The Art of Fame & the Decay of the Superstar

Isn’t that the age we live in  — that we want to see people who have it all, lose it all?

That’s the question Lady Gaga posed to Anderson Cooper in her 12 minutes of 60 minutes fame. It’s a worthy question, if you accept the premise that the Lady has it all.

Gaga is, by her own admission, a product of relentless marketing. She claims to be a master at the Art of Fame. Cooper says that Gaga is more outrageous than Madonna ever thought of being. Last year the Lady showed up at the MTV awards wearing a dress made of steak and recently  she showed up at the Grammys  encased in an egg.

Creative, perhaps, but not all that surprising. Gaga has to be more outrageous than Madonna, right?  Because if there is anything this culture of ours simultaneously worships  and abhors it is the outrageous person.

Vocally Gaga is no Barbara Streisand, but as a trained classical pianist, Gaga writes her own music. She does her creating while consuming copious amounts of pot and whiskey, which helps explain a lot of her lyrics, like these from Born this Way, the hit you are sure to be hearing more of than you ever wanted to:

My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir
“There’s nothin wrong with lovin who you are”
She said, “’cause he made you perfect, babe”
“So hold your head up girl and you’ll go far,
Listen to me when I say”

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way

The 24-year-old Gaga grew up in an affluent home, and was educated at a Catholic school — like Madonna.

Gaga’s fans, of which there are millions, follow her with an evangelical zeal. I’m always bemused at people who dismiss evangelicals touting Jesus as nut cases, will often enthusiastically embrace the utter nonsense of a Wall-Street guru. Gaga, who was a pretty girl and a talent, says she felt disenfranchised, unaccepted at school. But who knows if that’s true or if that’s just marketing spin?

“I’m just like my fans in so many ways,” Gaga says.

But of course you are like us, Girlfriend Gaga. One of the first rules of seduction of any sort requires that you be just like us, as you strut around in hooker heels and body Spanx on national TV.

“Tonight I want you to let go of all your insecurities… You have the freedom to pull the Superstar out of yourself that you were born to be. We are all born Superstars.”

That’s Gaga’s message. The collective wisdom of a 24-year-old who has grown up in a society intent on teaching a false doctrine of self-esteem with no regard for the narcissism such theology breeds.

Do not be deceived.

Gaga’s message goes contrary to everything that Christ modeled for us.  God did not create us to be Superstars. He created us to be Super-servants. The insecurities that inflict us all are only cured when we are about the business of doing that which God created us to do. Anything less than that and we are merely bobble-heads.

As to that second rule of seduction? Gaga reveals it herself: “Getting people to pay attention to what you want them to pay attention to and to not pay attention to what you don’t want them to pay attention to.”

I’m sure the Master of the Art of Fame would prefer that her followers pay attention to the bait and not the fishing line as she reels them into shallow waters for the big haul.

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  • Your assessment of her is right on, but at the same time, she’s right in this one statement: “Isn’t that the age we live in – that we want to see people who have it all, lose it all?”
    Sadly, we, as a group of people, like to watch the failures of the likes of Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse, Jimmy Swaggart, or Ted Haaggard. I’m not sure why, but there is an interest.

    That is a small digression, though. This is a great assessment, Karen, of how sad it is that so many believe in the message Gaga is preaching.

  • She most definitely encompasses what society has become. Sad, but true.

  • Peg Willis

    Hmmm … if insecurity is what separates this “lady” from her past, I think I’ll take insecurity. It seems like insecurity just might also lead down another path …

  • I have to agree with your assessment…You wrote what I was thinking when I watched it. If this generation gets anymore empowered, we’ll all be in trouble…

  • Karen Spears Zacharias

    Gaga’s fans are marooned in a global technocracy of fancy gadgets but emotional poverty.

    More on Gaga from the Sunday Times:

    • The final two paragraphs of the Sunday Times piece are worth a serious ponder and extended discussion. Is there the slightest grain of truth that people who communicate so heavily by electronic means may become either immune or illiterate to facial expressions (and with them, I would think, subtle tones of voice)? If so, how does that change how we humans bond, love, form and maintain relationships? How does it and how will it change how children born 5-20 years from now are socialized? Can we, will they, even conceive of a God/god that isn’t electronic? I think we have more to talk about in our church forums than blood up to the bridles and lakes of fire.

      • Karen Spears Zacharias

        All good questions, Roger. I was out in public the other day, at one of those food courts in the mall. Hundreds of people there and I sat in a corner and noticed that not a one of them were speaking to the people they were sitting with. Seriously. For as far as my eyes could see, no one was having a real-time conversation.

        • Glenda

          Karen I had the EXACT same experience. I took an undergraduate college course last year. My classmates were between 19-24 years old. One day the teacher was late and the door to the room was locked. I watched as each one of my classmates tested the locked door, then immediately reached into his or her bookbag, coat,etc. and pulled out their iphone. Not one kid said “Hello” or even nodded at their fellow classmates. They all started typing on their phones. I remember feeling mystified at first, then feeling incredibly sad

          • Karen Spears Zacharias

            We are so disconnected in our very tuned in sort of way.

  • How terribly sad! Good words, Karen. The right remedy in Jesus as super servants. I like that! Hopefully we’ll keep learning in that Way. As lights in Jesus for the world rather than the flashy false lights that end up in utter darkness.

  • I’m just thrilled she mentioned God in a song in a positive way.