Quit Trying To Politicize Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Performance
Warning: Some Language
Dammit, can’t we do anything in American without someone wanting to inject their political vitriol into it and make a moment of unification into a vehicle for polarization? God blessed, we’re inundated with political acrimony 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and in every sector of American life. You can’t get away from it. So is it too much to ask that we can watch a fucking football game and the halftime performance without groups of assholes attempting to use it as a wedge in society to hate our neighbors and slander people who think different from us?
I didn’t care too much for Lady Gaga’s halftime performance, but that’s because I don’t like all of the pop pageantry bullshit. When you have to use seven-figure production budgets, dozens of choreographed backup dancers, hundreds of lighted drones, and about 1,000 fake shill fans with networked LED flashlights to distract from the fact that the music is just not that great, then what is the point of having “music” as part of the halftime performance at all aside from an audio accompaniment to all of the visual histrionics?
But for the first time in recent Super Bowl halftime history, probably since Prince did his thing a decade ago, I didn’t feel completely and totally alienated by the performance. It looks like Lady Gaga was actually fucking singing, at least most of the time, and though many of the dance gesticulations were completely stupid, generally speaking, it was a performance that allowed a pop performer’s talent to be showcased instead of being solely wowed by the spectacle of it all.
And yes, she took a moment where she could have come out and pitted two sides of the country against each other, and instead did something that not all, but most people nodded their head to and said, “You know what? Not that bad.” That doesn’t even mean that Lady Gaga didn’t work in some subtle symbolism about inclusiveness or togetherness. And hey, that’s awesome. That is what good art, and good music does. It brings people together not by preachy idealism shoved down listener’s throats, but by reaching out to our collective humanity and proving we’re not all as different as the political class what you to think we are so the political industrial complex can continue to be filled with voluminous amounts of donations and pissed off volunteers vociferously shouting the other side down.
Yet there’s still plenty of angry people Monday morning quarterbacking Lady Gaga’s performance, saying she wasn’t political enough like The L.A. Times, who says that Lady Gaga missed her opportunity to say something profound. “Unity was clearly the idea she was going for,” the paper chides, as a criticism of Lady Gaga’s performance.
Let me tell you something: You can’t be against unity, and also be for inclusiveness. Inclusiveness means everybody, not just the people that you want to be included, while all the people that you hate (even though you espouse being in the position of “love”) are not only excluded, but in the case of many of these opinionators, they want these people to be alienated, chided, talked down to, and impugned. That didn’t happen Sunday night, and they are pissed off about it. They wanted their bowl of blood. They wanted Lady Gaga to shit on anyone that wasn’t like them, and instead, she decided to be a bigger person.
Other opinionators, with the lack of any real ammunition to assign radical, hateful ideology to Lady Gaga’s performance, are trying to make these moments up to feel better about themselves—to make it seem like Gaga was insulting large swaths of the American population so their political spitefulness can be satiated in some manner, and from both sides of the aisle.
The primary instance is with people reminding us that Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” has roots as a protest song. The Millennial journalism pool loves to talk down to people, and point out how stupid they are, and how they don’t know history. But what many are failing to mention is that “This Land Is Your Land” was offered in a medley that also included the Pledge of Allegiance, and “God Bless America.” In fact the screen time “This Land Is Your Land” got was nominal. It literally last 14 seconds. But I’m not trying to downplay the impact of the message behind it. Gaga was offering “This Land Is Your Land” with the song it was meant to be an answer to—“God Bless America”—to include everyone in that moment. Frankly, it was pretty genius. It was similar to the great songwriter Mickey Newbury including “Dixie” in his “An American Trilogy.” That is true inclusiveness.
But that doesn’t go far enough for some people. They want Trump supporters to be pissed off about what Lady Gaga did, and they won’t rest until they are. They want you, the unwashed, uneducated middle American garden variety asshole to feel degraded that Lady Gaga had the gall to sing a protest song on such a huge stage. The idea that you might of enjoyed that Gaga American medley moment makes them seethe, and so they must explain to you why you should feel degraded by it.
