What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Goo goo ga ga


Listen – the intention of that video was to show the hilarity to which people will fame-whore themselves. It was playing with the idea that I knew my style was something that people really were admiring. So I thought, Well, what’s the most ridiculous thing that we could immortalize? Something not fashion at all and make it fashion. And I was [looking at] a lot of Helmut Newton books and photographs, and there were all these disabled women who looked fabulous. So I thought watching the celebrity fall apart is so fascinating to everybody, why don’t I just fall apart for seven minutes and see what happens. The hilarity of the wheelchair being covered in diamonds…

Thus spake Lady Gaga, in the profile on her in this month’s Vanity Fair, a rag I admit to reading religiously. (Hey, it’s perfumed-up real pretty, which makes it perfect to wrap fish in.) You thought public morals and good taste were all she’d taken a chainsaw to – as you can see, she’s done a real number on the English language as well.

“But what makes her tick?” you want to know, as, apparently, all America does. Why, the same thing that has made every other “pop icon” tick, of course:

When I look into the crowd [at my shows], I feel like I’m looking into tiny little disco-ball mirrors and I’m looking into myself. And when I wake up in the morning, that’s what makes my heart tick.

As always with these weirdos, “It’s all about me!” But with “the Gaga,” it’s all about you too, dear fans:

It’s about loving who you are. I don’t want people to love me; I want them to love themselves. I have a relentless pursuit in me to give everything in me to my fans to make them feel good about themselves.

The proof is in the pudding, for Lady Gaga recalls the young lives she’s transformed, as evidenced by the sob stories she’s received from myriad teenage losers and misfits who have found hope in her music and an example in her life and work. And hers is, it seems, a faith-based philanthropy. She “currently ‘works with’ ‘spiritual guides’” and “used to pray every night that God would make me crazy”:

Listen, I prayed for a lunacy, and he gave it to me. It’s a bit of a sick thing when a 17-year-old says in her nightly prayers that I would rather die young and a legend than be married with children and die an old lady in my bed.

Not quite Solomon’s prayer for wisdom, or Christ’s “Thy will, not mine, be done,” but let it not be said that the former Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta remembered absolutely nothing from the nuns who taught her. Indeed, despite her slutty public persona, she is “quite celibate now.” Quite. Because “I don’t really have sex. Well, sometimes.” But only sometimes, you see, because:

I also think I’m afraid of depleting my energy. I have this weird thing that if I sleep with someone they’re going to take my creativity from me through my vagina.

You heard it here first, folks.

So, we have a “spiritually”-guided “icon” who sacrifices herself for her work and her followers, who in turn identify with her and find salvation in her work. In short, pop music fandom as atavistic religious cult, where the content of the religion is pure narcissism. Somewhere, Roger Scruton is saying “I told you so.”

What’s most amazing about “the Lady Gaga phenomenon” is that anyone thinks it is a phenomenon at all. It’s essentially the same shtick we’ve seen from David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and a thousand others. New freak show, same as the old freak show. While in Prague recently I was flipping through the channels on the hotel TV and came upon her video “Alejandro.” Don’t watch this one with the kids. In fact, don’t watch it. But not because there’s any new depravity there. It’s just the same old depravity, perhaps even more tiresome than titillating given that we’re somehow expected to find it really envelope-pushing. Weird fascist aesthetic? Bowie’s Thin White Duke and Pink Floyd’s The Wall have been there and done that. Blasphemy? Madonna and Marilyn Manson beat her to it long ago. Virtual pornography? Since when have you not been able find that on MTV – or cable TV in general, or even just plain old TV?

Perhaps the one thing truly novel about the ex-Miss Germanotta is her choice of stage name. Not the goofiness of it, of course, but its “truth in advertising” quality. None of the absurd pretentiousness of the Bowie and Floyd albums I wasted so many hours of my adolescence on, but a proud expression of the truly infantile self-absorption of the pop icon. “Gaga” indeed.


