Gaga Stigmata was featured in the Autumn 2011 issue of Yale’s The American Scholar Magazine! Editors Kate Durbin and Meghan Vicks were thrilled to speak with AS about Lady Gaga, 21st-century celebrity and scholarship, and Gaga’s relationship to academic studies. Check out the piece below:
Since March 2010, the online journal Gaga Stigmata has churned out the most intense ongoing critical conversation on the singer. The editors are Meghan Vicks, a graduate student in comparative literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Kate Durbin, a Los Angeles-based writer and performance artist. “When Gaga’s videos would come out,” Durbin says, “there would be such a response online. It was frustrating to think that I would have to wait five years to read something about it in an academic journal. So, I thought, why not help criticism catch up? Let’s see if we can shape pop culture and critique it.” Indeed, the digital immediacy of Gaga Stigmata suits the pace of 21st-century celebrity, allowing readings of the singer to update as fast as her own reinventions. “When the meat dress happened,” Durbin says, referring to Gaga’s garb at the MTV Video Music Awards last September, “we posted stuff a week later.”
In academe, Vicks says, she dreams of lecture halls in which scholars dress conceptually, like Gaga: “While I’m in the classroom explaining how the procession of simulacra works, Gaga is showing it on the street. High theory dictates how you view and understand the world, and what is high theory but discursive spectacle?”
Are academics unduly gaga over Gaga? “She’s really adamant about serious meaning and high art,” Durbin maintains. “That may be her one entirely new thing. Warhol brought pop into the museum; Gaga is bringing high art into pop culture.”
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