Lady Gaga will never be as talented as Janelle Monae

Lady Gaga live

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Janelle Monae is better than Lady Gaga? Blasphemy!

Universities are now preaching the greatness of Gaga, and most of America has never heard of Ms. Monae. Your claim is ludicrous, Fruzsi.

Ah – but read me out. If you were to compare both ladies on their craft, you will see that Janelle Monae is actually the more talented artist.

Dancing:

Lady Gaga cannot do the moon walk. Lady Gaga does poses really quickly, and maybe does a little hip wiggle in her videos. Meanwhile, Janelle Monae does feats of slight footwork- including moonwalking. Monae doesn’t have dancers and fancy choreography masking her inability to dance. Jezebel recently wrote a piece titled “Why Has Dancing Become So Boring in Pop Videos” and surprise, Janelle Monae was the single exception.

Singing:

Ms. Monae clearly has the superior voice. Lady Gaga sounds the same in every song, while Ms. Monae can change the tone of her voice and still sound wonderful. Case in point, the “Many Moons” short film embedded below showcases Ms. Monae’s various voice talents. Lady Gaga saying “Roma” does not count.

Songwriting/ Storytelling:

Do I really need to mention again how Lady Gaga’s music videos have nothing to do with her music? We can all agree Lady Gaga’s lyrics are vapid, perhaps intentionally. Though her rhymes may be cute (“bluffin’ with my muffin”), her content is crass and unoriginal.  You could say this is because Lady Gaga is a postmodernist, and it is up to the viewer/ listener to determine and create meaning in her work. I call Lady  Gaga’s post modernist craft lazy, because it is very easy to throw shit together in a music video and count on misinformation to create a story .  Sure, Lady Gaga’s interviews do come off as postmodern, with her “challenging gender roles”, but Janelle Monae challenges gender roles too and doesn’t indulge in vague, sex-drenched or shocking spectacle.

Janelle Monae builds whole worlds for her albums based off her android dreams. Janelle Monae sings about the future, class differences and forms of prejudice. What does Gaga do with her position of power, beside sing about sex and telephone reception?

Originality:

This category is tricky, because every artist these days borrows from someone else. So, being as I am somewhat of a “feminist” (hide your eyes, insecure men!), this category is going to focus on rise to fame and sex appeal. Lady Gaga is naked in every music video, and has some controversy only the religious right care about in every video. She is relatively pretty, blonde and white. Lady Gaga teaching kids it’s okay to be different? Hardly. Nancy Bauer recently wrote in an opinion piece titled “Lady Power” (choice bits below, the whole piece is worth reading):

Gaga wants us to understand her self-presentation as a kind of deconstruction of femininity, not to mention celebrity.

And since Gaga herself literally embodies the norms that she claims to be putting pressure on (she’s pretty, she’s thin, she’s well-proportioned), the message, even when it comes through, is not exactly stable.  It’s easy to construe Gaga as suggesting that frank self-objectification is a form of real power.

Lady Gaga idealizes this way of being in the world.  But real young women, who, as has been well documented, are pressured to make themselves into boy toys at younger and younger ages, feel torn.

Leave it to Simone de Beauvoir to take her lifelong partner Sartre to task on this very point… When it comes to her incredibly detailed descriptions of women’s lives, Beauvoir repeatedly stresses that our chances for happiness often turn on our capacity for canny self-objectification.  Women are — still — heavily rewarded for pleasing men.  When we make ourselves into what men want, we are more likely to get what we want, or at least thought we wanted.

Lady Gaga is more popular because her brand of sex is familiar. When I look at Lady Gaga, I know how I am supposed to look and behave to be a “boy toy” or a heavily jeweled “ornament“.  When comparing Lady Gaga to Janelle Monae,  Lady Gaga is just turning the same old tricks with a whole lot more sparkle (and the occasional cheesy fire effects).  Janelle Monae on the other hand, wears a suit, gives off a female Elvis Presley vibe and has a penis -type hairdo. Janelle Monae doesn’t give a shit about traditional sex appeal or sacrificing her artistic vision to “please men”.   Says Janelle Monae in an LA Times interview:

“It’s time to redefine what sexy can be, and what a woman can wear, how she wears her hair, what shoes she chooses,” said Monáe, whose signature pompadour has inspired some to compare her to Grace Jones. “I’m about uniting and helping people become comfortable with who they are. Because there are young girls out there right now going through identity crises.”

via Ann Power’s Janelle Monae in Wondaland

And that way of thinking is super sexy. (Full disclosure: I have a raging girl crush on Janelle Monae) As for why the public hasn’t caught on to Janelle Monae? I can only guess the American public (including music execs)  lack the intelligence to appreciate Ms Monae’s work.