Others are praising Gaga for her “gayness,” with The Daily Beast calling the performance “super gay,” and saying that shoving gay imagery into the faces of idiotic America is just what we need to spread the message of “inclusiveness.”
Let me ask you something: When was the last time you were convinced of anything when some was screaming at you about what a piece of shit you are instead of talking and listening to you? When were you convinced that you liked something, or even accepted it, when someone was shoving it in your face? “Here, take this asshole!” My guess is never.
Look, I’m not taking a side here. Gay, straight, or transgender, white, black, bown, or purple, as long as you like true country music, you’re a friend of mine. But if these folks want to truly defeat President Trump and his supporters, perhaps try actually talking and listening to them instead of bombarding them with insults hurled with an air of superiority. The entire reason Trump came to power was because so many people felt forgotten, insulted, and alienated.
I’m not saying that Lady Gaga didn’t make some slightly political statements Sunday night, I’m saying that she did. She just did it in a manner where people might actually find themselves receptive to the message because it was truly about bridging differences instead of defining them through political acrimony, and she did it in a way that reached people on both sides of the aisle. Yet by trying to make it political, now the right is finding things to be angry about too. Good on Gaga for taking a deep breath, and bringing a little wisdom to what was otherwise a fluffy, vapid display of excess.
But hey, there is also nothing wrong with turning off your brain for a second, and just enjoying an American pastime, whether that’s football, or silly pop music. Lady Gaga and the NFL allowed millions to do that last night, and at a time when just such a release was needed more than ever. So don’t try to take that moment of unity away from us, and exploit it for your politically-motivated purposes.
February 6, 2017 @ 10:32 am
Obligatory still more country than Sam hunt comment
February 6, 2017 @ 10:44 am
I enjoyed her performance. I think she’s great pop artist and probably the most talented overall pop artist out there right now. She’s over the top, but that’s part of her shtick. And I found it refreshingly inoffensive. I don’t think she was trying to piss anybody off — the patriotic songs at the beginning were a nice, un-ironic touch, for a change. And she was dressed more modestly than the two teams cheerleaders. People need to get a life — this protest/outrage shit at every turn is really getting out of hand. It’s tearing the country apart.
February 6, 2017 @ 10:46 am
I LOVE THIS POST. Thanks Trigger. A few weeks ago you posted the BS below.
I’m just here to say, I TOLD YOU SO.
Cheers xx Josh
“Of course, having to suffer through Luke Bryan’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner will pale in comparison to the national pain we’ll all suffer when Lady Gaga descends from the roof of Reliant Stadium during the Super Bowl halftime show riding a dildo-shaped unicorn. Then as a children’s choir fake sings to a backing track and performs tightly-choreographed exaggerated gesticulations, underlings will vomit on Gaga just like they did at her Doritos-sponsored set at SXSW a few years back as Gaga herself goes on a political rant that forces television censors to bleep out F-bombs and terroristic threats to heads of state, all while Gaga inexplicably attempts to position herself as being unwaveringly on the side of “love.””
February 6, 2017 @ 11:16 am
One of the great things about the Lady Gaga performance was she proved a lot of people wrong.
I can only imagine the pull Lady Gaga must have felt to get political. Everybody was expecting it. And by not getting political, not only did she avoid being divisive, she avoided her performance coming across as cliche. Even though I didn’t find much entertainment value in the performance personally, it was kind of genius. She did the most unpredictable thing she could do, which was NOT fall into the political mindset everybody else is roiled in. And that somehow made her original.
February 6, 2017 @ 10:56 am
Lady Gaga isn’t my cup of tea but she did what she was supposed to do and did it well. Lord knows everyone needed a break from all the divisiveness we’ve been through during the past few weeks.
February 6, 2017 @ 11:00 am
As a country music blog I figured you would write something about Luke Bryan’s performance instead of Lady Gaga’s. I commend Gaga on doing her job without insulting half the country and her acknowledgment of one nation under God, but overall her performance was no where near Prince’s. Seems she is receiving praise for more what she didn’t do than what she did.
February 6, 2017 @ 11:19 am
Like Miles Davis said, it’s the notes you don’t play that matter. Lady Gaga said something by saying nothing.
