After months of diligently ignoring this Lady Gaga person, I finally got down to listening to her stuff and have found her to be both a delightful discovery and a bit of a worry.
Her music, which she apparently writes herself, is catchy, addictive and just plain exciting, but that alas is where Gaga’s virtues end. This horse-faced bastard daughter of Marilyn Manson and Madonna Ciccone differs from other pop tarts only in that she has some serious songwriting ability, a head full of intellectual and artistic pretensions, and hasn’t yet put out a sex tape.
Not only are the former Stefani Germanotta’s videos replete with the bacchanalia so beloved of contemporary youth, but like so many of today’s empty headed young women, little Stefani insists on telling us what she thinks, and what she thinks is pretty much the dark crap one would except from a girl who spent her school years being the class weirdo.
From glamorizing dysfunctional relationships in “Bad Romance”, to excusing female sexual dishonesty in “Poker Face” ( a song apparently inspired by Gaga’s habit of fantasizing about women while getting it on with men ) to declaring career to be more important than relationships (which of course marks her as strong and independent rather than as “commitmentphobic”) to her promotion of the worst aspects of gay culture, in Lady Gaga we have the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the modern feminist woman: a delusional sense of self-importance that makes Ted Turner look like a shrinking violet; an obsession with sex that makes Wilt Chamberlain look like a eunuch; and a fixation on external appearance that makes Donatella Versace look like Mother Teresa.
And yes, contrary to her previous statements, Little Ms Empty Vessel now identifies herself as “a little bit of a feminist” and is starting to spout a lot of unsurprising rhetoric such as claims that the video for “Bad Romance” is about “how the entertainment industry can, in a metaphorical way, simulate human trafficking — products being sold, the woman perceived as a commodity,” and whining about women in the music industry not being allowed to sing about sex!
Then there’s her AIDS charity work which of course is all about the wiminz, her claims that her sexuality is commented on because she is a woman rather than because her ass is constantly in everyone’s faces, and her supposed bisexuality, something which could previously have been seen as catering to male fantasies but which now takes on the covert separatist message of “I don’t need men.” Before you know it, little Stefani will be whining about the wage gap and opening a girls-only school in Africa!
So as Mamma Ciccone gets gnarlier and older and starts to stink up the castle, the Feminist Pop Icon crown seems about to be picked up by this little chippie, and the postmodern feminist blitherings will continue for at least another twenty years. Perhaps we’ll get lucky this time, maybe Gaga will live up to her name and go mad like Britney Spears or use her very real talent to become another Kate Bush or Patti Smith, but we all know where the smart money is and as usual it is not with the sane alternative.
No doubt there are people who will say this is all harmless, that Lady GaGa is being ironic and everyone knows it, or that pop culture doesn’t have that big an impact on kids anyway.
To the former I say that a bunch of adult music critics may see her shenanigans as irony, but that the average teenager consuming Gaga’s product can’t tell the difference between postmodern irony and warm apple pie, especially not when their hormones have just been kicked into hyper-drive.
To the latter I would say that the impact of popular culture on youth can’t be overstated. Here in Australia we have wiggers, but you know what we don’t have? We don’t have black Americans, just aboriginals and a few African immigrants. Yet we have thousands of kids in Sydney who act and talk like members of a subculture that they have only ever experienced through, you guessed it, the media.
The Jacques Derrida wannabes may be able to see different layers of meaning in GaGa’s lyrics and interviews, but the intellectuals of the world aren’t a bunch of teens looking to the media for their life’s philosophy. What the ordinary teenager sees and hears from Little Ms BlahBlah is simple – get laid, get famous, be superficial, and don’t worry about who you lie to or who you cheat on, it’s all good. And that’s a message that does nobody any favors, except maybe Lady GaGa and her bank account.
In case you have no idea who i’m talking about, here’s the video for Bad Romance. At the time of writing it has been viewed over 160 million times and that’s on YouTube alone – ignore her at your children’s peril.