"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it" - Aristotle

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gaga for Death

Lady Gaga on the red carpet at a recent event

Lady Gaga is the latest in a long list of artist to achieve what right now feels like omnipresence. Her image has saturated all forms of mass media and she has become a pop culture staple. Although I do not think she has eclipsed the level of fame Britney Spears reached, she has accomplished something Britney Spears never has and never will -- respect from the art and high fashion worlds. It has been reported that Lady Gaga has been invited to perform at the Museum of Contemporary Art and legendary designer Marc Jacobs has honored her as a fashion pioneer at the 13th annual Accessories Council Excellence Awards. Not bad for a chick who's album tackles such potent topics as partying, getting drunk, fame-whoring, and boys.

The photo of Lady Gaga above embodies the main reason I started putting my time into this blog. On the surface, it is simply a picture of a popular pop star walking the red carpet in another crazy outfit she has become known for, but once you examine both the photo and other recent work by Lady Gaga you discover that she and her team are preparing to unleash an album, tour, and various music videos that focus on the theme of death starting with her concept album The Fame Monster. Now I'm aware that hardcore Lady Gaga fans will cry foul saying "But no!!! Lady Gaga said the fame Monster will be about her EMOTIONAL MONSTERS!!!! You don't understand her ART! YOU'RE TOTALLY HATING, YOU PSYCHO!!!".

To make it perfectly clear, I'm not concerned with the message Lady Gaga believes she is spreading, I'm more concerned with the repetitive themes presented in her work so that I can examine how those messages translate to the general public. Pop artists come up with off the wall explanations for their work all the time, but as history has shown, pop music is not exactly the best medium to convey any messages other than the mundane. Madonna is another artist who tried to convince the public that a performance that featured her fingering herself on stage was art and took the audience on an emotional journey. I'm seriously not even kidding, check this shit out...

When Madonna was Lady Gaga.

In her documentary titled Truth or Dare, Madonna explains that she knows she's not the best singer or the best dancer but she insists that she is not interested in that, she says she's interested in being provocative and political. Now, I can't speak for everyone, but I'm going to guess that most people do not see Madonna as a politician and are not leaving her shows pondering her deep social commentary on the state of the world. Because of this, it is important to explore what they are leaving Madonna, Lady Gaga, and other pop stars shows with.

In the Lady Gaga picture above she is wearing all black including a veil that is traditionally worn at funerals.On her lace gloves we see an inverted cross. My initial thought after spotting the inverted cross was that clearly if she put her hand down the cross would no longer be inverted and that this was probably just a random moment captured. Still curious, I went on ahead and searched some more and found out that most of the photos of her on the red carpet at this event featured the inverted cross - so this was not just some random moment and it could have possibly been intentional.But it's only about her personal monsters...

Now don't go and get your disco-sticks in a bunch Gaga-stans, I am in no way saying your Herme-Highness is a Satanist, I'm just pointing out the symbolism presented in her outfit. In fact, like most symbols, the inverted cross does not just have one meaning. Originally known as the Cross of St. Peter, the inverted cross was initially a Christian symbol. The story goes that St. Peter was crucified upside down due to his strong belief that he was not worthy of being crucified in the same manner as Christ. However, due to many Satanist and popular culture, the inverted cross is now seen as an anti Christian symbol.

When I originally began noticing the reoccuring theme of death in Gaga's work I was prepared to write her off as yet another artist presenting negative themes to the general public; but as I explored her work further I began to question my own thought process. Should the public really be shocked at Lady Gaga's constant antics or should we simply take a step back and examine existing socially accepted themes in religion and popular culture and see that Lady Gaga is simply a mirror to a distorted world we already accepted as normal before we knew what bluffin with a muffin was?

The Monster
Lady Gaga in "Paparazzi"

While Lady Gaga's original image was of a retro-loving blonde fame-whore who loves to party, the release of her music video for "Paparazzi" seemed to deconstruct that image in order to re-invent it into another image that centered around the theme of death.

Lady Gaga performing "Paparazzi" at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards

Gaga's visual representations of death continued with her now infamous performance of "Paparazzi" at the MTV Video Music Awards.

In my blog entry 2009 MTV Video Music Awards I pointed out the bride references in Lady Gaga's performance that night and I compared them to Madonna's famous performance of "Like A Virgin" at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984.

What I didn't think of at the time was Lady Gaga's connections to another bride - the Bride of Frankenstein. Take a look at the similarities between what the actress in the Bride of Frankenstein is knitting and Lady Gaga's Alex Noble designed head piece from the MTV Video Music Awards after party.

