Goddamn It, Lady Gaga's In The News Again

So, Lady Gaga said a thing again and I just have to ask myself why people listen to her? There are people who are just as naked and half as delusional.

Those of you who know me know I have a particular dislike of Lady Gaga, to say the least. Being a sociologist, I hate having knee-jerk reactions to things that I can't explain, so every so often I sit down and try to figure out why that is, exactly. It's like poking at a bruise that keeps reappearing. I just can't quit until I know how the damn thing keeps coming back.

I know a lot of what it isn't. The sexuality doesn't bother me -- I was once a fan of classic Madonna, although I like her more recent stuff less. Nor am I bothered by any of the rampant homoerotic, transsexual, transgender, androgynous, uncanny-valley imagery. I listen to Japanese visual kei, and believe me, nobody does weird, especially gender-bending weird, as well as Japan. It's also, surprisingly, not her music itself; I don't think she's anywhere near as original as everyone else seems to, but she's a talented musician, a decent songwriter, and if she turned the goddamn Autotune off she could carry a tune just fine.

I think a lot of it comes down to the feeling that, while she has some idea of how she comes off to other people, and she's intentionally trying to tick them off with most of it, she lacks some kind of visceral understanding of why people feel what she does is inappropriate. I think she thinks she's being intellectually transgressive. (Transgressive maybe, intellectual no. In her video for "Born This Way" -- which was a perfectly good song when Madonna did it in the mid-90s, as "Express Yourself" -- a full third of the running time is taken up by a preface, the 'manifesto of Mother Monster'. It's awful. It doesn't irk me that people think that's art, it irks me that people think that's fucking coherent.) I feel almost embarrassed on her behalf, watching some of her stuff. It reeks disquietingly of 'trying much too hard'.

I also get the feeling she has a really skewed idea of what she physically looks like. She describes herself in that article as a "voluptuous little Italian girl". I guess she might have been as a teenager, but she certainly isn't now. It's pretty obvious that she either starves/works herself to death before she films any of her videos, or has herself digitally slimmed in the final footage. If that's a "voluptuous Italian", I will eat my newsie cap. The impression is pretty pervasive, too; one of the first things I said when I saw "Just Dance" was that none of those costumes fit her quite right somehow.