Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lady GaGa: Slightly Less Edgy than Avril Lavigne, and not even in the Same League as Mary Robinson

Lady GaGa followed the release of her rather desperate video "Alejandro" with an even more desperate grab for attention at a baseball game.
The singer wore a studded leather bra and a head scarf as she watched the San Diego Padres take on the New York Mets in New York last night.

Despite her eye-catching ensemble it appeared Gaga had hoped she would somehow blend into the crowd.

On noticing a sports photographer turn her way her good mood soured and she gave him the finger.
Here is the groundbreaking musician in action:

Wow. She flipped the bird! That is edgy. It's almost as edgy as "Sk8r Boi" singer Avril Lavigne circa a few years ago:


I say "almost" because Ms. Lavigne is smoking a cigarette. Or, at least, she has a cigarette in her mouth.

But is flipping the bird the best Ms. GaGa could do? I mean, she was in a diamond-studded bikini which I will admit is unusual attire to wear to a baseball game, but I've seen shirtless men at sporting events before. And I've seen shirtless men in shorts. So she's really not that far off from fairly common sports-going attire.

You know what would have been really edgy? If Ms. GaGa had arrived for the game about three or four innings in, wearing her hair up (but not too high that she would have obscured the view of anyone sitting behind her) in a long dress with a high neck, maybe a string of pearls, and a cigarette in a long filter. She could have sat for a couple of innings and then left again.

"What's she up to now?" people would have been asking. Not, "Why is she trying so hard?" which is what they're asking now. Or, that's what I'm asking.

It's almost like she's trying to be Madonna. Will she be dating a baseball player next?

Ms. GaGa would do better to emulate someone who was very edgy. One of the first famous edgy women in all of western culture, Ms. Mary Robinson.

Mary Robinson was a novelist, poet, and actress who lived in England from 1757 to 1800. She was known as "The English Sappho." When her philandering, spendthrift husband was imprisoned for debt, she got herself a patron to publish a volume of her poems. When she appeared on stage, the Prince of Wales became infatuated with her and offered her 20,000 pounds to become his mistress. From wikipedia:
But she gained popularity with playing in Florizel and Perdita, an adaptation of Shakespeare, with the role of Perdita (heroine of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale) in 1779. It was during this performance that she attracted the notice of the young Prince of Wales, later King George IV of Great Britain and Ireland, who offered her twenty thousand pounds to become his mistress. With her new social prominence, Robinson became a trend-setter in London, introducing a loose, flowing muslin style of gown based upon Grecian statuary that became known as the Perdita. He ended the affair in 1781, refusing to pay the promised sum. "Perdita" Robinson was left to support herself through an annuity promised by the Crown (but rarely paid), in return for some letters written by the Prince, and through her writings.
It's still early in Ms. GaGa's career, so it's probably unfair to compare them. But has Ms. GaGa done anything that interesting?

In addition to having several other scandalous affairs, Ms. Robinson became a celebrity author:
From the late 1780s, Mary Robinson became distinguished for her poetry and was called "the English Sappho." In addition to poems, she wrote six novels, two plays, a feminist treatise, and an autobiographical manuscript that was incomplete at the time of her death. Like her contemporary Mary Wollstonecraft, she championed the rights of women and was an ardent supporter of the French Revolution. She died in late 1800 in poverty at the age of 42, having survived several years of ill health, and was survived by her daughter, who was also a published novelist.
I suspect that Ms. GaGa wouldn't want to emulate the "dying in poverty" part of the story, but that just makes Ms. Robinson all the more edgy, and it underlines something we all know about our modern celebrities: Poverty isn't edgy.

That's why "edginess" is gone now. Because in order to be famous, and maintain your fame, there are rules you have to abide. If you don't follow those rules of fame, you risk losing everything you have. When you're on the downward slope and people start making fun of you, that's it.

Hence flipping the bird. There's nothing edgy or iconoclastic or even remotely interesting about it. And yet, celebrities who are trying to look cool do it. Because "flipping the bird" means "eff you," and "the eff-dash-dash-dash word" is just about the dirtiest word you can say. To Ms. GaGa and to Ms. Lavigne before her, it was an easy way of giving the appearance of edge, while still cashing those big checks.

Check out this portrait of Mary Robinson -- from 1783, by the way -- by Joshua Reynolds:


Ouch! Check out the decolletage. And how about that collar? And the careful, thoughtful gaze away from the artist? That is a woman who is casually confident, who doesn't have to make a "rude" gesture to appear "edgy."

Mary Robinson just was edgy. Ms. GaGa should take note.



Lady GaGa bird flip pic source.
Avril Lavigne bird flip pic source.
Mary Robinson portrait by Joshua Reynolds pic source.

1 comment:

shampoo said...

apparently, baseball does something for gaga. she just went to the yankees game in her underwear.