"The publishers do not see that my purpose was to write a moral lesson of the punishment that befell a mortal man who dared to emulate God." - Mary Shelley; a character from the film Bride of Frankenstein

It turns out Lady Gaga recently did a Bride of Frankenstein inspired photo shoot for Out magazine. Lady Gaga using the Bride of Frankenstein for this new era is not surprising considering the theme of her new era is monsters.The current obsession with Monsters in popular culture makes one suspicious; is this all happening naturally or is there an agenda being pushed by people behind the scenes controlling the entertainment industry? Blogger Tommy over at Kozmikon addressed this issue by connecting the over abundance of Monster related pop culture references to the Samhain; the beginning of the dark half of the Celtic year.

The Sacred Heart
"Pop ate my heart; he downed the whole thing in one efficient gulp like a beautiful monster."

The above screen cap is taken from the intro video of Lady Gaga's The Fame Ball Tour. The Andy Warhol inspired piece is meant to coincide with her other short film The Brain which I posted about here. The fact that she chose to open her show with a short film titled The Heart is interesting considering the surprising amount of references to hearts in her work and in her life in general.
Lady Gaga wearing a heart necklace in "Paparazzi"

"I need more to feed my pop heart"

The video above made be recall a recent blog entry by Pseudo-Occult Media (click here to read it) in which Ben went into detail about the repetitive use of the words "Papa" and "Pop" in Lady Gaga's work. That along with the obvious mind control elements made me suspicious of the video. In both The Brain and The Heart videos Gaga appears to be under mind control (her character, not her literally, although it could be both). Often a victim of trauma based mind control will be given commands that are stored deep within their mind only to be triggered at a later time.

During the aforementioned trauma they are often told imaginary stories by their programmers such as the popular story that they are going "over the rainbow" while they are disassociating. I only mention this because in both The Brain and The Heart videos Lady Gaga is going on and on about her "Pop" eating her heart and swallowing her brain. This could represent a story told to keep Gaga's "Candy" alter at ease and under control and it becomes a useful explanation to that alter as to why she is behaving in such a heartless and empty headed fashion (ate my heart, swallowed my brain). The man behind her appears to be having her repeat the story to him in order to make sure she is still fully convinced that the story is real and therefore still under control. This may sound strange to someone who has never researched mind control but off the wall stories like this are fed to mind controlled multiples. Some victims even believe they are animals such as cats while under their trauma induced altered state.

Later on in the video she says she feels free now that Pop has ate her heart. This is yet another reminder of mind control as victims believe they are "free" while in their altered state. Many are "thrown from the freedom train" (killed) at the age of 30. I'm not saying Lady Gaga will be killed at the age of 30; I'm just using the freedom train reference to show that trauma induced disassociation is seen as freedom to programmers and therefore to those programmed as well.

Lady Gaga also attened the Convent of the Sacred Heart, an all girls private school on the Upper East Side of New York. Other famous alumnae include Paris and Nicky Hilton. This is a far cry from the story that the media is trying to feed that Lady Gaga was this struggling musician with no money that rose to stardom out of pure luck.

The Convent of the Sacred Heart reminds me of a documentary I posted a while back (click here to check it out) about Catholic sacred heart iconography and it's ties to ancient worship in which the heart was sacrificed to various Gods. This documentary may become useful when I return to discussing religious iconography later on in this post.

The references to hearts in Lady Gaga's work continues to come up as recently she teamed up with Dr. Dre to promote a new line of headphones called Heartbeats. Also, in a strange connection, there was recently a story about a photog dying of a heart attack while shooting Lady Gaga at a recent event. Like the Hermaphrodite stories, I believe the story was a hoax considering it was not reported by any legitimate news sources, only celebrity gossip blogs. I am convinced that Gaga and her people are propagating many of these stories. Remember her idol is David Bowie who was notorious for leaking many off the wall stories to the press in order to heighten his mystique and build a myth around his legacy.

If she only had a heart...

David Bowie with his band Tin Machine in 1989

Our Lady also hooked up with the Tin Man himself, Kanye West, to form the now canceled Fame Kills tour. During his 808 & Heartbreaks album, a symbol of a broken heart was a huge part of his albums art work and videos. The album itself featured West's computerized vocals as well as electronic beats heightening the tin man connections.

The Sex Slave

Recently the music video for Lady Gaga's current single "Bad Romance" premiered and all hell broke loose. Websites such as Livejournal and Twitter crashed due to the large number of people interested in viewing and commenting on the video. Recently the time and effort put into music videos such as the recent Rihanna video that I posted on has decreased due to the lack of airplay videos recieve and so people's expectations are low. Because of this people freaked out at the sight of a new pop music video that actually featured a story line.

