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“Gaga’s cynical insistence on leaving her art unanalysed speaks to the effect of her postmodern influences”


up appeals to our oversolicited, overanalysed, overdramatised, overliberated, and over-the-hill emotions.” (“Fast Art”, 1989) The postmodern age stumbled upon the paradoxical notion that obsessing over the explicit can be the ultimate mode of escapism.


Madonna exhibited appropriate detachment


Above: “Little Monsters” Taylor Rendon (right) and Brienna Leonard (left) wait in line for The San Diego concert, 2011. Photo courtesy Taylor Rendon


as she refers to them, and the effect they have on her craft. Considering this quote by Kant, Jonathan Van Meter shares an uncannily similar observation about Gaga’s 10+ million fans: “[It’s] as if both sides were overly invested in something that in the end is impossible.” (Van Meter, 2011) Vermeulen and van den Akker no doubt acknowledge this enthusiastic despair as they tell us, “inspired by a modern naivety yet informed by postmodern skepticism, the metamodern discourse consciously commits itself to an impossible possibility...it seeks forever for a truth that it never expects to find.” (Vermeulen and van den Akker, 2010) It’s understandable that people would have trouble reconciling enthusiasm and irony, embracing their coexistence while moving toward no real end and with no real answers. “People just try to figure it out or explain it,” she tells Jonathan Van Meter, rolling her eyes. “The truth is, the mystery and the magic is my art. That is what I am good at. You are fascinated with precisely the thing that you are trying to analyse and undo.” (Van Meter, 2011) This sort of aesthetic approach echoes the phenomenon of Andy Warhol’s pop art. As described by the late John Updike, “the dear old Warhol icons, full of empty content, or contented emptiness...What remains real, it would seem, is the semiotic shell, the mass of images with which a society economically bent on keeping us stirred


from the Reagan-oriented conservatism and vapid excess that surrounded her. Her music videos and lyrical content not only inspired massive controversy but paralleled what critical theorists such as Jacques Derrida were doing with the written language itself: offering a delightful deconstruction and revealing a world devoid of any “truths.”


Gaga’s cynical insistence on leaving her art unanalysed speaks to the effect of her postmodern influences. Songs like Beautiful, Dirty, Rich and The Fame radiate sarcastic undertones, a playful mockery of the late- capitalist architecture dangling promised wealth over our heads. Beneath glittering lyrics lie tongue-in-cheek truths, sentiments that MTV- watching “tweens” would hopefully catch on to. As the Lady put it herself, “Pop music will never be low brow.” It is here, though, where Gaga breaks from a solely postmodern philosophy and adds the multiple dimensions that make up the metamodern aesthetic. Holding on to deconstructionist roots, she


offers a more reconstructivist disposition. Rather than detachment, she longs for reintegration into society, and to transform the norms and values of modernity. This could account for her strong advocacy for gay rights and championing pansexuality; perhaps a glimpse into a post-Gaga future: androgynous and non-judgmental citizens where once-established binaries are less tangible. With further regard to her temperament, I could talk about the tattoo on her inner right bicep, a Rainer Maria Rilke quote about the choice between writing and dying. I could talk


Above: Gaga addresses audience with illuminated scepter, one of many innovative ornaments of The Monster Ball, 2011. Photo courtesy Taylor Rendon.


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