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Posts tagged ‘Lady Gaga’

I’m a gypsy, hey?

Yes, it’s another blog post inspired by a Lady Gaga song. No, wait, come back! It’s only inspired by, not based on a true story!

Although that’s what I would like it to be. Allow me to explain.

How many of us are what we want to be?

In your mind, you might be Superman/ Batman/ Catwoman, but the truth is that many of us are really more Clark Kent/ Bruce Wayne / Selina Kyle (And the sexism of Clark and Bruce being kinda awesome as they are, while Selina pretty much sucks is another issue that I’m itching to scratch at, but another time)

But that’s ok. It’s not a sad, it just is. I’ve had this realization with my aspirations to be a gypsy.

In the song, Gypsy, she sings about being happy on the move, but also about the ambivalence of not wanting to be alone.

“Thought that I would be alone forever. But I won’t be tonight”

This ambivalence brings to mind the thought that I am a gypsy – carefree, unattached, roaming and ever-transient; a soul of the wind, directionless, my heart on a cloud.

The truth is, I’m only a mild version of this. I’m gypsy lite.

I love being out, on the road, in the air, a train with only a backpack and a notebook and pen (my staples) and no idea where I’m headed. But then the reality of the tracks taking me to an unsafe area, or the flashing red light of a car reminds me that freedom in the literal (or literary, Romantic) sense might not be as attainable as I’d thought.

Sometimes we think we want love and romance because that’s all we know. In our minds we are going to run through meadows, twirl, and gaze at each other’s eyes all day. In reality it’s a lot more Selina Kyle where we have clammy palms, morning breath, bloodshot eyes and petty arguments. And that’s fantastic! You might not be the expected version of what you thought you were meant to be, but that’s the beauty of it – your journey is all yours.

I might not be able to navigate my way through borders of expectations, or a sea of confusion, but I certainly know how to define and read my own map.

So yes, I am a gypsy. And I do it the best way I know how.

I'm on a fence.

I’m on a fence.

 

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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Lady Gaga’s G.U.Y as gender subversion

What can I say, I’m a fan! If you haven’t noticed from the previous Gaga post, and that time I went to her concert. I like her a lot. She’s many things, but boring is not one of them. Considered is another. I think she puts a lot more effort into what she does than she’s given credit for.
Disclaimer: I’m not going to enter the feminist debate. I think it has many facets and Lady Gaga, while not perfect, does uphold tenets of it by doing her own thing, unashamedly. She also promotes gay and trans rights, although often criticized for using it as a gimmick and pandering to those demographics for publicity. Who knows? I like it and any voice that promotes women doing what they want, and a voice for gay and transgendered individuals is refreshing, and subversive in its existence.
The video: Read Vigilant Citizen’s take on the video here for the paranoid illuminati angle. Essentially I agree with everything they said. It tracks her fall from grace, shot down by her management. She works her way back, with the assistance of her team (the Haus) and she build herself up, literally, and extracts the DNA from other guys, i.e. Jesus and Gandhi. She clones a new team and takes revenge on the people who took her down in the first place.

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But on to gender.  I would argue that the song, specifically, is the pinnacle of her promotion of gender and sexuality empowerment and promotion. The very mention of gender and sexuality is subversive in itself, the reason why I love drag queens and anyone who is open and honest about sexuality. What Gaga does is take it one step further by embedding messages within the music.
One such message is that of the flexibility of gender norms.
I could be accused of reading too deeply, but what I hear when I listen to G.U.Y is a conflation of gender roles, as well as empowering of gay traditional roles.

She did it with her gender subversion as drag king at the 2011 Mtv VMAs, as her alter ego Joe Calderone.

