Archive for the ‘lady gaga paparazzi’ tag
I plan to jump back on this site after I get the holidays are behind us. I’ve recently been entrenched with the aforementioned “War and Peace,” and now, I’m reading a book titled, “Nixon’s Piano,” in which Kenneth O’Reilly traces the track record of each United States president on the topic of race and how few presidents moved race relations and civil rights forward. Rather, the large majority either did all they could to ignore the problem, thus passing the buck to successors or used blacks and other minorities to secure the Southern vote. Of course, numerous early presidents from Washington to Adams to Jefferson knew the peculiar institution was unsustainable in the long run but again, deferred to later generations to actually enact meaningful change. Reluctantly, Lincoln was the man that conclusively ended slavery, but what he couldn’t end was racism, and blacks and other groups would wait another century-plus before Martin Luther King Jr., and other members of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement finally broke the chains of segregation and Jim Crow.
It’s an enticing read, and I would like to read O’Reilly’s other book on race, “Racial Matters: The FBIs Secret File on Black America” in the future.
Needless to say, I typically either spend the bulk of my free time writing and researching for this site or reading and/or playing video games like the 33-year-old teenager that I am.
That said, and in the spirit of annual, year-ending “Best of …” lists, here are 20 of what I consider to be my top blog posts for 2010. In no particular order:
- Jan. 13 — Haitians condemned — classy, Robertson: In light of another natural disaster, Robertson toes the Jerry Falwell line of thinking and blames people, not natural forces, for the Haiti earthquake. God 55, Humans 0.
- Feb. 25 — Talk radio echo chamber claptrap: Michael Savage gets it wrong … again.
- March 21 — Historic legislation well on its way: The most sweeping health reform bill in nearly half a century passes without a single Republican vote. Thirty-two million formerly uninsured patients will be able to get themselves checked out. Insurance companies can no longer deny sick people because of preexisting conditions. Republicans still looking for some kind of human pulse.
- March 17 — In response to Tea, Coffee parties, Kool-Aid Party emerges: In the great spirit of The Onion, I penned this faux-news piece about the newest beverage-inspired political parties. Hopefully, I can do more of this type of thing in the future.
- May 15th — 12-year-old deftly covering Lady Gaga; pop and nothingness: Greyson Chance puts some feeling behind an otherwise lifeless pop song.
- May 10th — Dave Matthews, philosophy and the GrooGrux King: The Dave Matthews Band had something to say about life and death in their latest album, a tribute to their fallen comrade, LeRoi Moore.
- June 19th — Federal suit against Arizona forthcoming: Arizona attempts to skirt federal immigration law, and the Constitution couldn’t be clearer on the matter.
- July 16th — Some reflections from New England: Thoughts from the road during my summer trip to Boston, New York and Connecticut. I will possibly have at least two similar posts next year because of an extra week of vacation.
- July 28th — Federal judge makes ruling on Arizona bill: As it turns out, a federal judge has the ability to read the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
- Aug. 26th — Movie review: ‘Doubt‘: I don’t review movies very often, but this was one of the more interesting films I’ve seen this year. The movie explores the (special?) relationship between a Catholic priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and a schoolboy.
- Aug. 11th — Response to Apologetics IV: miracles: This is one in a series on a Christian apologetic book I read a few months ago. It’s dubbed as a handy guide for Christians to be able to thwart arguments against the Christian faith. It supplies most or all of the stock arguments for faith. I, in turn, thwart some of its more intricate “proofs.”
Sept. 1 — Open letter on problem of evil, my response: A college philosophy graduate pens an open letter to Christians regarding the problem of evil. I reply.
- Sept. 11 — NYC: two towers down but still in the game: Reflections on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attack.
- Sept. 24th — Colbert: ‘I like talking about people who don’t have any power’: In one of the more fascinating moments on Capitol Hill, comic Stephen Colbert breaks character during a hearing on immigrant labor conditions after spending a day in the fields himself.
- Oct. 6 — More battles over textbook curriculum: Texas Board of Education’s conservative spin on science curriculum.
- Oct. 11 — Apologetics VII: immortality and consciousness: Another in the apologetics series.
- Oct. 13 — Apologetics VIII: heaven, hell, free will: And another.
- Oct. 30 — Mark Levin: ‘Trust me.’ Sure.: More nonsense from another neocon radio host.