To conclude:

Janelle Monae is a level 18 bard, while Lady Gaga just recently obtained level 7 ( “Hypnotize” and “Fascinate the undead” are her main skills). If I was drawing together my party to save the world (because bards are important, don’t believe what any one says), I would pick Janelle Monae over Lady Gaga any day.

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Lady Gaga is a nerd?

I know, I shouldn’t be jumping on the Gaga-“Telephone” video-page view-bandwagon, but I promise to stick to my focus: the poison diner scene, because it references geek culture and video games.

The most obvious thing to note would be that Lady Gaga is a nerd, or attempting to be one…. or her creative director is …. or Lady Gaga herself feels that it is important for the nerds to love her too by throwing in obscure references only they would get. The poison that Lady Gaga super-popstar-feminist concocts in the kitchen includes the following ingredients: Fex-M3 from Star Wars, Meta-Cyanide from Dune and Tiberium from Command and Conquer.

poison picture

Can I imagine Lady Gaga reading science fiction and playing Command and Conquer late at night? Maybe. I mean, she was pretty wacky when she was a brunette so I can’t come out and call her a “poser nerd”. Most likely though, her creative director googled “List of fictional toxins”, since they cannot use real toxins  for fear people would actually poison others, and this is the list that showed up.  All of those toxins mentioned in Gaga’s video are on that list….

Moving into “feminist” territory:

By Lady Gaga using poison to commit mass murder, she is engaging in a stereotypical feminine form of murder. Women traditionally controlled the food, and you’d be surprised how many men have died throughout history by the hands of women using poison, and it was never noted or observed because men felt it was beneath them to go into the kitchen?  There is a saying among the Hungarians that the bride Ildiko killed Attila the Hun on their wedding night by poisoning him.  A nosebleed? Come on…. but it’s cute how the men back then thought the women were content enough and incapable of committing such nefarious acts.

So it makes sense in Lady Gaga’s music video homage to Quintin Tarantino that she uses poison instead of blood shedding phallic weapons (NSFW link).  Why would Gaga, with her creative director, decide to use fictional poisons from science fiction and games popular with the males? The use of poison in a setting that asks for guns is too symbolic to ignore. But Commander and Conquer, Star Wars, and Dune don’t seem to be poisoning society like the bad man-made porn, hyper-sexualized advertising, and reality TV shows are… so why were these poisons used, instead of others on that list?   Or maybe I am reading too far into this, and these toxic references are all just for some male geek love.



Are you ready for a transgender revolution?

An ultramodern men's washroom, showing a row o...

Image via Wikipedia

Neo-cons beware! The homosexuals are coming for you where you pee! First there was Isis, the America’s Next Top Model contestant, then last month Lady Gaga flashed what appeared to be a penis on stage, and now this, a toilet revolution.

Genderqueer Chicago is asking the Chicago masses to use the wrong restroom tomorrow, in a show of solidarity for the transgender community.

Everyday, gender-alternative people are questioned, berated, mocked, glared at, and barred from public restrooms because someone’s perception of their gender doesn’t match up with the “shirt” and “suit” pictures on gendered bathrooms. Bathrooms should be safe for everyone, no matter their gender identity and presentation.

via Genderqueer Chicago: What’s this about Toilet Revolution?.

While I am opposed to any sort of discrimination (my pet peeve being discrimination based on gender),  I am hesitant over this mini-protest. The website stresses safety in numbers (“go with a buddy”), but I can’t help thinking of the unintended consequences of scaring old women while they pee.  Or maybe this is the idea, to make people feel as uncomfortable as the transgendered when they try to use a public bathroom?  The bemusement that would accompany walking into a men’s restroom and having a conversation with a man holding his dick is tempting, but I wouldn’t know which I was challenging more: traditonal gender roles or a person’s belief in bathroom privacy?

I say a push for unisex restrooms is the ideal – remember Ally McBeal?