I don't quite know when Lady Gaga evolved from talented pop star into the world's least convincing self-help guru, but that shit needs to stop immediately.
This isn't meant to slag on Lady Gaga's music (though "The Edge of Glory" is the worst song ever) or her singing ability. The woman's got pipes, she never lip synchs, and she bravely walks around every day with a thousand pounds of shrapnel welded to her body. I can respect all that. She does the whole pop star thing extremely well. But she needs to can it with the whole "I'm empowering a generation!" shit. Let's do a little exercise. Here are five quotes below. You tell me which ones belong to Lady Gaga, and which ones belong to cock rock star Andrew WK.
1. "I want the deepest, darkest, sickest parts of you that you are afraid to share with anyone because I love you that much."
2. "I want to be as aware as possible, so aware that I can see all the sides and see that any choice that's inflexible is just going to limit my ability to be aware."
3. "Don't you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can't be exactly who you are."
4. "All that ever holds somebody back, I think, is fear."
5. "Love" is where you love a song or a certain person, 'total love' is when you love all things, including stuff that you don't like."
Two and five are Andrew WK, but it really doesn't matter because all five quotes are MEANINGLESS BULLSHIT. Read any Andrew WK interview and eventually you hear so much YOU CAN DO IT! diarrhea come out, you end up dismissing it all as drivel from a stupid person who doesn't know when to stop talking (even if "I Get Wet" was awesome and FUCK YOU if you didn't like it).
Lady Gaga is pretty much the exact same way. She sang some songs, wore some crazy shit, then her fans were all like OMG! YOU CHANGED MY LIFE! And then she was like OMG! YOU'RE RIGHT! I HAVE SUPERPOWERS! So now all her songs are about how awesome you can be and all this other Auto-Tuned Oprahfied bullshit that no one over the age of 27 would ever buy into. Musicians always become insufferable the instant they think of themselves as more than musicians. Just go to a U2 concert if you don't believe me.
Quote No. 3 from Gaga is a delight because she tells her fans to be exactly who they are. Then you look at any picture of Lady Gaga fans and they're all dressed EXACTLY like her, just finding a bunch of shit in the trash can and then pasting it onto their bodies. There's no individuality to be had there. It's just fanboyism. I have no problem with fanobyism, but don't go pretending it's some kind of awesome new way of seeing the world. This is a quote from Gaga in a Rolling Stone interview:
My fans are a revolution. They are living proof that you don't have to conform to anything to change the world.
Bullshit. Complete lie. If you want to change the world, you DO in fact have to conform to things. Gaga conforms all the time. She writes pop songs that conform to traditional song structures. She conforms to the music business by working for a major record label. She conforms to the media cycle by appearing on 60 Minutes when a new album comes out. This is because she's a professional, and that's what professionals do. They make the compromises needed to do their jobs effectively.
Gaga is far from the first musical artist to convince fans that they're special little flowers and that the world doesn't appreciate them the way they ought to. Take it from someone who listened to a shitload of Metallica as a child and came away convinced he was way cool and totally misunderstood by his classmates even though he was, in reality, a booger-eating slob. It's really fucking stupid to tell young people that they're perfect just the way they are, because no person is, let alone some fuckhead teenager.
"Born This Way" shouldn't apply to you if you show up to a concert wearing nothing but police tape. It makes sense as an anthem for gay teenagers, who are often bullied and shunned simply for being gay, a trait you really are born with and for which you should never be made to feel marginalized. But if you're just some idiot who has 70 piercings in your face, you were NOT, actually, born that way. You made a choice to look like an unemployed person, so don't go bitching about being oppressed when you refuse to conform to looking like a normal human being.
The problem with telling kids that they're fabulous as is and require no further work as human beings is that it will probably end up causing them to suffer an even greater sense of self-loathing because they refuse to cast a critical eye upon themselves. It's false pride, it's the pride you get from someone ordering you to be proud instead of the hard-won pride you get from working hard and building relationships with people around you. And it never lasts, unless you're that dude who created Glee and you're a complete fuckhead.
This isn't to approve of bullying and hazing. I got made fun of plenty when I was a kid for any number of reasons, most of them having to do with my weight. That shit hurts, and you always carry it with you. But false pride was of absolutely NO use to me, because I spent way too much time thinking highly of myself when I could have spent more time working on becoming a more complete person and finding real and true friends and building a support system for myself. The most important part of growing older is learning to honestly evaluate yourself. The last thing you need is someone encouraging you to see nothing wrong with yourself, especially when that someone is a famous person you'll never be close to. Lady Gaga does a nice job of singing her ass off with a bunch of flank steak hanging from her tits. But as a self-help guru, she's no better or worse than any big-toothed dipshit out there on the lecture circuit.