- Nov. 30 — Vick: flying high amid, in spite of critics: Having clawed himself out of the public doghouse, the Eagles quarterback may be Super Bowl bound.
- Dec. 7 — Noah’s Ark, the 21st century version: Theme park creators take it to a biblical level.
I’m not always one to trumpet child, or even teenage, actors or musicians and the like, since they usually flame out well before their voice breaks, but this kid, Greyson Chance, manages to take a rather run-of-the-mill glam pop, dance track and actually puts some power and emotion behind it. After his recent appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, and one can only imagine, more upcoming appearances, he’s most certainly going to catch the eye of some producer with his cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” His vocal control and maturity at that age is absolutely remarkable. And the vocal thrust he puts toward the end was, to me, powerful and in a way, a little Thom Yorke-esque (If one listens to early performances of “Creep” from the early 90s), and far more musically intriguing than Lady Gaga’s version.
Here is the original video from a school talent show:
And here is the video from his recent appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, which I think may be even stronger than the prior performance. Do yourself a favor and skip the goofy dialogue at the beginning and forward to about the 5:30 minute mark.
Pop, real Pop, is a white-hot blank. It sizzles into materiality in the form of this body or that body, this voice or that voice; it drapes itself in allusions, symbols, trinkets, scraps of dazzlement. It can enter the world in triumph, with a bang, in a flash of beauty; or sordidly and crappily, filtering from the ceiling speakers of a Taco Bell or glimpsed on a screen through somebody’s lonely apartment window, a dismal flickering. It seeps into conversations, your everyday chitchat—“Did you hear …?” “Have you seen …?”—and you talk about it as if under a compulsion, like a sleepwalker, the syllables strange on your tongue. Plenty to say about Pop (although it repels intelligent commentary)—about its shapes and styles and so on. But always, always, at the core, an ecstatic and superheated Nothing.
The column, in itself, makes the case that Lady Gaga is at once, empowering and “eviscerating” the institution of pop (and herself?), that has, (my words here) grown ever more glamish, yet somehow disheveled, since the New Kids on the Block first belched those words, “Hangin’ Tough” in the 1980s. Like Gaga, Kurt Cobain, of course, was well aware of how the entertainment business had the potential, and his case, did, chew him up and spit him out. We get the foreshadowing in his “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which I would contend, single-handedly delivered the death of hard rock in its pre-alternative form:
And I forget just why I taste. Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile. I found it hard, it’s hard to find the will, whatever, nevermind.
Or, for Cobain, maybe it was the ever-gnawing stomach pains, or a combination of other ills, that precipitated his end.
But should the fame make you really-truly famous—well, then you’ve got problems. Glare and shutter-whizz, the fan’s gaze weaponized: hiss the word … paparazzi. “Amidst all of these flashing lights,” moaned Gaga operatically at last year’s Video Music Awards, sprawled upon the stage, “I pray the fame won’t take my liiiiiife.” It was a prelude to her song “Paparazzi,” and within a few minutes she was spurting fake blood from her chest and being hoisted aloft in a mock hanging. In 1992, Kurt Cobain, amid much speculation about his mental and physical health, had himself wheeled onstage for Nirvana’s set at the Reading Festival, a hunched, averted figure in a white lab coat and platinum wig. Very Gaga, in retrospect. She too, in performance, will take to her wheelchair, or stagger along with a crutch—she has appropriated the arsenal of debility, of meltdown, train wreck, and personal disaster, as part of her style.
Parker, near the conclusion of the article then references Madonna, who was, or is, nothing if she isn’t a pop star. Yet, Gaga has gone a step further:
Gaga is post-Madonna and therefore freer: bandaged in yellow police tape or pounding at the piano with one leg up on the keyboard, she fears no trespass on her dignity. There’s nothing in Madonna’s videography comparable to the John Waters–esque sequence at the end of Telephone, in which a mass poisoning is perpetrated and fried food falls in lumps from people’s mouths. What does it mean, the image of an aproned Gaga turning a diner into a vomitorium? It means gaga, it means gagging, it means nothing. Or rather, right now, somehow, it means Pop. And who will be post-Gaga? Nobody. She’s finishing it off, each of her productions gleefully laying waste to another area of possibility. So let’s just say it: she’s the last Pop star. Après Gaga, the void.