Comments (20)

Uh, who's Lady Gaga?

"Uh, who's Lady Gaga?"

That might be tongue and cheek, but I did not know who she was (other than being vaguely aware of the name) until curiosity diverted my attention to some side blurb while reading Drudge a couple of weeks ago.

Apparently, it's easy to get rich and famous in our culture. Just prick your finger (or, as in this case, open an artery) and sign on the dotted line.

What she is doing is vulgar and disgusting and pathetic. Not to mention artistically derivative. Even Grace Jones slammed her for shamelessly cribbing her visual aesthetics. I think most eriudite souls will agree.

Now show me the contemporary moral theory according to which she isn't living out a perfectly good existence by pursuing her various "life-projects." At least she isn't some boring 'moral saint'! Sure, says the contemporary virtue theorist, virtue is your "best bet" for happiness, but who cares? Improbable as it was, Gaga won the happiness lottery.

The problem with the Bernard Williamses and Suan Wolfs of the world is that they seem to think that, once traditional religious mores are gone, everybody will want to be like them. Freethinking urbane liberals living out their harmless little self-creation narratives in urban enclaves among like-minded people. They need to turn on MTV or 'Girls Gone Wild' and watch them for about ten minutes. This is what a world where traditional religion has collapsed actually looks like, and these are the life-projects that most people freely, authentically and autonomously seek to pursue.

I don't see the point in wasting pixels on her. She's a direct lineal descendant of those people who sold tickets for people to watch the inmates of Bedlam. There's nothing new here and therefore no reason to pay her any attention. In fact, she thrives on attention and controversy, so ignoring her deprives her engine of fuel. Find something else to excoriate; this one isn't worth the trouble.

I seen this short article on Lady GaGa by Elizabeth Scalia that I thought was quite interesting. She is a contributing writer for First Things Magazine.

Certainly, Gaga is a bit derivative. Much of her choreography and staging owes acknowledgment to Madonna, Michael Jackson and David Bowie, and she is currently busting the record charts with what boils down to fleshed-out house music presented with verve and humor.

While ironically lifting the idea from a text artist, U2's Bono once sang, "Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief." Lady Gaga has done her share of thieving, but she may be a genius at deconstructing her pirate's swag into something that seems new.

Nearly 30 years ago, we were told that Madonna was a "genius," particularly at marketing and reinventing herself, but time has not borne that out. Her music has held up well, but Madonna herself has been a dead-bore for decades, largely because her marketing and reinventing always come down to sex. But sex — thanks in part to Madonna, herself — has long ceased to be a daring or provocative subject.

Madonna tried standing conventionality on its head with an idea that began and ended with embracing the inner sex object, but her art flowed along very conventional lines of what bad and good (or chastity and promiscuity) meant. Madonna's exploration of human sexuality lacked real depth; after her cone bras and pinstriped girdles, she had no more tricks up her sleeve.

Gaga, on the other hand, is advising the world to embrace the inner monster, and this is a much more daring proposition; our objectifying ourselves as sexual beings might be easier to cop to — in any age — than the admission that we each of us house "inner monsters" of ego, selfishness, rage, manipulation or superior disdain. Lady Gaga has assigned herself the role of monster's cheerleader. She says, "Be the monster! I love your monster!" What she does not say — because she cannot yet know — is where the unleashing of millions of pent-up monsters may lead.

Gaga will have to work on that if she is to sustain her hold on the public's imagination. Madonna could find no road back from the Land of Saturated Sex; if she had something interesting to say about post-menopausal sex, or how diminishing sex drives open other paths to fulfillment, she might be able to find resolution to her early ideas. But she seems uninterested in going there, and so we are forced to page past her yearly airbrushed crotch-shots as she beats a sad and worn-out theme to death.

