Shit Little Monsters Say: Commenter WindRider2

A commenter responds to my Born This Way post:

When did Gaga lash out at other artists in any of her songs? When did she implicitly take shots at Katy Perry and Ke$ha? (although, given how they treated her at the VMAs, I wouldn’t blame her.) Katy is taking a LOT OF SHOTS from LGBTs for jumping on the bandwagon late and with very little enthusiasm…and for her reputation for making insensitive or flat-out remarks with impunity.

I document this in the long essay. Here is what Gaga said at one of her London concerts:

“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.”

Who would she be talking about, as December 2010 was approaching, but Katy Perry and Ke$ha, who both had recently scored major hits with songs about individuality and self-expression?

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Ke$ha and Katy Perry failed to treat Gaga respectfully at the VMAs. So? If we are to believe Gaga when she insists that her main motivation is to help young people to feel good about their identities, then shouldn’t she be able to put some petty sleight beyond her in order to embrace her pop contemporaries as allies in furthering a positive message? The answer appears to be No: only Gaga is the true individual; only Gaga can authentically write about self-expression; only Gaga can rightly hold the stage on this matter. Absolutely ridiculous.

Katy Perry has “taken shots from LGBTs” for “jumping on the bandwagon”? I’m sure she has; there are as many gay opinions as there are gay mouths. We were divided over whether “I Kissed a Girl” was helpful or harmful — I liked it, myself (although I’d like to see a male version!) — but let’s not put Gaga on a pedestal: she would certainly like people to believe that she’s Queen of the Gays, but most of my own gay friends feel much like I do: that she’s condescending, patronizing, and treats us as some undifferentiated mass. “I’d like to thank the gays,” she says — excuse me, bitch? (Try to imagine someone saying “I’d like to thank the blacks!”)

Personally, I was pissed at Katy when she said that she wanted “Peacock” to become “a gay anthem.” But that’s a veritable drop in the ocean compared to the litany of condescending remarks Gaga has made.

I think you’re seeing something that isn’t there to justify your opinion that she’s a ‘fame whore’. Of course, she is. That’s the entire point of her performance project. She is performing ‘The Fame’, as a deliberate, constructed, reflective performance arts project planned out years ago. As a sculptor may use clay, wood or stone as hir media of expression, Gaga uses music, dance, film, fashion, visual/sonic arts, and technology as her chosen media.

Oh, for God’s sake. When all else fails, trot out some nonsense about Lady Gaga being a performance project. This is absurd. In some respects, all pop art is a project: you craft an image for that album’s respective era, and you run with it. Britney Spears could be said to have had a Circus project.

Do you honestly think that my problem with Lady Gaga is that she “uses music, dance, film, fashion, visual/sonic arts, and technology as her chosen media”? My problem with her above statement is that she’s spitting on other artists for furthering a positive message that Gaga herself alleges to support. But when other people join her in supporting it, she tells them that they’re a bunch of phonies. What kind of asshole does that?

Born This Way signals an end to The Fame project, and the beginning of a new performance project that may span several albums & tours. I have no idea where she’s going with the new concept although it is not limited to gays, as you presuppose. “Born This Way” applies to everyone who is Queer by the original definitions of the word: some who is odd, different, awkward, a freak, a misfit, an outcast, a victim of laughter, ridicule and bullying.

When did the Monster Cult convince themselves that Lady Gaga is some kind of ideal spokeswoman for misfits and outcasts? Her music to this point hasn’t even been about that: her major hits have been about getting wasted at a party, having sex, riding penises, following a boy around, and ignoring one’s boyfriend while clubbing with Beyonce. The album tracks are little different, and it’s not as if Gaga has some life story of alienation and isolation. I speak here as someone who genuinely has felt alienated from his peers since practically the day he was born — and I find it absolutely absurd to be told by the Monster Cult that I’m somehow supposed to relate to Lady Gaga’s music and image.

I haven’t seen or heard anything that gives any reason to think that “Born This Way” is anything other than splendid. Elton John isn’t a Gaga insider, and isn’t in the business of calling a song the new anthem, if the song isn’t genuinely anthemic.

But Elton John loves the lyrical themes. If this album is filled with lyrics such as the ones revealed so far, the general public will simply not swallow it. You cannot build your fame upon a foundation of party songs and then pull the rug out from under everyone. General audiences won’t want to hear a song about how gay boys should love themselves (which is how everyone’s going to interpret it) when they’ve come to expect dance songs about booze and boys.