As for Luke Bryan’s National Anthem performance, I gave him mild props on Twitter yesterday. He did a fine, respectful job, but I’m not sure it was newsworthy in any way. If he had blown it out of the park or flubbed it, that would require its own article.
February 6, 2017 @ 11:06 am
I think the above quote was an exaggeration, but I hear she did come down from the roof?!? I dont know, didn t watch. I am more concerned about this quote, ” They want you, the unwashed, uneducated middle American garden variety asshole to feel degraded that Lady Gaga had the gall to sing a protest song on such a huge stage.” Sure looks like an insult and that you might feel as though you are better than the folks mentioned. I dont know how that was supposed to be taken.
Not that I am on the attack, just curious about the wording, because I wonder if it is ok to give a vote to someone with below average intelligence. Why is ok to entrust important decisions to idiots? Saw video of guy jumping into frozen pool, and John Oliver saying his vote has to count too. But really should it, if your not on the side of progress and moving forward, what are You?
Gaga performance inconsequential, but she is the one commonly making political statements, can’t expect anyone to not say something about her lack of one here.
February 6, 2017 @ 11:24 am
“They want you, the unwashed, uneducated middle American garden variety asshole to feel degraded that Lady Gaga had the gall to sing a protest song on such a huge stage.”
…was offered as if it was from an elitist perspective, not my own.
Look, I don’t like the fact that the current political season has emboldened a lot of people with racist and bigoted perspectives. But I also don’t like how folks think you can just assume people are racists and bigots just because of where they’re from. There’s some bad apples in this country, but there’s also a lot of great ones. Let’s shine a spotlight on the great ones, and hope the bad apples learn from them.
February 6, 2017 @ 12:23 pm
Well their is also the issue of the Pres of the US and his staff blatantly lying in an effort to divide people, and use fear and divisiveness to promote his agenda. The election itself is over, it’s all about Trump’s words and policies now.
Also labeling people from the coasts, or people who are protesting Trump, as elitist (or snowflakes, or less-real American) is sort of the same vein as labeling Trump supporters as racists. It’s all a way of dismissing their perspective, and the message they are delivering, as something you don’t need to listen to People from the coasts, should listen to what people in the middle of the country are saying, but people in the middle of the country should listen to what people on the coasts are saying too.
February 6, 2017 @ 1:48 pm
We from the flyover states have been listening. We’re sick of what we’re hearing.
February 6, 2017 @ 2:13 pm
Yeah well, this is why people on the coasts keep saying people from the flyover states are racist, or at the very least don’t mind voting for a racist.
By the way, the states currently receiving the most from the Fed govt are red states (in the south), while most of the states subsidizing the fed govt are blue. https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/
February 6, 2017 @ 2:23 pm
Ok, I don’t really want to get political, you don’t like what you’re hearing fine, but understand that goes both ways. If you act one way, you can’t expect the other “side” to act any differently/better.
Personally, I think we’re better off when we remember that we are all one country, red/blue, left/right, urban/rural, and work to understand each other, and elevate each other. And that we can and will disagree, but disagreements should be based in facts & done with respect and it can be done without name calling, or lying.
February 6, 2017 @ 2:34 pm
I’m sorry, seak05, I missed the racist overtone(s) in my post. Nor did I lie, nor was there any name calling. Sorry to disappoint, not all of us from the heartland partake in that. In spite of what the coastal folk say, or think, about us.
February 6, 2017 @ 3:13 pm
Never said you did, pointed out that your same frustration from the flyover states, is what’s happening in the coastal states but in reverse. Sorry for the assumption about what you were sick of hearing/why you dislike the coastal. What are you sick of hearing from the coastal states?
February 6, 2017 @ 2:46 pm
People terrorizing the other half of the country that didn’t vote for their candidate and constantly shouting them down and labeling them as nazis do not deserve anyone’s sympathy. I thought you were pretty smug just talking about music but it’s clear that’s not the even the half of it
February 6, 2017 @ 3:01 pm
terrorizing? shouting them down? you mean protesting in front of govt buildings? or at airports? Also please show me where I ever called half the country Nazis. Or where I’ve said anything that isn’t factually accurate. Heck most of what I’ve said here is that we should listen to each other, and deal in facts. How is that smug? What part do you disagree with? Or is criticism/disagreement itself that bothers you – people should listen to me, but I don’t have to listen to them?
