Even if you haven’t been in that somewhat…sticky situation, chances are you’ve heard at least one of Lady Gaga’s songs in passing. Whatever you think of the lyrics, they are infectiously dance worthy.
You’ve probably also seen her on TV. She’s the one either wearing cuts of beef or emerging from a giant egg.
And her latest song, Born This Way, has been getting a lot of Christians’ attention. It’s an anthem of self acceptance, especially for gays, transgendered persons and other “alternative” lifestyles. She even says “God makes no mistakes.” However you were born, go with it, becuase it’s good. Some praise the song for singing Jesus’ gospel of love and acceptance. Other Christians criticize the song, mostly because of it’s pro-gay message.
What no Christians are saying (or anyone else for that matter), is that no matter how much you love or hate the message of accepting how you were born, Lady Gaga is the most ironic, even ridiculous choice to be the preacher of the message.
Not Quite Born This Way
The reason the song is an almost laughably ironic message is that Lady Gaga herself was certainly not “born this way.” She was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta to a family of Italian Catholics in New York.
Lady Gaga came into this world as everyone else: as a baby; a crying, screaming poop machine. And by all accounts from the time she was a teenager, she has been carefully concieving and molding her eccentric image. Even her longest-standing friends call her by her artificial stage name. She’s been at work creating “Lady Gaga” for years.
Even if you don’t know Andy Warhol, you probably know his art from the 1960s, like Marilyn here. The point of Warhol’s art was to observe how real people like Marilyn Monroe became less “people” and more cheap, disposable “commodities” for the public to consume, like Campbell’s soup. Warhol became his own best work of art, building his fame on his eccentricity. He loved to be consumed by the public. He even coined the phrase “fifteen minutes of fame.”
Lady Gaga is this generation’s Andy Warhol. Every day of her life is spent calculating and engineering her greatest creation: herself. She’s no genetic accident. “Lady Gaga” is a custom made test tube baby. Even her music is meticulously made for mass consumption. Catchy music has DNA, just like an organism, and it is easily replicated. She’s actually a very conservative musician, wrapped in a very deliberately crafted package. But of all the things she is, she is not born this way.
I Love Kids…When They’re Adults
Even more than the irony of the messenger is the underlying weirdness of the message. Why do you think we live almost twenty years with parents who raise us? Because people are born…well, kind of bad. It takes two decades or longer to turn into functional adults. How much of child you is still alive? Most of us spent our childhoods acting in some way we’d be ashamed of now.
I’d say no one likes how they were born. That’s why we grew out of it. Becoming an adult means supressing how we were born.
And I’m not commenting on whether being gay is a “choice,” or people are “born that way.” But the battle cry of loving yourself and self esteem and all that stuff is way overblown. It will easily become a catch-all excuse for annoying the snot out of everyone and not caring.
I Don’t Care How You Were Born. Be Something Else.
For that matter, people are born with a lot of crap that goes beyond childhood phases. Everything that used to be called “vice” is now called a “disease,” and every “disease” is being assigned to some genetic trait we were born with. Are you tempted to gamble too much? You were born that way. Are you prone to alcoholism? You were born that way. Are you a sexual predator? You were born that way. Are you cranky and unsociable and no one wants to be your friend? You were born that way. Do any of those deserve a big self-hug?
We may like the phrase “God makes no mistakes,” and it’s true, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t born with a lot of baggage.
Not only do I find the message that I was “born this way” incredibly ironic, but hopelessly depressing. If all I have is what I was born with, then I guess I’m not going to make it much further than being a crying, screaming poop machine. That doesn’t do much for my self esteem.
Have I missed the mark? Is the secret to happiness just to give ourselves a big hug and accept ourselves, or is it in the hope of becoming something better?