Finally, a point some monsters have been bringing up…

I think the release date of the album has more to do with her touring schedule…I’m also sure they want her to finish the tour, and rest up while spending time promoting the album. She’s been touring almost non-stop since 2008. Two of her three albums were both written and recorded while on the road, something almost unheard of among her peers.

Maybe. We’ll see. It was just a theory.

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9 Comments

  1. Posted January 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Nice screed that further demonstrates your total lack of knowledge about performance art, the kind of art that existed long before pop music and will continue long after pop music is gone. Take the time to watch gaga’s interview with showstudio.com and I guarantee you’ll learn a hell of a lot about the history and influences behind her art and vision and creativity that have NOTHING to do with pop music.

    And if Lady Gaga meant Katy Perry as someone who tries to make freedom and identity trendy, she’s right. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Katy is homophobic but she’s very very tone deaf and absolutely NEVER indicated giving the slightest rats ass about ppl bullied for their sexuality until ‘Firework’ and its token gay kiss. Anyone who refers to homosexuality as a “taboo” has not the slightest clue what ‘Born This Way’ means or how important it is. Neither Ke$ha nor Katy Perry showed any interest whatsoever in gay rights, DADT, bullies or the epidemic of gay teen suicides sweeping the country until Gaga started fighting for them. Then they hopped on the bandwagon like ppl following a trend, not ppl following their passions and convictions.

  2. Posted January 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    “Firework” isn’t about “people bullied for their sexuality.” I know it’s tough for Gaga fans to understand, but people have other topics on their mind other than sexual orientation — and Gaga hardly invented the concept of “Be Yourself.” Want me to start saying Lady Gaga ripped off Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”? (Actually, I couldn’t say that, because Lady Gaga has never even released a song about self-expression. She just talks about it.)

    There was no “epidemic” of gay teen suicides; every year, a few dozen gay kids commit suicide. The media finally decided to report on them and everyone lost their minds over what people who had been paying attention had known for years.

    Lady Gaga, first of all, showed no interest in gay rights until she became famous and realized that her glamorous image was attracting gay people. And let’s get this straight, okay? She had nothing to do with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell being repealed. Not a little bit — nothing. The policy was deeply unpopular amongst the American people long before Lady Gaga showed up, and Obama and Senate Democrats had supported repeal for a long time. Just because you’re obsessed with Lady Gaga doesn’t mean that the president is, too.

    “Taboo” is a descriptor; it doesn’t need to have judgment applied to it. If Katy was referring to homosexuality as taboo, she just meant that it’s still difficult for people and that there’s still plenty of prejudice surrounding it. Stop assuming the worst about people.

    Also, finally — let’s assume that Ke$ha and Katy did get the idea to talk about this stuff from Lady Gaga. They didn’t, but let’s say they did. My question then becomes: who cares? Again, I ask — why wouldn’t Gaga be happy to see that she inspired other people to speak out like that? I don’t get it at all — unless she just wants the stage all to herself and can’t be grateful for other people’s efforts…but naw, that can’t be it…

  3. Posted January 2, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    “every year, a few dozen kids commit suicide”

    Care to back this up? For starters, around the ballpark of 34,000 people commit suicide each year in the United States alone.

    Research tells us that nearly 1/3 of LGB youth have reported having made a suicide attempt. Nine out of 10 LGBT youth have reported harassment and LGBT students are three times as likely as non-LGBT students to say they don’t feel safe at school. “Everyone” damn well SHOULD lose their minds over this shit.

    There are clear issues here to be addressed. Of course Gaga didn’t invent support for gay rights, nor did she invent coming out in favour of political issues. Bands and artists have been doing that since the dawn of time and have been taking credit for movements. U2, Green Day, etc. all have had significant forays in this context before. Gaga is just the latest Johnny-come-lately to take credit. It seems to me a minor issue in light of the facts, which is to say that if Gaga can use her popularity to shed light on the issues her alleged lack of sincerity is the least of my concerns.

    Your question in the final paragraph is interesting. You state “who cares?” in response to whether or not Katy or Ke$ha got ideas from Gaga, but the general thrust of your comment is that Gaga, too, was not an originator with respect to DADT (she didn’t “invent”. It seems you want to have your logic both ways.

    Furthermore, many artists are jealous and/or condescending towards other artists. Christina Aguilera has made a career out of sniping other artists and taking the spotlight. She’s one of the biggest egomaniacs walking and has had a far more extensive career than Gaga. But to further the theme: who cares?

