a love letter to criticism
urban ghosts, rhyannon joy (2010)
value systems are relative. there is no good, there is no bad. these constructs are flexible. all production, creation + destruction (+ the various combinations of such: destruction as creation, or creation as destruction) is valuable.
the quest for meaning is treacherous.
tangible + non-tangible: the physical manifestation of ideas + development of artistic endeavors tread troubled waters to the spectator, rarely coming out alive. there are mountains at stake: intentionality, causality, artistic vision as society at large, the creative process as a microcosm for the human condition, commentary on consumer culture - the possibilities are endless.
pop music is powerful.
the phrase, "but it's just pop," is a gravely, shallow oversight.
music is an arena that often incorporates many artistic arenas at the same time. music may include film (+ all visual arts), fashion, + sound. this is a unique type of potential exclusive to our time + this creative medium.
production is an often slow, painful process fit for megalomaniacs + perfectionists.
there is room for spontaneity but there are no accidents. our documentation technology allows for endless rewriting opportunities. we can tweek + tweek + tweek forever.
people use pop music for different things. these containers are portable, accessible, compact products made for flexibility + durability. these sonic condiments are designed for immediate consumption + situational convenience. i have no right to impose preferential habits on another individual or pass judgment on another's preference.
camille paglia's latest portrait of lady gaga has its limits but it does what it is supposed to do + stirs the stew. much of the ammunition that is boldly critical of the pop star, speaks directly to my own preferences, as i have been a gaga non-believer for quite some time: she is a projection screen. it is obvious that gaga has the support of effective visual artists + her empty vessel personality, often mistaken for mystery, has worked to her advantage. i just wish that someone else would write for her.
paglia's concern is authenticity:
"although [gaga] presents herself as the clarion voice of all the freaks and misfits of life, there is little evidence that she ever was one."
just like perfection, authenticity is a referential battle not worth fighting. it is a philosophical black hole based on preference + personal standards. these ideas are not fixed, but flexible + fit to each individual who develops thoughts about them.
paglia's concern is sex:
"gaga isn’t sexy at all — she’s like a gangly marionette or plasticised android. how could a figure so calculated and artificial, so clinical and strangely antiseptic, so stripped of genuine eroticism have become the icon of her generation?[...]can it be that gaga represents the exhausted end of the sexual revolution? in gaga’s manic miming of persona after persona, over-conceptualized + claustrophobic, we may have reached the limit of an era."
thank goodness! the sexual revolution was yet another oppressive set of ideas disguised as "freedom."
our technology allows for instant appropriation + referential work. i.e., paglia's theoretical money shot:
"[gaga] is the diva of déjà vu."
paglia's work takes a turn for the unfashionable, when she starts to criticize our current access to specific technological tools:
"gaga’s fans are marooned in a global technocracy of fancy gadgets but emotional poverty."
paglia comes to the conclusion that our tools negatively blur the lines. i would argue that this not negative or disadvantageous. this is merely a noticeable societal value change:
"there are blurred borderlines between the sexes: gender is now alleged to be fabricated rather than biological; so everything is a pose. thus gaga welcomed the rumour about her being intersex and converted it into a fashion statement. casual 'hooking up' blends friends and lovers, with sex becoming merely an excuse for filial hugging. borderlines have blurred too between public and private: reality-tv shows multiply; cell-phone conversations blare everywhere; secrets are heedlessly blabbed on facebook and twitter. hence gaga gratuitously natters on about her vagina. in the sprawling anarchy of the web, the borderline between fact and fiction has melted away."
i find this most comedic.
i am sure that gaga's work is valuable, i am just not sure that it is musical.
Posted by rhyannonjoy