Before the music video premiered Lady Gaga revealed information regarding the storyline to the press. In an article posted by MTV.com Gaga revealed "There's this one shot in the video where I get kidnapped by supermodels. I'm washing away my sins and they shove vodka down my throat to drug me up before they sell me off to the Russian mafia."

The quote above sparked my interest in this video considering the previous mind control and Monarch sex kitten themes in Lady Gaga's work. The fact that her next video would blatantly present her as a sex slave added more weight to my stance on the mind control themes present in her work.The video starts by showing coffins. Don't feel bad if you did not originally connect this scene to coffins. Apparently this style of coffin was used in the popular television show True Blood. I've never seen the show so I had no idea.True Blood

It makes sense that they would be coffins because, as I've mentioned, the theme for this era in Gaga's career is monsters and monsters such as the Bride of Frankenstein are made from dead bodies.The monsters crawl out of their coffins and begin dancing.
Gaga's dark alter stares hypnotically in the mirror. I'm sure I don't need to explain the mirror symbolism to most of you but I will refer you to a MK Culture throwback post If U Seek Esseker just in case.
The models force Lady Gaga to drink vodka. There is clear evidence of mind control and sexual slavery in the fashion industry; followers of Pseudo-Occult Media are well aware of this. If you don't know much about it please do head over to Pseudo-Occult Media and get informed. This music video will make a whole lot more sense once you know how a large part of it stems from reality. The models forcing Vodka down Gaga's throat are already programmed and have been sold into slavery.
When they are done intoxicating her they perform with her in front of the Russian mafia.
Gaga and the models then crawl like cats towards the men. This type of crawling is very similar to music videos by Madonna, Ciara, and Beyonce.
A cat is shown heightening the sex kitten theme.
Lady Gaga is sold to the highest bidder.
She is then shown with a bunch of diamonds. Presidential sex models are often associated with diamonds (Marilyn Monroe; diamonds are a girls best friend; research this on your own).
Goat heads are shown as she goes to have sex with the man who bought her. These goat heads have been in most of her videos including "Just Dance" and "Paparazzi". Of course this automatically makes someone like me think of the Baphomet.

The Robot
Metropolis; 1927

A lot has been written about the pop culture references to the 1927 silent film Metropolis. The Industry series has been very good at pointing out just how repetitive this theme has been in popular culture. The film is linked to Lady Gaga due to her name. Her name comes from the Queen song "Radio Gaga" which features clips of Metropolis (Click here to view the video).

The irony of prisoners dancing to Radio Gaga; art imitating life? Who cares, just dance!

The media current fixation with monsters seems to be an extension of their previous fixation with robots. It is essentially the same story; an artificial person made out of the likeness of a human being. The robots and monsters are both man made creations.

The Hickey Underworld - Blonde Fire

The music video above features the monster theme as people are made out of the remains of the dead. Certain scenes also feature a striking similarity to the trailer released to promote Lady Gaga and Kanye West's canceled Fame Kills Tour.

Unless you're a die-hard Lady Gaga fan, most people seem to be either shocked or disgusted by her yet they can't seem to take their eyes off of her. She has become an increasingly popular topic of conversation; each publicity stunt eclipsing the previous. While people around the globe are voicing their knee-jerk reactions to her latest video I'm just now figuring out why she never really moved me in the first place. Is she really all that interesting or have the themes of sexual slavery, violence, death, and resurrection already been present in our culture and religions? Maybe we've been Gaga all along.


  1. dude! i got on twitter this morning and found this bs[literally lol] britney spears' twitter worshipping satan "ready for new world order" :: http://i35.tinypic.com/2pr8vx0.jpg of course it's since been deleted from her twitter and her picture changed back but that's ridiculous!

  2. Her Twitter account was hacked. It seems to always be getting hacked. I remember once back her Twitter account announced her death. You would think they would be able to protect the account more. Why is hers the only one constantly being hacked?

  3. hey, this post really caught my attention because i'm reading your posts from time to time and i also analyze the topics you present here myself, just because i regard them to be, at least, very interesting. what's most interesting is that i'm in a kind of bi-polar position here, because i also regard Gaga as a revolutionary performance artist in the field of pop-culture. in my opinion, the way she is redifining, let's be honest, dumb pop music is an achievement which stands out of the crowd and finally brings a glance of high artistry, that's now being presented mainstream- all thanks to this one strong persona that she's now "become". that's just my opinion and i absolutely accept yours.
    you may call me stupid, but i'm not sure if there is a conclusion offered in your post or not..i mean, could you further explain what do YOU think in the end of a day?- is she, in your opinion, only spreading the brainwash-serving symbolism? or is she only a mirror to our society? - which is not typically a wrong thing, more the other way around, i believe...i'd love to have your respond!

