Friday, November 13, 2009

Disco stick it to me! I just got the most hilarious piece of hate mail via Facebook! It was from Mary Kimble, the subject line was "gaga", and it said:
"a friend of mine told me ab this site..ive read alot of neg comments but urs merits attn. songs called LoveGame n she says "i wanna take a ride on YOUR disco stick"Nxt time u diss gaga..u better know what ur talkin eh eh.we never heard of roison in USA since started attacking gaga...if roisons so hott then y does gaga have 9 million fans n shes virtually unknown.GaGa is here to stay..get a life bye bye"
It took me ages to work out what the fuck Mary was on about, but then I remembered that back in January – JANUARY! – I had written some negative comments about Lady GaGa on a Facebook group called Lady Gaga has led me to doubt the inherent restorative power of pop music. The description of the group, which was written by its founder Tim Finney, goes:
Okay, really, let's just be honest: she is AWFUL.

And what's more, her awfulness is actively DESTRUCTIVE, insofar as it retroactively introduces a kernel of unease into all sorts of previously ENJOYABLE faux-glam-sexkitten-pseudo-artistry maneuvers by Madonna, Kylie, Roison Murphy et. al. Like, yes, this is great, but to the extent that it has led to the monstrosity that is Lady Gaga, isn't it also somehow suspect?

I condemn you twice over, Lady Gaga: once, for being so crap, and twice, for spelling the end of the AGE OF INNOCENCE with regard to space age strip club femme-pop.

We never knew how much it meant to us until it was cruelly ripped away.
And I had written:
'Just Dance' is a terrible song. It's not as bad, however, as another GaGa song about "take a ride on my disco stick" that I heard in Supré one time. Is this meant to be some cynical attempt to be a Gay Diva? You get the feeling it's not even her stick - she just saw a picture of it on the internet this one time.
Hahaha, I get it now: I got the pronoun wrong! But really, I feel I was justified in believing the stick in question belonged to Lady GaGa, given all the hermaphrodite rumours. Basically, she is Hedwig of the band Hedwig and the Angry Inch:

The resemblance, I think you'll find, is uncanny.

But really, I have felt so betrayed this year as people whom I consider pop music literate have abandoned me and now like Lady GaGa. Possibly even Finney! It's like a zombie movie, where you discover that your loved ones have become infected.

Whereas I stubbornly maintain that she corrodes our culture. I don't care whose goddamn stick it is; the fact remains that she has fooled intelligent people into considering her sophisticated and subversive when those same people would jeer at 50 Cent for his similarly moronic lyrics in 'Candy Shop'.

So, why do smart people like Lady GaGa? From what I hear before my own frustrated sobs drown it out, they find her life of artifice aesthetically pleasing: her surrealist outfits (and the determination with which she refuses to let her absurd public image 'slip'); her deadpan, nonsensical interviews; the suspicion that her entire career is a prank on the music industry. Perhaps the notion that she's wildly popular – even among those without the "pop music intelligence" to consider her on an intellectual level, or indeed even spell properly – could even be said to add to her 'genius' because she's an 'accessible artist'.

No. No, no, no, no, no. I think we shouldn't settle for the kind of cynical artifice that Lady GaGa is peddling. Let's compare her to Britney Spears, over whom a pall of idiotic controversy has lately fallen because the masses have just realised that she mimes at her concerts.

Leaving aside questions of the two singers' relative musical merit (personally I believe that a '…Baby One More Time' or 'Toxic' towers over a 'Let's Dance' or 'Poker Face'), I'd argue that while Britney Spears's career, like Lady GaGa's, has been built on overproduced, disposable pop, there's an honesty, somehow, to Britney that makes her more appealing. There's the notion that Britney's artifice is fragile and maintained only with the greatest effort – and, most of all, maintained out of a sincere belief in the transcendent power of pop music.

Whereas I feel very strongly that music does not matter very much to Lady GaGa; rather, it's the vehicle by which she's decided to 'get famous', and possibly outside contemporary art it's the only artform that can tolerate her iron-fisted insistence on subsuming whatever personality she might have into this performance that is her career.

Also, I think that pop artifice at its best comes with a playfulness that I see as being completely absent from Lady GaGa's career. I see her antics as a punishing, humourless regime which we can only bear to watch by injecting our own playfulness and irony. Lady GaGa is an affective vampire, draining us of our ability to feel pop music.

God I loathe her so much.

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