 

This is my reading of G.U.Y, as she says herself in the title track ARTPOP: “My ARTPOP could mean anything”

What Gaga displays is an aggressive sexuality, not always typical of female pop stars. The problem with this representation is that it still panders to what the male gaze expects of feminine sexuality. I concede. Other critiques of her slate her for her foray into the grotesque, and her costumes, calling her vacuous and obvious, et al

What I like about G.U.Y is that, for starters, the proximity of the title to her name is in itself commendable.
I wanna be the girl under you (oh yeah)
I wanna be your G.U.Y. (yeah)

Later, she says

I’m gonna wear the tie, want the power to leave you
I’m aiming for full control of this love (of this love)

This is the part that problematizes my reading as one of female empowerment, as well as sexuality. This is an inversion that we need more of in a patriarchal world, where men are still scared to take their female partners last names, or to be the stay-at-home dad.

A woman who calls herself a guy is big in its rebellious, while many might call it trite.

The bridge goes:

I don’t need to be on top
To know I’m worth it
‘Cause I’m strong enough to know the truth
I just want it to be hot
Because I’m best when I’m in love
And I’m in love with you

This is the line that made me consider the song as sexuality empowering, particularly “bottom” gay (or supposedly submissive) individuals, especially males. Even though she explains what G.U.Y stands for, the acronym as a free standing word remains, and hence makes the subject a male under someone else, particularly in reference to the above lyric.
As I’ve previously mentioned, there is still a serious problem with perceptions of tops and bottoms in the gay world, which could, unfortunately translate to male vs. female relations in which the female, supposedly submissive (the bottom) is seen as weaker.

What I think she is saying is that the bottom does not need to be on top to be respected and worth it. Perceived submissiveness need not be equated to weakness.  I cant account for the rest of the bridge, but sex does sell. However, it does point to a frailty and humanity that comes with being as strong as one has to when fighting systems like she does. Patriarchy is an organization that can exhaust one and make you forget yourself.

It takes guts (not balls) to fight the power. So that’s it. As always, I’m keen to hear what my readers think.

Watch the video here:

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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Gaga Gone Gone

She came, she left, she Gaga’d. And guess what? The country survived.

There was endless controversy surrounding Lady Gaga and her concerts in South Africa. “She’s a Satanist, she’s going to send us to the pits of hell…” And that was all from my mother. The religious groups who were apparently protesting her performances were nowhere to be seen, and must now eat their words. Someone pass them some sauce to go with their feet. Cape Town’s infamous bitch of a weather pattern even let up, with the little drizzle subsiding in time for her arrival.

IMG00805-20121203-2023

But what can I even say about the concert? Not much really. It was everything it promised and a little bit more, and then some. But I had a few insights of my own as I watched this powerhouse go at it.

Why are we not brave? I’ve spoken about standing up, but this woman is something else. Speaking up, and out about how she was bullied and how she wants to end it. Her Born This Way foundation, which she started with her mother, deals with issues regarding bullying, especially with LGBT youths. So how brave are you?

We speak up when it’s too late. Not that the cause is any less noble, but why wait till a fall or incident before you stand up? We bow before corporations and our government, but we complain about. So maybe we should take a cue from this performer who goes beyond her call of duty to sing and prance on stage.

gaga flag

Why are we not proud? Others are. Lady Gaga rode a motorcycle with our national flag flying behind her. Later she ran down the stage holding it. Why can’t we do that more often? NOT just at rugby games. NOT just when it is convenient to us. But all the time. Gaga said that “the fame is within” referring to the idea of celebrity and power. Why not keep that flag, and everything that goes with it, on the inside so when we can’t fly it, we wear it?

Pride and all the colours that represent the SA flag should not be something abstract that we cheer at when an American performer waves it around.

“I don’t give a fuck” And why should you Miss Gaga? Why the hell should you?! This was one of the stand-out moments for me as Gaga told us exactly how she feels.  This part of her persona is already glaringly obvious from her unapologetically pop music, to the outrageous fashions.

So my question is, why should we? Laws and rules withstanding, we don’t need to care what others think. So, let’s not give a fuck, please. Now.