  4. well I don't think it's so black and white. I've read a little about her and I know she's trained in theatre, a trained pianist, and I know she's been a professional songwriter for a while. I've also seen some acoustic performances of her so I know she can actually sing which is rare in pop stars these days. The thing about her is that I can't find very much depth in her work. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt that maybe it was all just satire and while that's still possible I highly doubt it. She says she's presenting theater in her shows but all you see is a bunch of Britney Spears styled dance moves and high school theater tricks like fake blood, she says she's experimenting with Industrial sounds and you hear the song and it's pretty much just her usual electro-pop, so basically I think it's just all hype. That's why I'm surprised when I see how much respect she's getting from the art and high fashion worlds. I really don't get what they see in her. All she's doing is wearing designer clothes and singing simple pop songs with mindless lyrical content. Pretty much what you're getting with her is just a bunch of songs about fame, boys, and parting with imagery that centers around being absent minded, mind control, and now death. Sorry to disappoint you but my personal opinion is that her work is trash.

  5. Hi! Thanks for your response and no, you didn't disappoint me. I actually think that there's something about the both points of view- partly yours, partly mine. I still remain sceptical about everything that is medially supported to such an extent. I hope that being aware and think twice about the truths that are presented to us as definitive is the only key..at least, in some ways..thanks again!

  6. I've noticed lately that the trend is very much towards the dark ...Jay Z, Kanye, Rihanna, Beyonce, and GaGa. With people I've been discussing this subject with, they all say how much they dislike Gaga and her style/image/brand...perhaps its a fad and she will lose popularity soon due to the shallow themes in her music. Visually intriguing and disturbing at the same time. Personally, I believe she reflects the moral decline of society. Is this what people use to say about Madonna when she first hit the scene? Perhaps this is an indication of the new extremes that out society is going to face this next decade. Everyone wearing masks and purple leotards and dancing around with robots! It will be Beyonce and Gaga's fault!!
    Of course the influence these so-called-stars have on young kids is a serious issue, but it's Friday night and I don't have the energy to comment on that right now!
    Thanks for an interesting article. Keep them coming!

  7. I think a lot of it is about conditioning people and altering the way we view things. Madonna is a very good example. You think about how she first hit the scene and she had these dance songs and this punk image and she was being marketed as the cool rebellious chick. As time went by she started incorporating the Crowley stuff, the tantric stuff, the sex magick stuff and it just became normal. It would be different if she just came right and said that's what she was doing but it was always so subversive. When I look at culture right now it's the same thing. All of this stuff always comes out at once. Have you noticed vampire shows and movies are everywhere now? It all comes from Occult origins. It really is a MK (Mind Kontrol) culture. The subversive use of these symbols and themes conditions people to accept different doctrines without even realizing it. When you see an inverted pentagram with a goat's head inside of it at a Kylie Minogue concert you have to start questioning what is going on. My outlook on it is that all of pop culture is controlled.

  8. Hey Yeshua -

    I really enjoyed reading this post; I think you found a lot of interesting connections between the symbols that are heavily utilized in pop culture. The pictures & video you added really gave interest to your post, too.

    One thing I am confused/concerned about is the underlying message of your post. You point out a lot of interesting connections, but I'm not sure what you're driving at exactly?

    I'm a linguist, so I really enjoy learning about metaphors of the mind, cultural symbols, etc. I think that Lady Gaga is very heavy on her use of symbolism, and that's why many of her fans (such as myself) find her work deep: she takes these common, superficial themes and twists them into something darker. Her stated purpose of The Fame was both to glorify that maddening obsession to be famous as well as to hint at the destructive power it brings. The Fame: Monster seems to delve a little deeper, past the fame-hungry community, into the mind/soul of the individual.

    You seem to believe that, because Gaga is using symbolism that reflects death & grotesque reincarnation, that she is under some delusion when she says the album represents a 'monster within herself'. I'm not sure why you came to that conclusion? Can't the monster within ourselves be an amalgamation of fractured parts of our psyche, like to a Frankenstein's monster of personality? Actually, that's exactly what I read into it. It troubles me that you seem to think she is a puppet to these overarching media trends when it seems to me like she is consciously taking advantage of them and commenting on them.

