So if you follow me on Twitter then you know my current obsession is Lady Gaga.
Here's the deal. I'm late to the Lady Gaga party. I don't watch TV, I don't read the news, I don't really follow anything other than user created media that I pick and choose to watch/read/ingest on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, etc. My media is the people on the Internet. If it's news I need to hear about, Twitter will let me know. I knew about that whole Kanye West/Taylor Swift debacle in real time, without ever turning on a television, thanks to the magic of Twitter. I really don't know if I'm making an argument for or against Twitter with that, actually.
Anyway. Of course I'd heard Lady Gaga on the radio. My shameful confession is that I LOVE top 40 pop. I think now is a really great time for top 40 music, honestly. There's a lot of creativity going around right now. But at its core, pop music is about fun, and that's why I like it: It's fun. I spent a good chunk of my childhood being snotty and pretentious and denying my love of pop music because I wanted to be "cool" and "cool" people don't like what everybody else likes, duh. I finally taught myself to just get over it and like what I like, because what's the point in pretending I'm suffering when the Spice Girls are on when what I really want to do is fucking dance? (1997 FOREVER, BABY!!)
All I knew for the longest time was that Lady Gaga was all over the radio and that EVERYBODY loooooooooved her. I had no idea why. Her music's good, but it didn't seem to merit all the crazy, lavish praise she got in all directions. And her insane fame bucked that old bull in me that wants to oppose the popular. Lady Gaga MUST be lame and stupid, she MUST be fabricated, she MUST have some crazed marketing genius behind her because there's no way she made it so big on her own merits, and therefore, she sucks.
And then I actually saw some of her outfits. If I've seen that crazy bubble outfit, then I'm sure you have, too. And I began to think, "Dang, what a WEIRD CHICK."
That's about all I could come up with for Lady Gaga for the longest time. She's just so...fucking...WEIRD. And even as I said it, some part of me cringed for myself, because I spent my formative years being called weird by every person I met that interacted with me for five seconds. I embraced the term, I claimed it as me, YES, I AM WEIRD, WHAT OF IT? And here I found myself throwing it back in the face of someone I didn't know, just because their behavior confused me, I didn't get it.
I finally did some freaking research on this woman. Here's the deal.
Lady Gaga IS weird. Lady Gaga is a fucking artist.
Ages ago, I made a post on my LiveJournal about how I was entertaining the idea of using the human body as a canvas for visual art, thinking of outfits as art, how you can put a look together and just the simple act of getting dressed in the morning can be a sort of performance art. This is what Lady Gaga DOES. And she does it with incredible creativity. It's who she is. She is her art. Her performances are insane, just click around on YouTube for a bit. She's teamed up with the likes of Elton John and Cyndi Lauper. She puts on a show.
Lady Gaga is the real deal. She writes her music, it is not written for her. She sings her music live, it is not piped through and lip-synced. She grew her artistry from the ground up, playing in clubs and working her ass off. She's taken pop music and turned it into an art form, putting her all into it, not just cranking out songs and wearing crazy outfits and putting on outrageous shows for the money and fame, but because it's what she has the burning passion in her soul to do.
And here's the part that makes me truly, truly love Lady Gaga for the artist she is: She does it all in the hopes that others will follow her example. In an interview with Ellen, she says: "The whole point of what I do, the Monster Ball, the music, the performance art aspect of it, I want to create a space for my fans where they can feel free, and they can celebrate. Because I didn't fit in in high school, and I felt like a freak. So I like to create this atmosphere for my fans where they feel like they have a freak in me to hang out with, and they don't feel alone."
From a CNN interview: "It's not about money, it's not about prestige, it's not about class, it's about having an identity. And the trick is, through pop music, through makeup, through femininity, you...encourage young people, no matter who you are, no matter who you are, and where you come from...harness your identity."
And there it is. I get it.
By being the weirdest artist out there, Lady Gaga is giving people permission to embrace their inner weird. She makes it okay. She pushes the envelope to the extreme so that we can feel a little more comfortable pulling that tutu we picked up ages ago at the thrift store out of the closet, dusting it off, and wearing it in public. She creates outlandish, insane things so that we might feel a little bit more proud of something we created that we may not have shown anyone else for fear it was "too crazy" or "too strange".
I love her for it. I respect her for it. I'm proud to be a Little Monster.