"[Gaga Stigmata has] very modern, edgy photography to free flowing, urban narratives without censure to analytical essays, et cetera—like Gaga, imagination without ... limits. And the beauty is that anyone can submit work to the site, so artists and writers from all over the [world] have joined this experiment." -The Declaration.org

"Since March 2010, [Gaga Stigmata] has churned out the most intense ongoing critical conversation on [Lady Gaga]."
-Yale's The American Scholar

Monday, February 20, 2012

Haus of Stigmata: Laurence Ross

Gaga Stigmata is thrilled to welcome Laurence Ross as one of our official Haus of Stigmata writers. Laurence holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama, and he lives, writes, and teaches in Tuscaloosa, AL. His essays have appeared in Brevity, Mason’s Road, The Offending Adam, Bluestem, and elsewhere. He has recently completed a tragicomic novel, Also, I’m Dying, rendered in three one-act “plays” in which characters deliver performances of crisis, apathy, education, vanity, alcoholism, sexuality, husband, wife, child, and anarchy, among other things.

We’re very much looking forward to featuring additional pieces by Laurence in the upcoming year. For now, check out what he’s already written for Gaga Stigmata.

On “Marry the Night,” and its creative/destructive möbius strip
Gaga must alter herself, and the creation of a new self necessitates the destruction of the old. And so Gaga destroys, takes up the box of Cheerios and dismantles it, washes herself in the milk (whiteness) and O’s (zeros/nothingness). She pours an innumerable amount of zeros over herself because there is nothing left. She opens her mouth, full of zeros, not to sing, but to show us she has nothing(ness) to say. That the Cheerios/zeros/nothingness is all that there is to see here. Gaga has lost it – it being the everything of the self, all that there was. Gaga is now nothing. As she sings in the song, “I’m a loser.” Gaga must be stripped to a naked nothingness so that Gaga may dress herself up again.

How “Yoü and I” continues the narrative of “Paparazzi” and “Telephone”
Despite the fact that Jonas Åkerlund did not direct “Yoü and I,” the video seems like the third chapter in a continuing narrative that the Åkerlund-produced videos “Paparazzi” and “Telephone” began. There is Lady Gaga’s glamour-infused romance (the result of which is death), Lady Gaga’s release from jail (the result of which is death), and then Lady Gaga’s escape to/return to Nebraska (the result of which is death). Yes, there is a repeated (rebirthed) theme, but there is also a (funereal) procession, a narrative extension on the discourse. Gaga leaves one man for another, moves from one prison to another, transitions from one state to the next. Gaga is continually killing one version of herself so that the next may be born, which implies two paradoxical sides of Gaga: one that wishes to live and one that wishes to die. “Yoü and I” simultaneously exhibits the separation (Lady Gaga and Jo Calderone) and the synthesis (Yüyi) of these two (seemingly) opposing sides of Gaga’s self. There is the Gaga who wants to be with the lover, submissive and secluded in the Nebraska barn, and the Gaga who wants to be the spectacle, the pop star, the one with agency.

Analyzing closely “88 Pearls”
At the close of the film, as Gaga and Koh place the final pearl in the teacup, Gaga says, “Let’s do the last one together.” Gaga and Koh, together, each take hold of the pearl, each one’s thumb and finger carefully joining to pinch a side, their pair of hands forming two rings, two circles, which, when joined (jointed) at the point (joint) of the pearl, form the figure eight, form yet another figure of infinity.

On the two videos for “The Edge of Glory”
There are two music videos for Lady Gaga’s newest single, “The Edge of Glory”: the one that exists and the one that does not. This is not exactly a lamentation for a reality that could have been. More so, this is a Borgesian analysis, a deconstruction of the imagined work, an essay at assaying the untaken path in the garden of forking paths.

Britney Spears : Lady Gaga
Sometimes a telephone is a means of escape (Gaga’s text to Beyoncé) and sometimes a telephone is a jail cell (“Callin’ like a collector”). Sometimes a pussy is a cat (Gaga’s cabdriver cat suit) and sometimes a pussy is a vagina (Venus’s symbol zeroing in on the Pussy Wagon in the final shot of “Telephone”). Sometimes a sandwich is lunch and sometimes a sandwich is a bit of dance choreography and sometimes a sandwich is poison – that’s the Wonder (Bread), the Miracle (Whip) of it all. And Lady Gaga exerts this freedom, this agency, over and over again. “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” (187), Stein tells us in her poem Sacred Emily (1922), a poem that creates a world where words and phrases are repeated to diminish meaning’s stability and to emphasize meaning’s permeability. And this world is the one Lady Gaga inhabits, a world where the meaning and identity of a person/place/thing are never stagnant, always changing. If Britney’s “Hold It Against Me” possesses Yeatsian echoes of a modernist looking backward in time, Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” possesses Steinian echoes of a Modernist looking forward to the Post-Modern, the dissolving of boundaries, binaries, and steel bars.

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