In a recent episode of the television comedy *Community*, a disgruntled professor, having been challenged by Abed on his reading of the 1984-92 series *Who's the Boss?", exclaimed, "I am not a fan, I am not a groupie; I am an academic!" This is a sentiment that many of us who study Lady Gaga can relate to and it is a question we must constantly struggle with. We spend time watching YouTube videos, collecting information, and writing articles on our findings in a timely manner. Our work happens in the interstices of other projects, be it Russian literature or Byzantine icons. Our interest is seen as an obsession by most. Our colleagues and advisors suggest we purge such interests from our professional lives so as to be taken seriously -- and in a tight job market this is not to be taken lightly. Our work therefore takes place in the in-betweens: on trains, weekends, vacations, or dissertation-writing breaks.
Our work happens always on the go, researching and collaborating via social media. We must follow @LadyGaga, @formichetti, @ladystarlightny, etc on Twitter for research purposes, and watch YouTube videos on our iPhones. Our discussions necessarily exist somewhere between gossip and scholarship. The cover for Born This Way album is a perfect metaphor for our methods; it exists outside the studio, in the DIY world of photoshop and blogs. Just as Gaga designed the "Judas" record cover on Word and took a picture of it on her Blackberry, we craft our understandings on Facebook and write introductions on our iPhones. Why? Because, pop-culture will never be lowbrow, because we were born this way.
Sent from my iPhone
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