Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let's Have Some Fun, This Beat Is Sick.

Has Gaga gone goo-goo?

This entry is proof that I, in fact, did write my first college English paper on Lady Gaga. Mainly, for Jess.

Though Lady Gaga is infamous for her ridiculous fashion choices, her latest outfit has sparked controversy amongst the public and various media outlets. The singer arrived at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards clad in raw meat. Since her appearance at the awards ceremony, various groups and newspapers have criticized her provocative ensemble, including Time Magazine, MTV.com and the Wall Street Journal. Though each medium provides different insight on the story, a common question remains: has Gaga gone goo-goo?

The first article comes from Time Magazine Online and focuses on animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), who spoke out against her outfit. In the article, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk condemned the outfit stating that, “meat is the decomposing flesh of an abused animal who didn't want to die (…) not too attractive, really”. This hasn’t been Lady Gaga’s first run-in with the organization- earlier this month PETA slammed her Japanese Vogue cover where she, again, donned a bikini of raw meat. As Time is a credited news outlet for issues regarding politics and the economy, I feel that they present the story from an uninvolved, blasé standpoint. They strive to maintain a certain level of professionalism by formally addressing the story’s controversy (PETA’s remarks) and make no further comment. The article is also short and not advertised on the website’s homepage, a reflection of Time’s ultimate disinterest and disassociation to the story.

The next article comes from MTV.com. The story addresses the PETA remarks, but focuses more on the message behind Gaga’s controversial outfit choice. MTV indicates that Lady Gaga was trying to make a statement regarding the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Gaga defends her dress in the article, saying “if we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones”. I believe that MTV’s coverage of the event is different than Time’s because it caters towards a different audience. MTV.com readers are most likely those who keep up with popular music and culture, probably a younger generation. Therefore, the article focuses more on Lady Gaga and the message behind the dress. By defending her dress, MTV is defending her and her music, the music that keeps their viewers tuned in. Attached to the article is also a video of Lady Gaga from the awards ceremony. Although Lady Gaga is seen wearing the dress in the video, it draws some attention away from the dress by focusing more on the ceremony itself, thus further promoting the MTV franchise. Also, I think that broadcasting Lady Gaga in this dress acts as a symbol of creative expression, something that MTV may feel it should foster in their younger, more liberal audience.

In the last article, the Wall Street Journal Online doesn’t merely address Lady Gaga’s meat dress stint, but evaluates her status as a pop icon in comparison to Liberace. Both artists are known for their musical originality and excessive costumes. However, the article indicates that Lady Gaga may struggle to be an outspoken spectacle while still entertaining her audience like many previous pop icons. Essentially, the article asks one question: is Lady Gaga this decade’s Liberace? While touching on the meat dress, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at Lady Gaga from a cultural and historical perspective. I believe the Wall Street Journal delivers more than just news; it makes us think about the story at a broader level. It is inquisitive, cuts right to the point, and allows people from different generations to weigh in on the issue.

All three articles address Lady Gaga’s meat dress, but they also contrast each other in new and insightful ways. Some make us think, others strive to get a point across. Ultimately, these media sources (a magazine, newspaper, and website) publish stories that serve their audiences and keep them in the know- meat dress and all.

Just a thought.

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