February 6, 2017 @ 3:15 pm
Now if you wanted to go with snarky and sarcastic, yes totally. Also um, this entire blog is smug about music…otherwise we wouldn’t be here. The entire idea that you know what good and bad music is, and your opinion should be counted is actually pretentious, but that doesn’t make it wrong :p.
February 6, 2017 @ 5:03 pm
I thought the people on the left were snowflakes who need safe spaces but now you’re telling me they’re terrorizing you? This must be the lies and fake news Trump warns us about.
February 6, 2017 @ 4:01 pm
I don’t care who you call a nazi, and I don’t care about who peacefully protests in front of certain buildings. I care about the people that are being assaulted physically and verbally for their political leanings. I care that being a vocal conservative is the same as a second class citizen nowadays. I care that the tolerant left thinks itself as the party standing up for freedom yet trashes and silences any people not partaking in their echo chamber. There’s a lot of flaws on both sides but to sit their and even suggest that their is anything worthwhile coming from these protests is ridiculous. Take it or leave it I don’t really care, and for the record I have found your comments painful to read even before you started preaching politics at us. I don’t know exactly why, I think you make a lot of good points but there’s something in your prose that comes off extremely condescending.
February 6, 2017 @ 4:38 pm
Finally someone says it right. People listen up, hurling insults doesn’t help
February 6, 2017 @ 4:56 pm
Before anyone points it out i realize that my comment is completely worthless because i violated the “there, their, they’re” rules. Must’ve been my out of control blind racist bigoted rage.
February 6, 2017 @ 5:39 pm
I’m never a fan of physical violence, although I think it’s been played up on both sides. I’m also not a fan of bullying. If you have an opinion you should be able to voice it, but also be willing to accept people disagreeing with you (without resorting to name calling), and I think it happens on both sides. I also think it’s possible to be a conservative and dislike the current President. I think an inability to have a discourse with someone you disagree with is a major part of the current problem. And I think tone differs greatly from individual to individual
I will disagree with you on the protests though, be it Democrats now, or the Republicans with the tea party movement, I think historically protests have been shown to be one of the most effective means of affecting change in a peaceful manner.
I also think this blog isn’t probably the appropriate place for this discussion, but so much of everything is echo chambers, people rarely encounter those with opposing views anymore.
Oh, and I still can never get There, Their, and they’re right….so whatever I am, it’ll never be a grammar nazi :p.
February 6, 2017 @ 11:29 am
Well said, Trig. Well said.
February 6, 2017 @ 11:48 am
I figured this was going to be something along the lines of the Beyonce/Dixie Chicks CMA fiasco from a few months back, so I never even watched it!
February 6, 2017 @ 12:05 pm
Gaga Sang Guthrie at the Superbbowl and I heard Woody Guthrie sang also in protest of Donald Trump’s father. But I don’t know the whole story of that.
February 6, 2017 @ 3:31 pm
“This Land Is Your Land” is a classic standard of the American songbook that most American kids learn in elementary school. It’s not the radical, biting, protest ode some are trying to make it out to be. I understand its history as a protest song, but you also have to put it in the context in which it was offered from both Gaga and Guthrie. Lady Gaga didn’t include 14 seconds of it to offend anyone, she did it because it’s a well-recognized song about America.
February 6, 2017 @ 12:05 pm
Agreed Trigger. I think it’s ok to acknowledge that “Born this Way” is a Gay rights anthem. it was written to be one, and playing it on the stage was a statement. Art, music is supposed to have meaning, most great music makes a statement, it touches a larger emotion, or we would just be stuck with a bunch of beer and truck songs.
