Lady Gaga & the Demise of Popular Culture

Thanks to my brother-in-law, I recently came across an article in a London magazine that very definitively critiques the movement that is GAGA <Lady GAGA>.  You can find the article [HERE].  Something that really caught my attention was that the author of this critique, Camille Paglia, was not only criticizing all that is Gaga but she was debunking all that is popular culture in its current state.  

Generation Gaga doesn’t identify with powerful vocal styles because their own voices have atrophied: they communicate mutely via a constant stream of atomised, telegraphic text messages. Gaga’s flat affect doesn’t bother them because they’re not attuned to facial expressions.

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…

This is a serious critique of one the world’s current most popular icons.  Needless to say though, she is absolutely right.  The quietus of our culture has evolved into something that, in all honesty, isn’t even worth paying attention to.  Who decides the icons of our culture?  Um, the culture.  Today’s generation has identified themselves with someone who is grotesque, gossip-inflicted, self-centered, sexually immoral, etc etc.  Though this may be the case, we know for a fact that every generation before this one has had their share of depravity.  This one is just… um…. marked by a girl in a crazy weird outfit, wearing a ton of makeup, a wig, and showing off a ton of cleavage.  It’s disgusting.  Paglia continues, 

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? Can it be that Gaga represents the exhausted end of the sexual revolution? In Gaga’s manic miming of persona after persona, over-conceptualised and claustrophobic, we may have reached the limit of an era…

Interestingly enough, it seems to me that the critique of our culture has now transitioned from true sexy and ‘genuine eroticism’ to artificial, clinical, and strangely antiseptic; hence, not sexy at all, or as ‘sexy’ has been defined in the past.  What do we do with this?  Postmodern culture continues to redefine the once seemingly objective.  20 years ago one could look at a Playboy magazine, albeit sinfully, and look at what might be called ‘cultural genuine eroticism.’  Today, it seems as though this cultural genuine eroticism has been stripped of its essence and redefined into all that is GAGA.  I don’t even know what to do about this.  

If this is true, GAGA is a lot like Jesus.  Well, in a way.  If, according to Paglia, Gaga has revolutionized the view of sex in our culture then she can and should be labeled ‘revolutionary.’  I am not crediting her with anything worth crediting her for but I am saying that she has revolutionized sex in a way that our culture has not yet seen until now.  On the other hand, Jesus was a man who revolutionized culture completely.  GAGA seems to be counter cultural.  Jesus was very counter cultural.  The difference though is AMAZINGLY HUGE.  Jesus came to serve and not to be served.  He came to lay down his life for his church.  Jesus shed his own blood for my soul!  GAGA claims she speaks for the misfits, the freaks, the unpopular ones, yet we still see her prancing around like a life-size malfunctioned barbie doll.  Jesus doesn’t just speak for them; he died for them.  

Why can’t our culture open it’s eyes to the true and righteous King?


  1. Greg, I try to catch your blog when I can. I’m proud of you, keep up the work.

    What you are exposing is the fading divide between fantasy and reality. Before the technological revolution man’s imagination was limited to his mental dreams and the traditional arts. Now, modern culture resembles a generation that has almost logged as much time in fantasy as in reality. Whether it is on TV, a PS3, or the internet, a fantasy world is always available. It is not a counter culture, it is the culture of fantasy. It has always been present, but never so equipped.

  2. Greg Gibson says:

    Thanks Dan! I love your insight here. You are right in saying that there seems to be a blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality. We have seen games like Second Life allow users to experience and create an alternate reality in which they can become who they really want to be. Has GAGA become our cultures ‘real life fantasy?’

  3. Greg can’t read her Poker Face. LOL… just LOL. You are funny, Mr. Dinosaur.

  4. Greg Gibson says:

    I wonder what it would be like to play poker against GAGA?

  5. You don’t Like Lady Gaga because she pushes your little envelope on what is. If you actually listened to what she wrote about you’d probably change your outlook on her.she speaks about being herself, and allowing her followers to embrace themselves. Miss Drew, a speaker for the LGBT community and one of my personal heroes, once said “It costs a lot to be authentic, ma’am. And one can’t be stingy with these things, because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being.” You are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being. This, right here, is the answer to how Lady Gaga can be so relentlessly artificial and still sing about loving who you are and being how you were born. She is creating her image in the way SHE perceives herself. the fact that she is one of the worlds biggest influences she pushes people not to be afraid and to follow their dreams AND that is what beautiful truly is.

  6. Rachel, thank you for your comment. I have had listened to her in-depth several times. And while I find her music not exactly fitting my musical taste, her worldview is what I have a problem with. Pushing the envelop on what “truth” actually is always is a scary place to be.

    The logic of Miss Drew is also extremely frightening. To bring it to its logical end bleeds complete relativism in almost everything. Where do we draw the line of what we “dream of being?”

    Authenticity is grasped in truly understanding what we are created to be, not in what we “dream of being.” That sounds more like rebellion to me.

  7. This article makes the case that for Gaga to finally qualify as a Revolutionary like JESUS she HAS to Die. Thankfully, Gaga picked up on these “expecatations” of her and is writing a song about it: DEMISE. {fame martyr} Unlike Jesus-9 who basically encouraged people to martyr themselves, Gaga is inspiring a NEW generation to stop the suicides (martry-cides) and to LIVE instead, move forward, save yourself, No MORE FAME MARTYRS. :)

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