In a manner now time-honored since the late 1950′s and 1960′s, the mavens of crass commercialism, be they on Madison Avenue or in the music or film biz, are still busy ripping off artists of the avant garde - no homage here, and no inclination to pay the laborers in the fields, as usual. The old 60′s underground was harvested endlessly for what became advertisements, or “psychedelic” sequences in Kubrick or Dennis Hopper films. More recently American Beauty shamelessly lifted a shot from a film of my friend Nathaniel Dorsky. And today, detoured by a headline, I spotted the latest Lady Ga Ga and saw that my friend Leighton Pierce has now been so honored. I would happily make a fat bet that the video-maker had a look at his #1 (see here). And, as usual, managed to convert the sublime to the utterly crass.
No longer guided by my gonads, I pay little attention to the pop scene, which exists primarily in the service of – or more exactly, the exploitation of – adolescent hormones. So aside from being vaguely conscious of the name and the occasional headline, I know Lady Ga Ga from Mata Hari not at all. So when slipping into the cyber-ether of this latest post on the net of her hottest hit album, I got my dose.
So now I know that Lady Ga Ga is essentially a kind of up-date on the aging Madonna, trafficking in you-wanna-fuck-me song and dance. As to be expected the tempo of our ever so modern times has picked up, and the video-maker has transformed Leighton’s delicate hints of sexuality into a combination of the female reproductive system, nice symmetrical vaginal canal, ovaries, and a sci-fi slit upon which our lady writhes a bit, not pole dancing, but razor-wriggling. The primitive clitoral removal folks have nothing on us, except in our case the function is to excite and not subdue that old female hot stuff. And then we slide into the standard song and dance routine, with our dear lady stroking her slot, kind of like, oh, Elvis, Prince, Jim Morrison, and a long list of “shocking” predecessors, including the previously mentioned Catholic slut from Michigan.
My “problem” with all this is its utter corporatization, with millions poured into extracting millions squared from the pockets of zombie teenagers, who in their utterly well-trained ignorance imagine this is something new. Musically it is a 50 year old retread on its 10th set of rubber, with the side-walls popping hernias from wear. Ah, but teen-rut music will sell as long as hormones rage, and guided by the scientific studies of Mad Ave, it will sell even better. Ditto with the constant turn-over in styles, one generation’s long hair morphed to prizing baldness; “natural” warped into urban primitive-total-tattoo. I recall in the 60′s reading a book on Russian history and noticing that a mere 100 years earlier, the rebellious of Russia (who did manage to assassinate a Czar) looked pretty much like the hippies all around me. What goes round, comes round.