CAMILLE PAGLIA FINALLY UNDERSTANDS LADY GAGA


In one of today's British sunday newspapers, the critical thinker and theorist wrote lyrically and in-depth about Lady GaGa. And seemed to be demolishing the performer. Arguably, Paglia pretty much destroyed the singer. Paglia states:

"Gaga's fans are marooned in a global technocracy of fancy gadgets but emotional poverty. Borderlines have been blurred between public and private: reality TV shows multiply, cell phone conversations blare everywhere; secrets are heedlessly blabbed on Facebook and Twitter. Hence, Gaga gratuitously natters on about her vagina…"

But I'll go one step further than Camille Paglia does. Putting aside the fact Paglia is a well-known fan of Madonna the article is actually pretty airtight but to me is concludes no real revelations. Her piece arrives at thoughts that is not shocking or new. Lady GaGa is a product of a Swedish autotune pop factory. I find her music shockingly soulless, sometimes atrocious but on many occasions wonderfully catchy (and thankfully for her label, catching, much like herpes). Her lyrics are incredibly and beautifully throw-away. Beyond this, Paglia states Lady GaGa is sexless and superficial. So? Within this, Camille's social essay seems to be that she's taken aback by a world that has adopted Lady GaGa as a queen of deconstruction. Deconstructing everything she consumes and is thus HI-ART. This is her critical critique.

But as pop fan I've always felt that this was never what Lady GaGa was about. She's no more deconstructive than that wonderful failed British popgroup Girl Thing. And as such, maybe Paglia has lost the point. She prefers to compare GaGa to other performers. This is dangerous territory. So, you like Tina Turner. Blast out Proud Mary and turn off Bad Romance. Its clear Bad Romance is utter shit next to something like Proud Mary. It will always be. But that's not a fact that is all-earth-shattering is it? Is it? To Camille it kinda is. I find this incredibly funny. Indeed, anyone listening to Alejendro will have heard Fernando by ABBA, Ace Of Base and Madonna when she still made good records. Lady Paglia's essay is built on one fact: that ultimately Lady GaGa is a bit shit & vacuous. But is that news? No, not really. If you want revolutionary electronic pop Camille, buy Robyn's Body Talk (especially Part Two). I know Lady GaGa will be tracing every single outline of Robyn's latest in an attempt to try and imitate the Swedish popstars' record before she releases her follow-up to her debut album.....

GaGa's relations with all things Scandi is well entrenched. Indeed, the Paglia piece on Lady GaGa seems to be saying she's a popstar who has simply imported a key important European narrative and made it her own: the epic story written by Hans Christian Andersons The Emperor's New Clothes. To me I've always know this about Lady GaGa and this is why she is brilliant. Camille's article is supposed to be shocking. It isn't. It just underscores what I've always felt about the performer. She's not about sex. She's not about great music. She doesn't have a great voice. Yes Yes. It might not even be about the show (though, I'm sure members of the Haus of GaGa would argue she is a groundbreaking performative artist). And, the masses of ticket sales may prove that point. Paglia states she's simply a scripted and calculated "gangly marionette". Like this a bad thing? Paglia! GaGa isn't even this! Darling, this credits Gaga with far too much. She's simply a modern example of an individual caught in their own very re-writing, and re-living, of the Danish fairy tale of The Emperor's New Clothes. Nothing more and never anything less.

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8 comments:

jerms said...

brilliant analysis - gaga is self-delusional and it's as simple as that

Mike said...

I totally disagree with Camilia and your commentary. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion - I think it's hilarious that we're all supposed to love or hate someone - but for me, Gaga is a one of the few great pop stars in the game today.

Sure, it's all rigidly constructed and often derivative but who cares? I think she's actually an incredibly clever songwriter and I would argue that Bad Romance is every bit as good as Tina's classic. That song - if you wash away the sex slave video and rah rah rahs - is actually an extremely cutting examination of a dysfunctional relationship.

And I'm sorry but "The Fame Monster" is twenty times the album that either installment of Robyn's hideous "Body Flop" could ever hope to be.

Having said all that I really wish Gaga would go away and hide under a rock for a year. She's becoming extremely annoying now and desperately needs to re-invent herself again. Rant over!

Anonymous said...

" To me I've always know this about Lady GaGa and this is why she is brilliant. "

That has nothing to do with brilliance. What are you on ?

Absolutely nothing to do with brilliance

Anonymous said...

"Sure, it's all rigidly constructed and often derivative but who cares? I think she's actually an incredibly clever songwriter and I would argue that Bad Romance is every bit as good as Tina's classic. That song - if you wash away the sex slave video and rah rah rahs - is actually an extremely cutting examination of a dysfunctional relationship."

Her music is quite bland. She just has a loud voice and thumpy beats. Not an interesting voice, nor interesting beats, and she's highly derivative.

You sound like you have no standards.

Great, her copied styles and music, are not.

Robpop said...

I very much agree with you on some points Mike. And if you read my point-i dont love or hate Lady GaGa. My point of the article is Paglia has missed the point of what makes her subject so amazing.

I think Paglia has a tight critique but it needs some lube. She doesnt understand the value in what GaGa presents! She disses GaGa for being unsexy. She takes GaGa down in a blaze for being unerotic.

But for many this is what GaGa is about. She is a body. Without. organs. (BodiesWithoutOrgans, a deleurzian concept). This is her point. Nothing. Ether. This is Gaga's point. Paglia doesnt understand that GaGa's theory is poppiffle. GaGa doesnt deconstruct a thing. She doesnt a subvert a thing. Paglia has fallen for the lure of the fame monster. And i love GaGa for doing this. Paglia has become a fame monster in her own special way. GaGa thinks shes groundbreaking. She isnt. What GaGa is good is turning the beat around on the hyperhypersexualisation of pop idols (Chris Brown, Usher, Britney, Madonna, Christina Aguilera). Now, some random male bloke from X Factor goes to number one and strips off and it doesnt cause a beat to tick. Its shrugged off. GaGa is great at sensualizing death. And death is such a repressed issue. For me, its brilliant to see a popstar bring this to the fore in the way she is doing (without lessons of morality). But there is where my admiration ends.

GaGa as a product needs to go away and have a nice little holiday. I agree with you there. She needs a break. But Born This Way is on the way.

I realize that you prefer The Fame monster over Body Talk. But i think this is entirely subjective. However i feel GaGa's music, tho catchy, is derivative, unoriginal and tedious. Robyn's latest offering is wonderfully wonderful. Daring, beautiful, delicate and dreamy. GaGa is just smoke and mirrors.

But what smoke
And what mirrors!

Lance said...

Not sure I agree with you bobby.

Elle Trains said...

I prefer to refer to her as lady pretty garbage. lol

Thanks for alerting us t0 Ms. Paglia's piece. Although she could be regarded as Ms. Not-so-pretty-garbage, I am always interested in her POV.

Cheers! ~ Elle

Mudit said...

i look down and spit on narrow minded, stereotypical people like camilla whats-her-face...and everyone who hates her in-fact...being eccentric isn't madonnas exclusive right....more than one artist has the right to wear crazy outfits...why do people keep saying gaga ripped off madonna or something...nobody ripped off anyone...the right to individualism is shared...gagas hot, with epic music, with a mind blowing personality...her love for her fans is UNMATCHED, she's shockingly original, and she's a really good human being....if this is what society has become now, it look forward to its imminent deconstruction...gaga doesnt attempt to live up to stereotypes...she barely acknowledges their presence! people shoud give up on hating her...and the ones that still DO hate her...will only have empty statements like 'her clothes suck!' or 'her musics meaningless' to support their narrow minded view of the world...