Don’t get me wrong: I like Lady Gaga’s music. I’m not a huge fan of her particular style of weird as far as her celebrity persona goes, and her outfits seem generally more hazardous to me than creative or artistically meaningful. Also, I’m fairly confused by the way she talks – sort of a Madonna-faux-British and Cyndi Lauper hybrid accent. However, I have to admit, her brand of unbearably catchy pop gets me through many a workout, and quite frankly, it’s just plain fun to dance to.
Despite my affection for the Gaga dance track, I side with Jerry Seinfeld in his most recent, media-driven tiff with the pop star. For those of you without your hand on the pulse of celebrity squabbles, here’s what happened: a few weeks ago, Lady Gaga somehow finagled her way into Seinfeld’s box seats at the Mets game. Wearing little other than underwear and a leather jacket (no pants = hazard), she flipped the bird at the Mets’ faithful.
Now, in all honesty, it certainly wasn’t the first time the proverbial bird has shown its pointy face at a baseball game, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. But was Gaga’s bird an expression of a zealous fan outraged over a bogus call? A Bomber die-hard sparring with cross-town rivals? Of course not: it was the flippant gesture (pun intended) of a spoiled celebrity seeking headlines and attention.
I was happy to see that Seinfeld – as both a Mets’ fan and a fellow celebrity – called out the Lady of Weird on her misdeed, not because I’m so offended by the middle finger in general, but (a little) because professional baseball shouldn’t be an outlet for fame-hungry celebrities and (mostly) because I’m a little tired of every strange thing Lady Gaga does being excused as some inspired act of art. Whether she’s covering herself in 200 mini Kermit the Frog dolls or writhing around in blood on stage, at this point, we all just sort of write it off as Gaga being Gaga. But I refuse to accept – as I think she’d have us do – every one of her public deeds as an act of depth and brilliance. I mean, when did flipping the bird become performance art?
This all got me thinking that I sound much more annoyed at good old Gaga than I actually am. Again, I freely admit to both liking and downloading her music – and maybe that’s the catch. Gaga has released some serious hits, most of which are moderately well-written, emotive songs with true musical value. And unlike some of her fellow pop stars, Gaga can sing. With that in mind, why not let the music speak for itself? Why not leave the tin foil hats, shag carpet leg-warmers, airport cat walks and paparazzi tea parties at home and let that thing you create that’s actually closest to art – your music – stand on its own in the raw? Gaga’s music seems heavily masked in its own ‘poker face’ of farcical performance art, but the truth is, the songs just don’t need the whole Gaga charade. They’ll survive on their own as good, pop music.
So perhaps Seinfeld’s message to Gaga to stop being a “jerk” can be one she interprets as a call back to basics. If, in a year or two, we see Gaga sporting a pair of jeans (pants!), sitting at a piano and singing her well-crafted pop to her well-established audience, we can thank Seinfeld for producing the most shocking Gaga of all: a gimmick-less, unprocessed and relatable musician.
And that’s a show I wouldn’t miss.
Mile Squared can be reached at MileSquare@GDPmagazine.com