Playing God Bless America followed by This Land is Your Land was also a statement. But one of the things about “Born this Way” is that it is a statement, but it’s an inclusive statement, it seeks to be a Gay rights anthem through unity. I think that is a good metaphor for her performance. She was (I think) speaking to the larger principles that are supposed to unite the country, liberty, justice, a land for all, and I think sometimes those principles get lost in that partisanship, and the flag waving. So I think if you were offended by the performance, on either side, you maybe need to take a second and take stock, about what you’re really fighting for and about.
February 6, 2017 @ 12:35 pm
100% agreed with this. 🙂 While I’m not a big Gaga fan (though I’ve liked a few of her hits, her work with Tony Bennett and her performances on the Oscars), I thought this performance was kind of a fun spectacle, and rather refreshing for its emphases on unity and inclusiveness (rather than divisiveness and in-your-face shock).
February 6, 2017 @ 5:35 pm
Forced acceptance is NOT a good thing no matter what cause is being pushed and I don’t have anything against gays, per-se’. But I’ll never accept being forced to accept ANY agenda and when it is “pushed” down our throats by a performer, or a gov’t decree. It is still forced and makes it no less worthy of pushing back, usually in a manner just as forceful and ALL conflict starts when one tries to force his will on another. If you know that and continue to force then you must accept the consequences which probably won’t be to your liking. 2 wrongs NEVER make a right, even if you’re on the left.
February 6, 2017 @ 5:41 pm
On one level I agree with you, on another, it’s hard to tell the oppressed group that they have to accept a second class status, and if you were a member of the group seeking acceptance, I suspect your feelings would be different. I’m not really going to sit here and say forcing an end to segregation was wrong, for instance.
February 6, 2017 @ 6:55 pm
I never tell anyone, nor should you, or anyone else, what class they are. FYI, all men are created equal and have certain unalienable rights endowed by their Creator, not granted by a gov ‘t entity or edict or protest march or song = everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time. I don’t do class segregation that’s what the tax laws are for. To separate, to divide and guess who’s behind that little scheme? Leftist. Those who insist that forcing their will on others is “exceptional”.
NO individual or entity has the moral right to force their will on another, no matter what the cause. Consensual agreement is the only lasting action. All else is false, built on shifting sands and at some point those sands will shift underneath your feet and next time you won’t like the results. Begets, begets. Count on it. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There are no time lines assigned to either.
February 6, 2017 @ 12:20 pm
” When you have to use seven-figure production budgets, dozens of choreographed backup dancers, hundreds of lighted drones, and about 1,000 fake shill fans with networked LED flashlights to distract from the fact that the MUSIC IS JUST NOT THAT GREAT , then what is the point of having “music” as part of the halftime performance at all aside from an audio accompaniment to all of the visual histrionics?”
Nailed it Trigger . IMO Gaga is one the BEST pop vocalists on the planet today which may be the biggest distraction from her , at best , mediocre , material .
February 6, 2017 @ 2:18 pm
That was actually the part of the post that I disagreed with the most. Lady Gaga cut her teeth in small Jazz clubs, and she is actually a pretty damn good singer and songwriter by any objective measure, no matter if it isn’t your cup of tea from the standpoint of it being something you would listen to or own (it isn’t mine either). I don’t think she used all that stuff to hide behind….and the fact that she did most of her vocals live in that setting is pretty amazing. You have to keep in mind that this was the superbowl halftime show, and all of that big showmanship is kind of the idea behind it. It aims to be visually amazing and appeal to millions of people from the standpoint of it being a big visual production regardless of whether they are fans of the music.
February 6, 2017 @ 1:08 pm
Without a doubt the best post you’ve written. Kudos for saying what 90% of America is thinking.
February 6, 2017 @ 1:21 pm
The only thing missing was a bridge for her to live under…
February 6, 2017 @ 3:34 pm
The media is on a quest to divide the country. I do not believe there as much division as the media portrays. Don’t get me wrong, tensions are obviously rising but I believe as a direct result from the constant vitriol being pumped down everyones ass every single breath we take. Yet as you correctly point out, this has only backfired on the political left. Which only angers them more.
People are sick and tired of being told what they should believe in. People are tired of politics. I tip my cap to Lady Gaga and enjoyed the performance.
