Monday, August 29, 2011

VMAs and Gaga

In what was an unsurprisingly awful show - Britney and Foo Fighters won the first two awards of the night, making it feel as if we had been transported back to the late 90s - Gaga managed to steal the spotlight at the VMAs, again. What was surprising was that she did it by completely abandoning her shtick - no costume changes, nothing absurd or abstract or excessive. She just played the role of her own ex-boyfriend, Joe Calderone, for the entire night. (A character who has mostly elicited comparisons to Bob Dylan but strikes me much more as Al Pacino-as-Scarface if he were also one of the T-Birds from Grease.)

Predictably, the tween and teenybopper response on Twitter has been a mixture of amusement, disappointment, and transphobic outrage (in a poll on EW, I'm told that Gaga was the number one choice for both the most and least favorite thing about the show). Here's what I just grabbed off the Twitter feed for the VMAs:
  • no offense lady gaga but if you are transgendered you are not BORN THIS WAY!!!! [this could be transphobic in so many different ways that i won't bother trying to unpack them all]
  • I think Lady Gaga has lost the plot
  • Lady Gaga is amazing!
  • Lady gaga looked messed up last night
  • The VMA's was more of a freak show than the Cantina on a Wednesday night. Only think missing was Gaga shooting first [it's a Star Wars joke - Gaga is being compared to a green, reptilian alien]
The great thing, though, is this - for the first time in years, Gaga has managed to unsettle and disturb people again. Her method of coming up with outfits and routines that were increasingly bizarre had become, well, routine. And so she did the only thing she could to recapture her audience's sense of wonder and horror: she wore a white V-neck and strapped her breasts down.

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