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September 19, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Bent – L. Gaga and the Mediocre Romance

What queer column would be complete without a piece on the Lady herself?

The homosexual Borg has certainly embraced her as a gay icon and she’s the self-appointed face of the campaign for queer rights worldwide. To see her fighting so hard for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was heartening. She’s singlehandedly changing the mainstream live performance with her crazy and original outfits and sense of theatre (though Pink Floyd did it first), and has revitalised the fashion industry.

So far so good, but not everything she does endears her to me.

Firstly there’s her persona. Gaga’s costumes are magnificent, there’s no denying it, though some have been more successful than others and some have just been plain ugly. The character wearing them though? She’s been described as looking “embalmed” and I too find her corpse-like veneer unsettling. Dark lipstick, lank wigs and pale makeup, not to mention those Klingon ‘bones’ she glued to her face a few months ago. She’s a mash of styles that don’t properly fit together and one gets the impression that she’s being weird just for the sake of it, rather than because it’s who she is. Her whole life is a carefully sculpted performance, but there’s no human element to underpin it. I can’t see that lasting long.

She’s fucking arrogant too, comparing herself to legends like Bowie (who was bisexual before it was cool) and Freddie Mercury. When you have a career spanning several decades, Gaga, get back to me.

Lady Gaga trades on her reputation for weirdness, and I like that. Weird is good; weird is interesting (I am a huge Björk fan) but her music… it’s just so normal. A bit of a let-down after the edgy promises of the image. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike all her music, and some of it’s catchy as hell, but then, so’s ‘Tik-Tok’ and I don’t know anyone who thinks Ke$ha’s pushing musical boundaries. Our Borg Queen is in a pretty unique position to shape pop music in her image, but all we’re getting is her vapid, meaningless lyrics coupled with catchy melodies and repetition. So come on, Lady, let’s see something new.

And a further note: ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Judas’ are actually just the same song. If you don’t believe me, there are some good side-by-side comparisons on YouTube. This apparent laziness is explicable though: Lady Gaga likes to reference pop culture. Now she is pop culture, so she’s referencing herself. It’s meta.

Does anyone else feel that she’s a bit arrogant to have just stepped up on her soap box and pronounced herself our Queen? ‘Born This Way’ is an attempt to force a definitive gay anthem on us, and I’m beginning to feel a little exploited. The impression that she only speaks out for us as a means to ride the fame train a little longer won’t leave me alone. Who is she that she thinks she can tell people that there’s something wrong with us, that we’re freaks who should scream our differences from the rooftops? My ideal would be to have my sexuality be a non-issue, just an unremarkable part of me like my height or hair colour, rather than something to mark me as different.

Heads up, Gaga: you are not my Jesus. Not the second coming, more like the 200th, and it’s getting a bit old. Your musical magpie approach won’t last the distance and I, for one, would like to see something original.


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