February 6, 2017 @ 3:48 pm
Starting to have flashbacks to the days when commenter ‘Clint’ would chime in on every topic and ignite off topic arguments that would go on for what seemed like forever.
February 6, 2017 @ 4:14 pm
The L.A. Times wanted something profound from Gaga? That’s rich. From one of the bastions of editoralizing as straight news.
February 6, 2017 @ 5:06 pm
I didn’t watch a snap of the game or Gaga.
But from what I heard and read, she did as Trig said and eschewed the pressure to go political.
I didn’t know and don’t care whether Gaga is gay.
I have had close gay friends my entire life, even when queerness was deemed to be aberrant behavior.
God bless Gaga for being an entertainer and not a preachy celeb.
I actually watched the Stones perform at halftime a good while back and I thought they put on a great show.
February 6, 2017 @ 5:26 pm
It was the best Super Bowl ever (I’ve watched all 51) and I was pulling for Atlanta. I changed channels at half time and changed back just before the 2nd half 🙂
Citizens who cave to the political BS rhetoric are THE reason those who believe a spot light gives them some kind of credibility the rest (especially deplorables) don’t have is pure, unadulterated BS, especially wannabe journalist who wanna be in the favor of the celebrities they worship as spokes persons for their cause de’ jour which is NEVER what’s best for everyone, just their small minded, narrow, and deluded sense of self worth.
February 6, 2017 @ 7:28 pm
“The entire reason Trump came to power was because so many people felt forgotten, insulted, and alienated.”
A country music blogger understands it better than the talking heads of the press and major news networks
February 7, 2017 @ 6:38 am
No shit. Mainstream media is still screaming racism.
February 7, 2017 @ 6:59 am
No, it wasn’t the ENTIRE reason. For example, I don’t think the clear majority of Trump supporters that believed the racist birther lie that he so prominently pushed for so long can credibly claim that as the reason they supported him.
February 6, 2017 @ 7:34 pm
February 7, 2017 @ 7:33 am
Thought Gaga’s performance was good. Never understood or taken the time to understand Gaga or properly listen to her music. I thought the opening of her show ass was class, a simple good reminder that America is one nation, very good effective use off two songs.
You don’t need to fight a war amongst yourselves. Rodney King said it cant we all get a long someone else said “ignore the hype”, and know its not that simple….
February 7, 2017 @ 7:39 am
“Let me ask you something: When was the last time you were convinced of anything when some was screaming at you about what a piece of shit you are instead of talking and listening to you? When were you convinced that you liked something, or even accepted it, when someone was shoving it in your face? “Here, take this asshole!” My guess is never.”
Awesome statement. I’m a Christian who converted from atheism in my 30s. As an atheist, I did a great deal of shouting, insulting and goading Christians. In return, Christians gave me back a good deal of the same. Amazingly, I never drew any of them to atheism, and those type antics never drew me to Christianity. This is exactly what both sides in this whole political climate in America need to learn today. As long as we are shouting, screaming, insulting, attacking and doing everything to undermine each other we fail to convince or persuade anybody to see things our way. I’m not a Gaga fan. Actually, I’m not a football fan, so I didn’t watch any of it. However, even though she comes from a different political perspective than me, I can appreciate the fact that perhaps she tried to set a good example of how we can create more unity instead of furthering the division in America. Sometimes we just need to let music be music. It’s one of the few things that keeps me sane, and I prefer mine without a dose of either side’s political views.
February 7, 2017 @ 8:25 am
You called it! Well said. I like music because it’s an escape from stress and reality at times. Good music can give you a healthy endorphin rush. Add someone telling me what I’m supposed to think about a divided political issue and the stress comes back. Yes some music artists are activists but they don’t always put it in your face when it comes to music. Music is meant to bring pleasure to people and it shouldn’t become a weapon to divide or beat people. Unfortunately , forces beyond our control are seeking to politicize everything.
When that happens I tune out. Some of the commentors on this site love lecturing us on their political viewpoints and that gets wearisome. Well stated Randy.
