Archive for September, 2010

Open letter to Camille Paglia, in response to your panning of Lady Gaga

September 12, 2010

I grew up on Joplin, Tina Turner–saw Joplin at the Harvard Stadium in 1970, went to Woodstock the year before. I love Lady Gaga. She creates singable, danceable songs one can listen to over and over again. In acoustic versions, or covers, their depth and versatility become clearly apparent. She depicts death and violence–those are a part of life and have always been a part of rock (“I’m goin’ down to shoot my lady, I caught her messin’ ’round with another man.  Then I gave her the gun! I shot her!”) as has exploitation (“Yes, I can see that you’re just 16 years old, no I don’t want your I.D.”). She also portrays joy, confusion, every emotion as would any working artist. She is a full, strong musician, attended Julliard, not fake in any way. She borrows from popular culture–so did Shakespeare, who stole from the classics as well. He made them his own, so does she.  He created art that had not been created before, taking his genre to a new level, so does she. To be perfect and plastic physically is the apex of the attractiveness ideal today–she gets it, so what? How many other people do, and can embody it? But, bottom line, no one is writing songs like she is. And she’s got a great voice. And can dance, and choreograph in a way that is not just warmed over Michael Jackson for a change! (Great artists always take what is going on and take it to a level of absurdity, and that’s what she does. Look at what Michelangelo did with the Mona Lisa–painted it over and over, created the epitome of a Renaissance painting, to the point where there is no expression, no real color, and it’s the best.)

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