Sexuality

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.

“It’s a little secret, just the Robinsons’ affair…”

As a general rule The Dreaming Arm tends to avoid commenting on that storm (or should that be Stormont?)-in-a-teacup  style primary school playground bunfight known as Northern Ireland politics.  There are other blogs better equipped to do that, such as Snailer McCoole (or whatever his name is) or that Russian bloke who likes football and David Cameron.  Nevertheless, I just couldn’t resist commenting on this particular incident!

Mrs Robinson and Benjamin in "The Graduate"

 
“Here’s to you Mrs Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know”
 
So sang Simon & Garfunkel in the soundtrack to the film The Graduate.
 
In a fascinating case of life imitating art the film was about an affair between Mrs Robinso,n a married middle-aged woman (Anne Bancroft) and Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman), a young university graduate.  Now it’s been reported that a real life Mrs Robinson, Iris Robinson MP and wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson has had an extra-marital affair with a lad almost young enough to be her grandson.  As a bible-thumping self-proclaimed Christian and noted homophobe Iris may feel that true to the song, Jesus (being a forgiving sort of chap) does indeed love her.  Whether young Kirk feels the same remains to be seen, but unlike the former (to quote from The Life of Brian) he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.
 
 And to further spice things up there’s also a tale of alleged financial impropriety tied to the whole affair.  Tabloid journalists (and bloggers with too much time on their hands) are no doubt having a field day.
 
Peter not surprisingly denies the allegations of his wife’s financial wrongdoing.  But then he would.  A bearded politician from the opposite side of the sectarian fence is also prone to issuing denials – which are greeted with howls of laughter from the dogs in the street.
 
Robinson is known as “Peter the Punt” after leading a violent incursion across the border into Co. Monaghan with a baying mob in the 1980s and subsequently escaping jail by paying a court-imposed fine.  But experts in rhyming slang have claimed that he always was a bit of a punt anyway – in much the same way as Bernie Madoff was a banker.
 
Iris has made her bed, she can lie in it –as I’m sure she did once or twice with Kirk!  
To drown his sorrows the Punt may well down several cans of strong beer such as Stella (or “Wifebeater” as I believe it’s colloquially known for some reason) – or whatever his preferred tipple is.  (Other alcoholic drinks are available).
 
And isn’t it doubly ironic that Robbo’s deputy in the NI Assembly bears an uncanny resemblance to Art Garfunkel who co-sang the above song?

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Popular recording artist Art Garfunkel

 
We’ve come full circle…as the actress said to the bishop.

Current Affairs Magazine desperate to increase sales?

Are the folks at The Village desperate to shift more copies?

On arrival in Belfast on Christmas eve, having flown in from London that morning I had a bit of time to wait to catch the bus back to Omagh.  So I ventured into WH Smiths for a browse.  In such situations I generally make a point of looking at the Irish current affairs magazines which aren’t available in London.  Hidden discreetly behind a stack of Economists or some similar such publication was the latest edition of the Dublin-based current affairs magazine The Village with a rather eye-catching front cover of the sort one would normally see on the top shelf.  Is it just me or does the woman on the cover bear an uncanny resemblance to one of The Corrs?

So to mark an issue dedicated to the themes of sexual equality and gender (or more likely in a desperate attempt to boost flagging sales), the magazine has gone for this particular type of cover.  Ironically, the staff at WH Smiths had decided to hide it away which was more likely to have the opposite effect.  But in a further ironic twist I did end up buying it – so it did work.

In its monthly “Village idiot” section, the magazine has nominated foul-mouthed, attention-seeking Green Party TD Paul “Fuck you Deputy Stagg” Gogarty following his recent outburst in the Dáil involving the use of “most unparliamentary language” directed at a fellow member and “by constantly – tiresomely and hypocritically disagreeing with policies he then votes for”.  The incident has become so famous that it even featured in a recent airing of the BBC TV satirical panel show Have I Got News For You.  But for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t seen it, you can view it here:

There’s also an article by the senator, academic and gay rights campaigner David Norris on anti-gay discrimination in the Republic – the only article in the magazine on this particular topic.  So does this mean that Norris is the only gay in “The Village”?