February 7, 2017 @ 8:43 am
I still think Bruno Mars solo show (with RHCP) was a great return to the talent taking center stage; the drum solo entrance, the old school choreography with his backup singers/musicians, and the end just him standing there by himself belting “Just The Way You Are”. I agree with Trigger about the pageantry BS of pop music / Gaga’s performance but it was still good and unexpected.
February 7, 2017 @ 10:46 am
Another good thing about the Gaga performance that few are talking about is that it was just her instead of being a frenetic parade of superstars. For example I remember the Bruno Mars year you referenced. I agree the drum solo open was good, as was most of Bruno’s performance. And then here come the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who I otherwise feel favorably about), jumping around like idiots for 90 seconds, clearly playing to a backing track, and just total screwing up the vibe Bruno was throwing down. Focus on one artists and execute it well. I hope the NFL learns that from this year.
February 7, 2017 @ 9:05 am
Well, I didn’t tune in until shortly after the start of the second half, so I missed the performance. And actually, I waited until I knew halftime was over before turning on the TV, as I’m not a big fan of the pageantry that is so often part of these Super Bowl music shows. I was relieved to hear that she didn’t go full on anti-Trump partisan. Perhaps she was smart enough to know that doing so might have hurt more than helped the cause, as it were.
February 7, 2017 @ 9:51 am
I’m not so sure that we should attribute the apparent lack of a political statement to the magnanimity of Lady Gaga. For more than a week before the game, Fox was very vocal that they would be using a 5-scond delay to avoid any controversial statements or actions.
February 7, 2017 @ 9:59 am
She always looks weird in an undesirable sort of way, in addition to being weird in a similarly undesirable sort of way. That’s the image she wants to project, so mission accomplished.
Pop music is so bland and unmemorable. It’s no wonder the ‘country’ artists can gain a foothold. At least they bring some hooks to the game.
Strait Country 81
February 7, 2017 @ 11:12 am
I don’t care what Gaga/Bryan did at the SB.
the fact my team blew it to that degree is a F’ing joke!
February 8, 2017 @ 9:06 am
Claiming a non-political stance is always political, and you have the privilege of such a claim because anti-gay statements, policies, and violence don’t affect your livelihood and safety (Of course, I’m assuming here that you identify as heterosexual.) Lady Gaga has always considered herself a political artist, and for queers who are constantly brutalized physically, discursively, and legally, seeing her perform such unabashedly gay-affirming songs in one of the most traditionally homophobic cultural spaces, before some of the most gay-hating politicians in history, is very fucking political.
When you experience homophobic violence in every sphere of life then you can give your two cents about what’s politically meaningful to you.
Also, This Land Is Your Land, in this context, is indubitably pregnant with political meanings.
February 9, 2017 @ 4:26 pm
Ugh..this whole “keep politics out of it” non political sentiment that people are advocating, just reeks of privilege. Its something you say when you have very little to worry about
February 9, 2017 @ 10:20 pm
Talking about “privilege” reeks of white guilt indoctrinated through academia.
Politics used to be sport. Now it’s fashion. No act of government can free or oppress anyone more or faster than what they can do for themselves.
February 10, 2017 @ 7:10 am
Talking about “privilege” reeks of white guilt indoctrinated through academia.
Politics used to be sport. Now it’s fashion.
It’s just that simple, huh? I guess TammyS should consider her opinion dismissed. I think she makes a good point, as does Frijoles Negros above.
February 10, 2017 @ 1:51 pm
Quite curious that you would racialize the conversation, since nobody specified “white” privilege.
And condescending to suggest people of color or those who don’t have the fortune to go through higher education mustn’t be intelligent enough to think critically about how privilege operates in our society.
February 10, 2017 @ 2:57 pm
Look, this is what happens in political rhetoric. Everyone retreats into preformulated stances that attempt to put themselves on a moral high ground, and diminish whomever they’re debating as being either lacking in perspective, or uninformed. And I won’t play.