Megan♡1

So let’s learn a lesson or two from a true superstar and glean what we can, before she brings the Devil here again!

 

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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STFU, I’m reading my Bible!

So as many of my Floor Jawers may have heard, Lady Gaga is coming to South Africa. As I posted a blog entry about her a mere few days before, I would like to personally claim responsibility for this.

However, the mock is never too far behind. I got a chain message from some nutter who urges Muslims and Christians to band together and protest this heathen from entering our fair nation.

Can I say that never has a word been more ironic than FUNdamentalist!

I am a religious man. So I am more than qualified to speak about this subject. Unfortunately I am preaching to the converted, as the people I know (and I hope the people who read this blog) are enlightened and smart. But come on now…

What’s with this using the Bible as a crutch? As a former student of Translation Theory, I have learned about the intricacies associated with this. There is always something that’s gets lost or gained when translating and back translating a text. This is why I do not understand how a people can rely on a text which was, I believe, written in Aramaic and been translated so often that it could be something completely new from where it started.  I don’t think that this is unfair, especially when people use sections of this text, out of context, to justify their point. Anyone who has played a game of Broken Telephone knows that you always lose your message when it gets passed on many times. This game of Broken [insert religious text] has been going on for a long time and I would personally feel very foolish if I had stuck to something that must have been changed at some point over the centuries.

Lady Gaga is a part of a free society; just like your right to expression is a part of society. I do not complain when the local marching band from the church down the road comes blaring through the street when it suits them. So what’s to stop me from going into the church on a Sunday morning and doing my own sermon?

Respect. That’s what it is.

I respect your right to believe, so why do you not respect my right to live as I want? Seems like such a simple question. To me, that is. I am perfectly content with people preaching all kinds of craziness, but why does it have to be at the expense of others? Typical case of the majority taking advantage of the rest of the populous.

***

Wow, taking a second and reading back what I have just written and it is so hard to not rant and be frustrated regarding this issue.

One of my favourite phrases is “top it or stop it.” Do or don’t, now or never, go big or go home, nothing in-between. So why do these people not (forgive me for this) practise what they preach? Because then it would expose how shitty it is to be religious in this world. You don’t want to do it, so why top it when you know you want to stop it.

In my studies I learned a word called “anachronistic.” This is when a detail does not fit in with the historical context. Think of calling Jane Austen a feminist writer… wrong, because this idea was only thought up many years later. Or The Flinstones, humans and dinosaurs living side by side is historically inaccurate.   This is a word and argument that I often use against religious people who use their words against others.

Applying the way we live today to ancient texts is not staying true to your argument, nor to your own religious views and beliefs.

Closing your ears and going “lalalalalala I can’t hear yooooou” is tantamount to what these people do when these arguments are raised against their judgmental stances.

Maybe the Muslim brothers and sisters of Sunny SA should go over to Saudi Arabia, or build a homeland in Somalia. I hear those two are real fun places if that is your thing.

Hey Christians (you didn’t think I would forget about you, now did you?) there’s an extra from the cast of “Ben Hur” who is currently unemployed, his name is Jesus Christ. Good public speaker and he will even build a chair when your derriere gets tired from riding your high horses.

He also has some good things to say. Well, that’s if you really listen.

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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“I just don’t get her!” (My Take on Lady Gaga)

Oh boy, I can hear my rocker/R&B/jazzy-bluesy friends shrieking as they read this title, but give me a chance and then tell me to STFU. With the recent (successful) protests by Muslim fundamentalists to ban her from performing in Indonesia, I thought I’d try to understand what makes her so popular and at times, controversial to others.

I’ve never been that big of a fan of any one artist (except Madonna, but she is in a league of her own. That’s an in-joke for Madge fans). However, there is something about this girl that is just exceptional. I’ve loved her since she first burst onto the scene with “Just Dance”, that Akon-infused (and Colby O’ Donis forgetting) track that broke records. But what makes her so darn special?

