Friday, May 27, 2011

Goo goo over Gaga

Gaga letting her freak flag fly...
I admit that many new bizarre pop cultural phenomenon solicit a very east end of Hamilton response from me ... WTF? When I have a chance to be more circumspect, I will come around and admit that certain pop culture figures have appeal for me. I usually begin with a casual hate then succumb to a grudging desire and respect, confirming what my friend CP once claimed that "hate masks desire".

Exhibit A: Lady Gaga. This young woman, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, is obviously intelligent and can be articulate when she chooses. She went to a private Catholic girls school and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is interested in art and the history of music. She is immensely talented vocally and as a pianist. Influences include: Madonna, Queen and Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Elton John, glam rock ... yes I see them all.  I respect how she has synthesized and blended these influences into the weird and wonderful mish-mash that she is.

But I have to say I am often distracted (read annoyed) by the weird kabuki style makeup, the impossible clothes and heel-less shoes that she is literally unable to walk in. And what's with the no-pants thing? Would it kill you to cover your butt some days, I crankily wonder (obviously being the mother of a teen affects the way I see this).

I get hung up on but what does it mean? Should it have meaning? Isn't it just about freedom from conventionality and letting your freak flag fly? Am I too conservative to "get" it? More importantly, is there anything to get?

But I wonder ... how long can this artsy quirkiness last? It's hard to imagine Gaga at 35 - ten years from now. Or at 45, twenty years from now, in the same get-ups with the same self-absorbed, lame answers when interviewed. She sometimes reminds me of the worst side of Madonna in these instances with inane. bored responses, distracted-seeming, arrogant (see recent Letterman appearance on May 23, 2011).

I don't know. Sometimes I think it's more about a lonely, insecure girl trying to elicit love from a world she is fearful of. The girl who doesn't think she's pretty enough so she shows up at the party in a low cut blouse and a short skirt.

She talks about her insecurities constantly - about being bullied and ridiculed in high school, about being self-conscious of her "big" nose and her looks. She sometimes claims that she wakes up and still feels that she is a "loser". But what does that mean - someone who is not famous? Someone who is not pretty? Not talented? She wants her "little monsters" to be assured that they too are special and that they too can do great things.

This rah rah rah - look at us we're freaks and proud of it - thing  makes me uneasy at times. Constantly hiding behind a mask and bizarre couture. Is that about accepting oneself? Or is it hiding because you are afraid to show people what you are really like ... just an average looking Italo-American girl with a great deal of energy and talent?

That ain't so bad you know.


Christine said...

The no-pants thing aside, I like her. Amazingly talented but also young...very young yet. I think she'll continue to grow. I have a feeling she'll be an amazing 45...but maybe not. I'm rooting for her.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree that she is probably insecure. The most insecure people I've known are usually the ones who make themselves up to call attention to themselves, either with blue hair, low-cut tops excessive piercing. There is probably a group of people out there who actually feel like themselves when wearing a dress made of raw meat, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that in Gaga's case, it's just a stunt. The problem is that her message of be proud of who you are doesn't really work, because she is actually hiding who she is. Generally, I have to say that I hate her music, too. Not as much as a lot of the other crap in the genre. At least she sings about something other than dancing. But I can't say I've heard a single song that I think will endure. Funny, she does "Born this way" which is supposed to be this anthem for people who are different, but I think the song along the same lines that will endure will be Pink's "Perfect". I like the comparison with Pink, because she strikes me as the Gaga that Gaga should be. She is outrageous sometimes, but infinitely more genuine than Gaga..

Michelle said...

She's a complex person it seems ... it would be easy to dismiss her but when that many young people feel that strong a connection, she has tapped into something powerful. Something perhaps that we are no longer in touch with as adults.