It’s very simple: By assigning a radical agenda to Lady Gaga’s performance, you aren’t helping the cause of the diminished and disenfranchised, you are hurting it. Lady Gaga’s performance found what passes these days in popular culture for universal acclaim crossing well over the political divide, even though it did include songs like “Born This Way” and “This Land Is Your Land.” However, by radicalizing it, all you’re doing is pushing the message of these songs further away from the people who need to hear their message of inclusiveness the most. And you’re doing it not because it will further any cause, but because you want to draw blood. You want Trump supporters to feel insulted, impugned, diminished, and isolated. But guess what, they already feel that way, and in the millions. That’s how a madman got elected President. The Trump Presidency is a construct of the American experience, and both sides are to blame.
As I said in the article:
“I’m not saying that Lady Gaga didn’t make some slightly political statements Sunday night, I’m saying that she did. She just did it in a manner where people might actually find themselves receptive to the message because it was truly about bridging differences instead of defining them through political acrimony, and she did it in a way that reached people on both sides of the aisle.”
I’m not a pop music reporter so I’ll take your word that “Born This Way” is a radical, gay anthem. That’s not what I chose to take from it, nor did the majority of viewers. I choose to take for it that we’re ALL born as different and diverse people, including homosexuals, and we shouldn’t judge people based on the way they are born, regardless of what those qualities are. In my opinion, if I was a raging homophobe, perhaps that message would open my eyes to what’s at the heart of the LGBT movement and make me think, “Hmm, if gay people can’t help being gay, and if that’s how God made them, maybe I shouldn’t be so judgmental of them.” By saying the song is flying fuck you to certain people, then all these closed-minded people are going to do is feel is purposely insulted by an aloof millionaire in her skivies from a foreign country suspended in mid air on wires.
But if my logic is off, so be it. Full speed ahead with trying to insult Trump supporters into submission. My guess is all you’ll do is stretch a 4-year presidency into 8. Because you refuse to listen or take a pragmatic approach to changing hearts and minds. Music has a political power all the legislatures combined don’t posses, but only if you respect its incredible ability to create avenues of inclusiveness through universal expression. There was great wisdom in how Lady Gaga approached her performance, and it’s a shame so many are looking over it in an effort to score political points, not because I’m rooting for one side or the other, but because it was a moment that brought people together, and for the forces of political division, that is what pissed them off the most, and that’s why they’re trying to radicalize the performance.
February 10, 2017 @ 3:42 pm
You make a lot of claims on behalf of my personal views and intents that are not manifest in my brief comments above. In fact you don’t even address my comments, so maybe this response is more about your feathers being ruffled by what you read in the media.
Also, I don’t think there is anything radical about Lady Gaga. But the context of her performance and the lyrics of her songs do carry political import, especially for the marginalized they’re largely addressed to.
Look, I’m generally quite fond of your site and work. You’re the one who decided to write about a queer pop star here. I’m just saying calls for “keep the politics out of it”, which seems to be your cherished crusade, and even calls for liberal inclusiveness, usually serve to mask privilege and status quo to the detriment of people for whom politics (not confined to “electoral”) is not about fashion but surviving in this world.
February 10, 2017 @ 4:37 pm
This is what you said in your initial comment:
“When you experience homophobic violence in every sphere of life then you can give your two cents about what’s politically meaningful to you.”
Yes, I did get my feathers ruffled because this is an insulting comment. Basically you’re saying that myself and others do not have the right to political opinions unless you have granted them to us, and that even our perspective comes with diminished importance because it’s one of “privilege.”
Everybody has a right to hold opinions, and everybody has a right to express them. To assert anything else is the seat of elitism. And it is my opinion that the political acrimony roiling the country is far more caustic to life than any law or statute being currently enacted or proposed, and that it’s all an attempt to continue to feed money and attention into the political industrial complex that looks to keep us all consumed in a “total war” political stance in perpetuity. That doesn’t mean I’m not pissed off about some things going on because I am. But I’m more pissed that people continue to try to politicize every single sector of American life. Though I try to run Saving Country Music to respect everyone’s political stripes, spilling politics into music is where I take a stand, and I always have. If Lady Gaga or anyone else wants to make political stands, that’s their right. But don’t assign them to them for your political means, especially when it disrespects their true political or non-political ideas or approach. Americana is not racist, alt-country is not part of the alt-right, and Lady Gaga’s performance was not an overt political attack on anyone, or anything.