Lady Gaga is …Meadow Soprano!

I watched network television for the first time in years on Grammy night. In the lead up to the show, I caught the Anderson Cooper interview of Lady Gaga. I have been a big fan since her first album, and have always thought that her music was the thinking man’s pop music. Cooper notes in his interview that Gaga never looks the same twice, and it is true. Watching her music videos, not only her costumes change but her look changes, many times in the same video.

Gaga complained in the interview that photographers are always asking for her to show her real self. Without any irony, she points out she is sitting in lingerie with just eyeliner on for Cooper, and even here, it’s hard to see what she really looks like. She has perfected the mask of fame. What we really yearn for is a kind of candid Gaga photo of her sitting in a pink polo shirt and Bermudas drinking a gin and tonic with just some

minimal eye liner, natural lighting – something to connect her to our mundane self. She understands this and studiously avoids ever assuming she is off camera.

So we have to go to the source. Youtube only hints at her underlying self, and what comes out is a basically attractive young Italian-American woman (right) who went to private Catholic school and NYU.It is very hard to link this picture with the mostly nude pop superstar being interviewed by Cooper, but then a light went off.

In this season of golf senescence, I had taken to watching the whole of The Sopranos from Netflix, and the truth came to me. Gaga is Meadow Soprano (Jamie-Lynn Sigler, to left).  The face, the complexion, the eyes, all line up. It’s as if Meadow, instead of pursuing law, decided to go into performance art. Even more surprisingly, the internet rumor is that a young Stephanie Germanotta is has a cameo appearance as a high school girl watching Anthony, Jr., swimming in the 3rd Season episode, The Telltale Moozadell. 

Gaga takes these underlying bones and transforms herself with not only her masquerade and costume parade, but had some transformational moment where she decided she would no longer be just Stephanie Germanotta, NYU coed with a lot of fallback plans.

That was the question Cooper failed to ask.

 

Addendum:

I was watching the episode and found her -she is indeed in the scene as one of the girls on the bleacher smoking cigarettes and eating pizza while Anthony Jr., and a bunch of boys vandalize the school pool.

She enters the scene and it’s hard to tell if it really is Stephanie Germanotta, but as the camera pans away from her, you see Gaga revealed. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I.D.D. -Irony Deficit Disorder, Unwanted Connectedness, and the Importance of Defending the Modern

The Greatest American

As a middle school student, we were assigned Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. I laughed my guts out, but soon realized that many were appalled by the idea that Irish babies should be used to feed the poor. As I grew up, I read Vonnegut with the avidity that presaged the kind of fandom that we see kids have nowadays for video games, and for it, I was a bit of an outsider. The word I learned in medical school was concrete -most of the world is concrete. They can process black and white, but are blind to shades of gray. A pie in the face is funny, but a pie made of Irish babies, not so much.

You can see this in the audience for comedy -in the 90’s, it was fans of Leno versus Letterman (and now  O’Brien), Jeff Foxworthy versus Jerry Seinfeld, and Britney Spears versus Lady Gaga. It’s the divide that separates America into Walmart and Target. There are people who take Sarah Palin seriously and those who see a cosmic joke. It is with utmost seriousness that I propose a new DSM personality disorder -the Irony Deficit Disorder or IDD.

IDD is marked by a lack of curiosity of the world beyond the experience offered by life within earshot and immediate view. People with IDD have limited affect and rarely express themselves with their hands. They hew to orthodoxy and are great believers of world views constructed by dead people. They are suspicious of the new and generally feel uncomfortable around people who don’t share their background. IDD is found across the political and socioeconomic spectrum. People with IDD are easily offended. They will likely be offended by this piece. These people find change distressful and uncomfortable. At first, new things are regarded with disdain and suspicion, and the ethical and moral dimensions are weighed from the viewpoint of their particular flavor of orthodoxy. When change threatens to intrude, they usually have been able to withdraw from it and the world, but not anymore. The internet, which back in the halcyon days of the nineties offered a utopian view of world connectedness -a New World Order, functions as both the irritant and the balm to those with IDD.

Every country now has its native Taliban fighting the bare-legged, ochre-skinned, breast implanted, spangly-pole dancing march to progress. It is the loss of tribe, social norms, and social status to barbarian invaders talking, looking, and thinking differently and dictating change while secretly sneering at the rubes, or so it seems to the bitter IDD person. They look at their internet in shock and awe – How can it be not wrong for a man to kiss a man and marry a man? How can it be not wrong for a white girl to kiss a black man? Why are they trying to get me to eat that horrible looking food? Why do I have to look at that person dressed that way? Why are those signs not in my native language? Why do I have to pronounce that name the way they want to? How can it be not wrong to assert that America is a country whose only mention of God in the Constitution is in the separation of church and state? Their fears are straightforward –They are trying to change my core values and by extension, denigrate them.

Now, having IDD in no way handicaps that individual. These people buy Toyotas and GM cars, use Windows, and wear red Christmas sweaters embroidered with reindeer. They pay taxes and abide the law. In fact, they are the majority, and their concerns have to be respected up to the point where someone else’s rights are infringed. Those of us endowed with the third eye of irony and rationalism have a difficult position because we will always be in the minority and vulnerable (see Qin Dynasty -burying of the scholars and burning of the books, Spanish Inquisition, Nazi Gleichshaltung, McCarthy Hearings, the Cultural Revolution, the Gulag, Taliban Kabul Soccer Stadium activities, the Iranian Election of 2009, The Glen Beck Show). A candle is mostly wax with a fine evanescent flame, easily blown out.

The bright lights of our world have to make a stand. Rather than retreat to Starbucks to grope out discontented tweets for a limited audience, we have to reach out and actively defend ourselves and our civilization which is the Modern Civilization. Rather than sneer behind our Kindle’s, we have to speak clearly for our Constitution and rule of law. We have to make our votes count and work with our like minded brethren in the opposing camp to come to rationale, workable solutions rather than digging trenches festooned with figures hung in effigy. The rational center must hold true to the convictions of Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Adams.

You now have the tee box.