Well, methinks it has something to do with what an idiot she is. She has been regurgitating other people’s samples and looks since she started, yet no one seems to care, if sales are anything to go by.

[I will jump in here and say that the sales from her sophomore album “Born This Way” have not been as high as the first, “The Fame”, however I call this the Michael Jackson effect after the way “Bad” sold millions yet was always measured against “Thriller.” But she still had the highest grossing concert tours with the Monster Ball Tour earned $227.4 million, the highest-grossing for a debut headlining artist and other ventures are huge money spinners]

PlaGaGariser-She has been accused of “stealing” by Grace Jones who claims she has stolen her trademark looks. However, Gaga has openly said that she admires the aesthetic by Jones as well as others such as David Bowie and, surprise surprise, Madonna.

Gaga was criticised for basically using the back track from Madge’s “Express Yourself” for her hit “Born This Way.” Gaga’s song took off in such a big way, that many soon forgot these accusations. However, this did not stop Madge from giving Gaga a shout out on her recent tour when the superstar said “I thought, this is a wonderful way to redo my song (‘Express Yourself’). I mean, I recognized the chord changes. I thought it was…interesting.” – Madonna, when asked for her thoughts on Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way” [via Newsweek]

Many might see this as an insult or a brewing feud, but I think this is the kind of thing which gets publicity for Madonna, whom I don’t think really cares if Gaga stole/borrowed from her at all. (After all, Gaga’s “Alejandro” video is like a cross between Madge’s “Like a Prayer” and “Vogue”). This is something that I think Gaga will be doing herself when some other young starlet tries to dethrone her in 25 years. (When Madonna will most likely still be on tour)

Theme Queen – In my 3rd year English class, we learned about the postmodern. I won’t bore myself and my Floor Jawers with discussing this, but I will tell you how Gaga has become the postmodern darling as she has encapsulated this notion.

For every bit of criticism she receives, I feel that Gaga thanks her lucky stars and tries to top herself each time. The way she dresses is intentional as this is meant to intrigue and entice. Like I’ve said, she draws on the past for inspiration; however she does so in a conscious and deliberate way without acknowledging the sources. This is what takes her antics from tribute to the postmodern.

She is also extremely conscious of the way in which she presents her albums and ideas. “The Fame”, the name of the first album, as well as the game (hehe) is an idea which she has milked and used to her advantage. It is an idea which formed a thread on most of the songs on the album and bled into the music videos and performances.

The fame will kill us all. It is a monster which must be killed. The truth must be denied. These are all ideas which have come out of the music which give it a multi-layered approach, I say as my friends roll their eyes at me.

Fame “Slore”– That’s a cross between a slut and a whore, by the way. Last time I checked, she is currently the first person to be approaching the 25 million mark on Twitter with the most followers. This is the kind of careful marketing that has made her so phenomenal.

She has latched on to a certain sector of the public and really nurtured this rapport with her fans. These fans are called “monsters.” In this way she has cashed in on the idea of the “other”, the monsters of society. The gays and lesbians, the freaks, the fat kids, nerds and others who are bullied have flocked to her as she has maintained this idea of different being better.

Also cashing in on something popular, yet doing it in her own way is the Illuminati. Ooooooh I can hear you all cowering in fear. These string pulling devil worshippers are watching us and we should be speaking of this in hushed tones. This has been discussed at length, so for more conspiracy theories, check out http://vigilantcitizen.com/musicbusiness/lady-gaga-the-illuminati-puppet/  where all this tomfoolery will be further analysed at length in a professional way that I can’t begin to do.

However, this is exactly what she is. No, not the illuminati! Rather a careful idea, a brand, a ploy to get attention and more fame and feed into the monster that is all of us. And she knows it. So instead of alluding to it like these other scared girls in the industry, she sells it.

I mean, we are all talking about her, whether we like it or not. My father even mentioned the egg stunt at the Grammy awards in 2011. My 59 year old father!!

Get it now?

 

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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