    I'll take that point a little further and question what your intention with this blog is in general. Like I said, I think your recognition of interesting symbolism and connections is fascinating. But I get the sense that you think there is a secret, nefarious plot - either by the media makers or by something more supernatural - to control/alter the minds of viewers. Do you believe it's the work of the devil? Of immoral, powerful people? Or are you just exploring how different ideologies coexist in people's minds, often subconsciously?

    I'm also highly interested in conspiracy theorists and what drives their mentality, so forgive me if I've misinterpreted you, but I find it slightly troubling that all of your hard work, fascinating though it is, may have driven you to a point that you see something sinister in everything you view.

    I guess...I'm just confused! And I was wondering if you could clarify??

    If you'd like to continue this conversation on a better medium, feel free to e-mail me at CeilingofStars@gmail.com


  9. Hi, Tiffani. There isn't necessarily meant to be a conclusion or moral in my posts. For me this is simply about exploring themes and learning. I think because I frequently post about mind control and possible agendas being pushed by the entertainment industry I sometimes come across as a conspiracy theorist.

    This post in particular made me look at things in a different way and question my own thought process. I explore Lady Gaga's themes of death but I also ponder why death is considered bad or shocking in this context and not when seen in a religious perspective.

    When I questioned the messages in Lady Gaga's work it was not meant to undermine her as an artist, it was more about exploring the difference between an artists intentions and the publics perception of it.

    I was a Madonna fan for many years and when people would criticize her work I would try to explain to them what she was really trying to get across which was often times challenging what society deems as acceptable. What I found was that those messages were flying over peoples heads.

    A common term that people use is "tool for the Illuminati". I believe that artists could possibly be being used to push agendas without even realizing it. Lady Gaga is a prime example. While Lady Gaga could be tackling her inner turmoils, the themes she has chosen are very similar to many other movies, music videos, and advertisements in popular culture so she is still apart of something broader and that is what this blog is about.

    As far as my own intentions, I started this blog because as a 22 year old pop culture is a huge part of my life. I don't watch very much TV but I have roommates and they do so it's still in my life. All of my friends are also into pop culture. It is something you cannot escape. I also discovered that I saw deeper meaning in music and movies that others weren't aware of. This blog is just about exploring what it all means. There are very little conclusions, just observations, because drawing too many conclusions would take away the purpose of this blog. I hope that I answered your questions.

  10. Hey -
    Loved your post tonight. Spent the evening gathering images of gaga so I can show them to some people I know. Her constant attraction to abberant sex + death in her videos is overwhelming to me, but somehow, lots of people just don't seem to notice it. She reminds me of Jack Nicholson's Joker " I make art, till somebody dies!" Tim Burton MUST have foreseen the eventual rise of the Gaga Monster. Very nice work here. Thanks again!

  11. Is it me, or do 'fans' of mind-control or media-control see everything as a dark symbol of corruption...humans are creatures that look for significance in the minutest of things, and sometimes those symbols differ from culture to culture, whether it be bats, blood, the colors black and white ... I personally am a big GaGa fan, the only pop artist that I listen to (I mean listening to Depeche Mode, Prince, MJ, Motely Crue, Sinatra etc everything else tends to dissapoint xD ), but because of that exact facsination, what is she trying to say, what will she do next, what is her message,(plus shes way better than these Britney, Jessicas, and Christinas), something all artists should strive for, a sense of meaning and enigma, of understanding and mystery...the SHOWBIZ ! But honestly to believe everything is controlled by some giant corporation bent on world domination is a bit fanciful, yes everything is controlled by something, but to believe that it is in such as way is just childish, and way to make people who rather listen to 'non-pop culture' things feel a bit better...and believing that will drive people to insanity just enjoy shit and live without a care ;)

  12. The use of the term "fan" to describe people who are interested in symbolism in pop culture is a strange choice.

    You say we see negative in everything but I think that perhaps it's the other way around. It seems to me that YOU are the one seeing negative in everything that WE do. This particular post that you're responding to has no conclusions and instead leaves it up to the viewer to come to their own point of view on what the symbolism means to them. Other posts here are presented in the same fashion. Of course there are some researchers who are using their work to expose what they believe are the evil sides of the entertainment industry but I'm really tired of lazy people thoughtlessly grouping us together as if we all have the same mind.

    As far as the rest of your reply, you may be into Lady Gaga and the MYSTERY and SHOWBUSINESS of what she does but why is it so hard for you to understand that others are not impressed and perhaps don't give a shit what her mystery is? By the way, why are you repeating almost word for word how she describes her work in interviews? Talk about drinking the kool aid. If you get off on watching pop stars, go ahead, but please don't try to tell other people how to live their lives. You can also save the assumptions ans generalizations, they're transparent.

  13. gonna be okay, da da do do do...

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