendy now to be free. They think it’s trendy to be excited about your identity. When in truth, there is nothing trendy about Born This Way.”
Gaga spoke those words as November 2010 drew to a close; the statement was a seeming allusion to a recent duo of #1 pop hits: Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R,” and Katy Perry’s “Firework,” both of which emphasize self-expression and individuality.
Gaga’s statement is perplexing on a couple of levels. Somewhere along the line, this woman seems to have convinced herself that her music is about personal liberation, individuality, and self-expression. A cursory glance at Gaga’s small catalog of music reveals that she has written a grand total of zero songs emphasizing this theme. And her most visible songs undercut the message on a grand scale: her major hits have been about getting wasted at a party (“Just Dance”), having sex (“Poker Face”), and ignoring your boyfriend while you’re clubbing (“Telephone”). Who exactly, then, is Lady Gaga to be lecturing anyone else about lyrical themes?
The point I’m making here is not that there is something wrong with singing about booze, boys, and parties, but rather that if Lady Gaga is going to parade herself around as an exemplar of personal liberation, she really ought to write a song about something other than, well — booze, boys, and parties. There’s nothing wrong with the topic, really: but can we please try not to pass it off as high art?
Worse, still: if Lady Gaga is serious about encouraging young people to embrace their identities, why on Earth would she be spitting upon others’ efforts in furthering this message? Ke$ha and Katy Perry are high-profile pop singers, after all. One would think that Gaga would want to thank them for embracing a positive message. One would think that she would view them as allies in helping others. But alas, this is not the way that Lady Gaga operates: the disgusting truth seems to be that she simply wants the stage to herself. (Perhaps, one might venture, she’d recognized that the music she’d released to that point had absolutely nothing to do with individual expression — and was thus angry that other artists beat her to the punch.)
The obvious retort here by the Monster Cult is that Lady Gaga has been hard at work on an album full of songs about individual expression, self-acceptance, and personal liberation. This is, at least, what I’ve been breathlessly informed of by the Monsters: she’s using mindless pop to get her foot in the door, or so goes the line — and then she’ll unleash her high art.
Fine. Maybe so. (Although, given the asinine inanity of the lyrics of “Born This Way,” I highly doubt it.) But right now, we’ve heard nothing but talk. It would be bad enough if she’d released a song or two about individuality and then hit the road as a one-woman hype machine for her own brilliance. That’s color-by-numbers, par-for-the-course industry arrogance, and it’s never becoming. But Gaga’s arrogance is virtually unprecedented: it takes a special kind of audacity to take cheap shots at others for putting out allegedly inferior versions of art that you have yet to even produce!
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"I'd call you an arsehole but you lack the depth and warmth"
"Jesus is coming....OPEN YOUR MOUTH!"
“Life’s just a fisting without lubricant.”
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