Lady Gaga and the media pseuds: easy meat

Anyone familiar with the magazine Private Eye may have see the regular column “Pseuds Corner” in which readers are invited to send in examples of pompous quotations from the media.

I came across an article in The Observer on Lady Gaga by Polly Vernon which would take pride of place in Pseuds Corner.
It has to be the most pretentious, self-indulgent, meaningless pile of pseudo-intellectual crap I’ve read in a long time (apart from my own blog posts that is), as this extract below demonstrates:

“Lady Gaga’s video version of sexuality is extraordinary from an aesthetic perspective. She makes fashion statements out of gimp masks and gaffer tape, and orgies of vast synchronised dance segments. She turns sex into camp theatre and the end result is challenging and alarming and powerful and exciting. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have been revisited by so many other singers.

Gaga owns this version of sex and she’s not asking you to approve it. She’s a complete pop icon – but she’s no pin-up. She hasn’t bothered constructing a version of herself designed to please a straight male audience. Lady Gaga doesn’t do pretty, or available, or submissive, or obviously glamorous. Instead she does scary, she does theatrical, she does brave. Her costume choices – though often revealing, and sometimes not entirely complete; she famously chose to go on stage at Glastonbury in 2009 without any pants – are too fiercely directional to appeal to most men. There is something Bowie, something early Madonna-esque about the way Lady Gaga wields her sexuality. Something unapologetic, unflinching, and shameless in the very best sense.”

Incidentally when Lady Gaga chose to court controversy and be the centre of attention (something she seems to enjoy doing – following in the footsteps of Madonna who she has shamelessley ripped off – and also has a similarly gigantic ego) by wearing a dress made of meat at a recent award ceremony she wasn’t being particularly original. The cover of an album by the Undertones (arguably the greatest band ever to come of Derry – but then that wouldn’t be too difficult) from the early 1980s depicts a similar image.

So not content with copying Madonna she chooses to copy the Undertones as well. Talk about scraping the barrel. The pork barrel in this case.
Spot the difference:

Apologies to all vegetarians out there. No doubt to make amends she’ll wear a nut roast and tofu dress at her next outing.

Camille Paglia, writng in the Sunday Times by contrast is unlke Vernon, no grovellor. She hits the nail on the head with this observation:

Every public appearance, even absurdly at airports where most celebrities want to pass incognito, has been lavishly scripted in advance with a flamboyant outfit and bizarre hairdo assembled by an invisible company of elves.
Furthermore, despite showing acres of pallid flesh in the fetish-bondage garb of urban prostitution, Gaga isn’t sexy at all – she’s like a gangly marionette or plasticised android. How could a figure so calculated and artificial, so clinical and strangely antiseptic, so stripped of genuine eroticism have become the icon of her generation?
Gaga has borrowed so heavily from Madonna (as in her latest video-Alejandro) that it must be asked, at what point does homage become theft?

Perfectly put.



  1. Tearing apart a famous person just because they’re famous is as tired and boring as fawning over them. Gotta love it when critics resort to the lazy, hackneyed “pseudo intellectual” label to describe a concept or person that or who is beyond their mind-grasp or simply out-thinks them.

    Lady Gaga is the best thing pop culture has going for itself these days and she’s good for society. Any time you can visit a tired, old rust belt city with a depleted population like Buffalo, NY and sell out its arena you’re probably doing something right, even if only for your own bank account.

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