Lady Gaga is a good musician, therefore she understands the need for resolution. That may help her to move beyond the initial monster call-out. If she cannot, she will fall as quickly as she has risen, having unleashed onto a generation an idea that, like Madonna’s mindless sex fest, is ultimately empty, bleak and unhelpful. Even monsters need purpose and redemptive love, as Mary Shelley knew, or there is no place for them but exile.

Ms. Scalia is correct about Lady Gaga but gives her far too much credit. There have been any number of pop acts over the years about whom similar things were said, and to whom no one listens anymore. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, anyone? The Spice Girls? Marilyn Manson? Eminem?

Most people will slow down to check out a car wreck. Very few will drive around the block to look at it again.

Lady Gaga does Jersey Shore ! Wake me when we thud into the bottom of the sludge.
Chesterton's words on what people will believe when belief in God is gone missed the mark. Understandable given the blinding rapidity of decay since his time, he couldn't comprehend what is before his eyes were he here today.
People don't hold beliefs, they hold emotions or loyalties of vague provenance, escapist urges coupled with fleeting satisfactions, the relaxation of mental sloth, the existence of moment to moment, spiced with doses of crudity.
You know you are in trouble when class is People Magazine or American Idol.

American I - doll

The Chicken

Though I'm very conservative/traditionalist and I don't listen to much music, I have to admit that Lady Gaga has attracted my attention. Her songs are catchy. I love listening to them. I also watch her videos because---they are soooo strange and out there. Wierd uh?

From what I hear, she got her start in the gay clubs of New York. Her hand signals are something transvestites in their singing reportoire would use.

Maybe as an agrainist, watching her vids, her gay/urban/promiscous bar scene stuff is like watching animals at the zoo and her videos are like watching something from outer space. They are a window into the weirdness of what happens to man when he becomes excessively urbanized and completely divorced from nature.

Thanks for this post. As a result of it I went to youtube and watched part of a video. "Bad Romance", I think it was.



Now I need a bath. And an antiemetic. Uuuuugh.


I don't think I'd seen that one all the way through before, and I only made it just past the halfway mark this time. Truly vile, and even more illiterate than I remembered.

But I told everyone "Don't watch." And yet here and at my own blog I get people saying "Thanks a lot for making me watch that, Ed!"

Lady Gaga, and BTW, from whence the "lady"?, does offer us a living testament to the apotheosis of cosmetics. From here where does Western civilization go?
Even the Maya & and the Aztecs, defeated & dying, left us their memorials. Joking aside, what do we leave behind, or after us?

Rob G & the Phantom touch upon this, that is the transitory nature of a sensuous & ephemerally conditioned culture, one that finds itself literally within a time vacuum, lacking even ties or remembrance to a recent past, whatever the nature. A people who must change, if not the nature, than the appearance of the trivia or trash, the time killers, that alter or numb their minds.

I will admit that Lady[?]Gaga does intriguing things with her pelvis. But if I have to make a choice I'll cling to my library card.


It's kind of like saying, "Whatever you do, *DO NOT* look at the morbid alien feasting on pig flesh behind you!"

Everyone, *DO NOT* go to Youtube and watch Lady Gaga videos.

I'm sorry in advance.

I know, Steve, I'm just teasing.

Me too Ed.

Lady Gaga truly embodies the best of Judith Butler's philosophy, especially gender as a performance. She is, like, the most profound thing to ever hit pop music, like duh!

Lady Gaga truly embodies the best of Judith Butler's philosophy,

You know, that's probably true...

great website

"Joking aside, what do we leave behind, or after us?"

Only half jokingly, I've often remarked that archeology expeditions will be digging up golden arches all over the world 5000 years from now and think they're gaining insight on ancient religious practices.

Just watched "Alejandro" for the first/last time. The only thing stunning is how edginess has lost it's edge. Ever since Madonna came on the seen we have seen this again and again and again. The only new developments are that Lady Gaga is much less physically attractive and that Moe haircuts are now some sort of homosexual chic. I kept recalling Chesterton's image in The Everlasting Man, of a spent society like and addict, trying to jab it's jaded veins back to life.

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