Sunday Times Magazine
September 13th, 2010
By Camile Paglia
An erotic breaker of taboos or an asexual copycat? Camille Paglia, America's foremost cultural critic, demolishes an icon
Although she presents herself as the clarion voice of all the freaks and misfits of life, there is little evidence that she ever was one. Her upbringing was comfortable and eventually affluent, and she attended the same upscale Manhattan private school as Paris and Nicky Hilton.
There is a monumental disconnect between Gaga’s melodramatic self-portrayal as a lonely, rebellious, marginalized artist and the powerful corporate apparatus that bankrolled her makeover and has steamrollered her songs into heavy rotation on radio stations everywhere.
Every public appearance, even absurdly at airports where most celebrities want to pass incognito, has been lavishly scripted in advance with a flamboyant outfit and bizarre hairdo assembled by an invisible company of elves.
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 plasticized android.
she’s like a laminated piece of ersatz rococo furniture.
that sex had for a century has gone kaput;
that blazing trajectory is over…
even though she is a ruthless recycler of other people’s work.
Gaga is in way over her head with her avant-garde pretensions… She wants to have it both ways ~ to be hip and avant-garde and yet popular and universal, a practitioner of gung-ho “show biz”. Most of her worshippers seem to have had little or no contact with such powerful performers as Tina Turner or Janis Joplin, with their huge personalities and deep wells of passion
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.