Videogroan #1: Lady Gaga’s Controversy Checklist

Knowing full well that she fuels off of ‘the haters’ as well as her adoring fanatic-base, I’ve reluctantly waded into the growing debates around Lady Gaga.  I really didn’t want to, but on seeing the video for Alejandro, I had never laughed so hard I cried.  Knowing full well what ranks I would be joining by blogging about it, I relented. But then – within the same day – I saw the new videos from two of pop music’s leading female artists.  So I’m going to try and describe how it’s offensive in ways that are clouded by the usual arguments.

Using Gaga as the basis is easiest, but has it’s own pitfalls.  She’s such a Marmite artist that people already have incredibly fixed viewpoints on her, whether they’ve actually paid any attention or not.  Chances are, if you’re reading this, you already think she’s the best thing ever, or you fly into a rage at the mere mention of her name.  Much like arguing about smoking, changing someone’s mind on the subject will be nearly impossible.  But perhaps ranting about it here will save my friends from getting their ears chewed of about it.

So, here’s the video in question.
Not suitable for children, the easily offended, or fans of good music videos:

Well. Wasn’t that a treat?
Those behind this video should be commended, it is incredibly difficult to make a video so hilariously rubbish whilst simultaneously being so overly pretentious.
Seriously, the music doesn’t actually start until over two minutes in.  You might think that after such a build-up that what you get is huge. but instead you get a very bland, incessantly repetitive  and a sound that aims for retro-cool but just sounds tired and dated.

My problem is not its controversial intentions, that’s been done before – specifically by Madonna.  My problem is that there are so many morons out there who think it’s wonderful. “She’s so outrageous“.  But it’s rubbish. It’s really, really bad. It’s a poor song, with dated music and a hilariously terrible video.  She has machine guns on her bra, but it’s delivered with the po-faced pretension of someone taking it very seriously.  What wasn’t that funny in Austin Powers is hilarious here.  It’s also very clearly ticking a checklist of what it takes to cause controversy.  Sex sells, check.  That’s almost a prerequisite for pop music, especially for female artists, as we must always remember that women are for putting your penis in, and not for wearing clothes.  Racy sexual imagery + religious imagery. Check.  Worked for Madonna on Like a prayer, and it always creates some angry press from religious groups.  Homoerotic imagery. Check. Again, always a good one to enrage the easily offended, especially when you put it alongside religious imagery.  In fact it’s essentially just putting risqué imagery alongside Catholic imagery.  Fetish gear. Check. Makes people uncomfortable, with the added bonus that any argument made against it means you’re simply repressed, even if you just think it looks really silly. I mean wow, that’s not just an upside down cross, but it’s almost like it’s pointing to… oh you are outrageous! *rolls eyes*

But this is exactly the kind of reaction intended, and I hate myself for falling into the trap.  Only Paris Hilton can better her for that way in which they mould negative opinions into promotion as useful to their careers as the positive.  The greater the hate from the haters, the stronger her fans support for her.  Fandom and the human need to prove that your belief in something is better than the next person means that the fanaticism these people are under the spell of will only get stronger.  It’s why we get such hilarious events like the guy who bawled his way to internet stardom in support of Britney Spears.  People couldn’t doubt he was the best fan, I mean – he was crying!  Much to my annoyance, the same behaviour goes for those who dislike her.  for instance, I can acknowledge that the music behind Pokerface is excellent, a masterclass in how to put together a good tune to dance to (but those lyrics. ugh).  But, so blinkered are people’s beliefs on their marmite reaction, that no quarter will be given. And chances are if you hate her, you’ll refuse to believe such a preposterous claim, because if you concede, then you don’t hate her more than some other bro who said she, like, totally sucks, big time, man.  I can’t properly argue my case for why Lady Gaga is terrible, because her supporters put me in that grouping of blinkered haters h8ers.  Of all people, I did not expect the most on-the-money criticism to come from Katy Perry. “Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke.”

It’s not impressively offensive, it’s desperate attention seeking. It says absolutely nothing. the song is incredibly weak. You don’t need me to point out that it’s a blatant rip off of Madonna and Ace Of Base.  The tributes to vogue and Like A Prayer in the video are tolerable if a little cheap, but crafting a song in such a derivative way just makes it weak.
I’m not offended by the near pornographic imagery of her being ‘done up the bum’, because plenty of  other videos are going this route (see part two!), but I am offended by the cheap, desperate attempt to out-trash the competition.  It offends me because it’s done with such po-faced, hipster pretension, it makes the fact it’s already so bad it’s hilarious even funnier. So well done on that front!

I’m not sure what the funniest thing about it is.  Maybe the S&M Steampunk gear she has on (with the goggles) or the fact she’s smoking a pipe! haha. what? Perhaps it’s the fact when she’s dancing in her underwear that all I can think is; we know, you aren’t a man, WE GET IT, it doesn’t mean you look good without clothes on! ick. I preferred the lobster.  Perhaps it’s the hilarious spoken word opening. She can’t be taking that seriously, surely?  Or what about the puppet guy directly after, who appears to be wearing nothing but pants and a policeman’s helmet covered in studs.  But no, it has to be the machine gun bra.  Amazing.  If the Military started issuing such things they’d be unstoppable, I’m sure.

Sex will always sell, that’s a given. But it’s so desperate for attention it’s hilarious.  So it’s not the worst thing in the world, because it’s a source of great entertainment.  And I do know that a lot of people enjoy her… ‘entertainment’ in full knowledge of how shit her music is.  I don’t really have a problem with that (sorry, haters).   It’s the many fanatics who believe she’s the best thing in music, who think she’s an icon and a role model. As with the other two videos I alluded to in the first paragraph, that gives her a power, and to reference someone else connected to outlandish costumes, with great power comes great responsibility.  More on that in the next Videogroan!
I just wish these fanatics wouldn’t fall for it, because it’s cheap, tacky and devoid of class, but I’ve fallen into the trap set up for those who won’t like it.
I’ve been provoked into a strong reaction, which is the actual point of this pointless video.


4 Responses to Videogroan #1: Lady Gaga’s Controversy Checklist

  1. TT says:

    I think it’s fascinating that sex is being used to sell someone who is infamous for having no sex appeal. I wonder if it’s deliberately contrary or whether female stars supposedly can’t get anywhere without it.

  2. Jenny says:

    She is so very clever…

  3. Pingback: Videogroan #2: Female Role Models And Fetish Porn « Suffice

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