  4. Posted January 2, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Victim advocacy has, depressingly, become something of a media racket, often preferring attention-grabbing sensationalism to down-to-earth compassion. When it’s said, for instance, that “one-third” of gay youth have “attempted” suicide, I have to ask: what constitutes an “attempt”? I’ve actually seen some studies that will include persistent suicidal thoughts and feelings as “attempts.” I know that we’re not “supposed” to question these findings (apparently it impugns my sense of compassion), but someone’s gotta do it. I don’t like media hysteria. I got plenty of shit in high school for my sexual orientation (both when I was out and when people ‘just knew’), so it’s not as if I don’t have sympathy for this. I just like real numbers, not bullshit ones.

    My problem with Gaga is not that she is not an originator: I have no problem with her wanting to take up these issues (although sincerity is always appreciated, too). My point is that she’s pretending that she is an originator: “There is nothing trendy about Born This Way, but others are trying to make being yourself a trend!” What the hell is that all about?

    Oh, don’t you try to pull the Floptina card on me! I can’t stand that arrogant bitch Aguilera and I was overjoyed to see Bionic flop!

  5. Posted January 2, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    All artists, to some degree, are great pretenders though. I guess I just don’t see Gaga as being all that grotesque an offender to this degree when her career is still in its infancy.

    My point is that pretending is commonplace in the entertainment industry. It’s part of what makes it great and part of what makes it awful.

    In terms of victim advocacy, I could care less what kind of “racket” it is. The notion that “someone’s gotta do it” (with respect to determining what constitutes an “attempt”) only makes me take the next logical step: “why?” I would never implore that someone not question any statistical pattern; I would, however, wonder as to the rationale.

    Furthermore, what value is in it? Is carefulness really the best counterpoint to “hysteria?” Or is the mad rush of attention sometimes worth it, especially when the issue is as serious as suicide?

    I know, I know. We’re off on something like suicide when we’re supposed to be talking trash about Lady Gaga. But even you must admit that the mere fact this topic comes up as related to Gaga says something about the path she’s chosen to walk/imitate. And that’s worth something, isn’t it?

  6. Alexia
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I felt identified for what I’ve read, this artist has change so much in such a short time I like her music and probably I’ll still listen to her songs is like a hate-love thing but the person is not someone who I would like to be a fan/stan I must say I am a truly fan of Britney Spears as a person she’s just wonderful.

    I really hope this site can get noticed more I think instead of “accept themselves” Gaga is trying to people hate who they’re or change themselves, only people who are not ok with who they’re can be little monsters? maybe. She said she loves Brit and ohh she’s the queen of pop but I bet now she doesn’t give a fuck about her, of course now she doesn’t need to do that to gain some fans …and what about what she did at the VMA’s last year with Jared Leto who went to her seat to say hello and she clearly don’t gave him even the “thanks for recording my song” or at least “HI”!! I just can’t stand her attitude! “Kiss the queen” and hell.. I would never like to be called a little monster so ridiculous! anyway please just keep with this site.

  7. CK
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    Gaga sticks up for the ones bullied – clearly never been to the Monster Ball.

    I agree completely with WindRider, and trust me, I know she knows what she’s talking about, I’ve got my sources.

    Katy Perry used Fireworks as a video for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Who helped DATD in the first place? Not Katy. She’s kind and all, but if you’re calling Gaga bitchy, then Katy’s the devil.

    Nightnight.

  8. CCCC
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 2:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    “Two of her three albums were both written and recorded while on the road, something almost unheard of among her peers.”

    i hate when gaga fans say stuff like this. as if any other method of making an album is ‘less devoted’ because ‘thts not now how gaga does it!111!!’

    her fans are just so fckn annoying.

  9. Disappointed
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Katy Perry has “taken shots from LGBTs” for “jumping on the bandwagon”?

    Yup, she has. Everyone remembers I Kissed A Girl but there’s also Ur So Gay about her boyfriend who acts too stereotypically ‘gay’ (Even though he’s not) and just isn’t good enough for her because of that.

    Then she switches around to “Oh lol i totes support them.” I don’t think so.

One Trackback

  1. By Inside the Gaga Cult « lady gaga is a fraud. on January 27, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    […] that she was a Poker-Face era Gaga fan and that she misses that era, windrider2, who is definitely familiar with this site, said: That’s a lot like all the right wing politicos in America who believe only in the good […]

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