Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Épater La Bourgeoisie: A Brief Prehistory of Lady GaGa (UPDATE)

Eek! She's covering her eye! Please save me!

It only took two or three years but I finally found an interesting Lady GaGa story. It might sound like a plot lifted from The Outer Limits or Friday the 13th, The Series, but it appears that GaGa (aka Lady GorGon) is channeling the spirit of her dead collaborator, one Lina Morgana:
Lady Gaga, who was then known as Stefani Germanotta, and Lina Morgana had been brought together by music producer Rob Fusari in 2007 in the hopes that the formers lyrics and the latter’s voice could be combined into a hit and powerful combination...

Lady Gaga’s ex-collaborator, Lina, then 19 years old, committed suicide just a year after the duo began recording songs together and creating some good music. Just a month later, Stefani transformed into Lady Gaga, almost duplicating Lina’s eccentric and outlandish style...

“Lady GaGa is holding Lina’s soul and I want her soul to be free,” said Lina’s mother, adding, “I’m doing this because I want to keep her spirit alive.”
The story really struck me, since it showed in the end that there's absolutely nothing original about her. But there is also a tradition of shock/outrage tactics that seems to be symptomatic of a tired and jaded cultural condition. You know, like the one we're in now.

There's a cottage industry of Lady GaGa conspiracy theorists out there, but the fact of the matter is that GaGa and Rihanna the rest of the pop provocateurs are simply the latest (and least interesting) incarnations of performers and artists trying to transmutate shock/outrage into dollars.

We've got a lot of recent examples to draw on; Madonna pulled out the outrage stops in the late 80s when her pop princess pose wore thin, starting with her SEX photobook. Marilyn Manson became a household name in the 90s with his satanic schtick, taking his cues from Ozzy in the 80s and Alice Cooper in the 70s and using the cable news channels as his personal promotional vehicles. But this all goes back a long way, and what we're seeing these days is a glossy color xerox of a collage of old memes. For our purposes, let's start with...


All of these figures owe a debt to the Decadent movement of the late 19th Century, who made "épater la bourgeoisie" their battle cry:
The Decadent movement in literature was a short-lived but influential style during the latter half of the 19th century. It is most associated with French literature, and Charles Baudelaire was perhaps the foremost figure of the Decadent movement. Decadent writers used elaborate, stylized language to discuss taboo and often unsavory topics, such as death, depression, and deviant sexualities.

French literary critics in the 19th century used the term to dismiss writers who they felt were unimportant and merely wallowing in shocking subject matter...

After the carnage of World War One, a new generation of artists took up the the shock mantle, though preferring absurd humor to sex and violence. This was the Dada movement, and it had a huge influence on the Pop Art movement of the 60s as well as the Punk movement of the 70s :
Many of the artists in the Dada period felt that European art was corrupted, and sought to purify it by mocking it. Thus, many Dada pieces are extremely playful and teasing, such as Marcel Duchamp's famous portrait of the Mona Lisa with a mustache. Almost all Dada artwork inspires a reaction, which was the intended goal. The movement was very short lived, being essentially over by 1923, but Dada left a lasting legacy to modern art, advertising, and society. Without Dadaism, it is unlikely that Surrealism and other modern art movements would have occurred.

Of course we can't forget the Wickedest Man in the World, also a great adept at using tabloid notoriety to his advantage. A lot of people tend to forget that Crowley plied his trade as a poet and a writer, which fits him right into this timeline here. Such was his mastery of the art of outrage that he continues to terrify huge swathes of the population, although no one can point to anything he actually did to earn his fearsome rep.

When Anton LaVey became a media sensation in the 60s with his Church of Satan he inspired a weird niche in the porn market- occult or satanic porn. A host of stroke-mags with witches and human altars hit the stands, tying into the apocalyptic vibe stirred up by LaVey, Rosemary's Baby and Charles Manson. After all, if you're breaking one taboo, why not break two or three more while you're at it? Largely forgotten today, the genre nevertheless did feed into the underground memestreams that burst into the mainstream with Marilyn Manson et al.

Cher hit the scene in the mid-60s as your prototypical hippie chick, but came into her own when she and husband Sonny Bono landed a primetime TV gig in the early 70s. Cher struck up a partnership with designer Bob Mackie, who supplied the diva with a parade of increasingly-outrageous outfits, which Cher gleefully showcased on the show as well as in her concert appearances. In doing so, Cher provided a model for all of the exhibitionist, attention-craving divas to come, most especially Lady Gaga.


Newton hit the photography scene like a freight train, bringing a surreal and decadent energy to the torpid, post-hippie early 70s. His influence on fashion photography is still being felt (Megan Fox recently appeared in a knockoff of this shoot), not surprisingly since we're living through a strange kind of rerun of the 70s. Newton came up with a lot of riffs that are still in use today, though Newton was an aberration in that he was an obvious admirer of female anatomy.

Newton's influence was such that he inspired a big Hollywood production, The Eyes of Laura Mars, starring Faye Dunaway. A lot of observers at the time saw Newton's work (and that of his imitators) as a sure sign of terminal societal decline, though his work seems downright quaint in comparison to the imagery being pumped out of the high fashion world today. (Check out Pseudo-Occult Media for a superabundance of examples, though be aware I don't necessarily endorse Ben's interpretations.)


The Gristle arose out of a sexually-explicit performance art troupe called COUM Transmissions and essentially created the Industrial music genre, echoes of which you still hear all over the place, particularly on a lot of Lady Gaga tracks. TG also brought a fascist aesthetic into the scene, as well as a lot of the shock/horror lyrics that would filter down into Death Metal and its various subgenres. They didn't last long, but had an enormous influence well past their original incarnation.

If ever there was a band whose ideas I'd never think would reach the mainstream, it was TG. And yet, here we are.


As lead singer of Missing Persons, Dale Bozzio brought a trashy Times Square vibe to the New Wave. She got her start as a pinup girl (appearing in Playboy during the 70s) and then fell in with Frank Zappa. She and a bunch of other Zappa hands formed Missing Persons and had a string of hits fueled by videos showcasing Bozzio's stripper's body and homemade sci-fi aesthetic. In some ways she was offering a cleaned up take on Wendy O Williams, but was strictly femme to the Plasmatics' singer's butch. It's amazing how much Gaga resembles Bozzio in her prime.

A warning to Gaga - Bozzio ultimately became the crazy cat lady from hell, landing herself in jail for animal abuse and neglect.


Extremely NSFW

Athey arose out of the performance art circuit, incorporating a torture/S&M angle into his art and igniting a firestorm of controversy during the battles over federal money for arts programs. Athey's torture-porn aesthetic is referenced in Gaga's 'Bad Romance' video, but his work is also rife with the same elaborate religious imagery we see in Gaga's 'Alejandro' video. Like Crowley and many, many others like him, Athey had a strict Protestant upbringing. One of his major productions was based on Georges Bataille's poem The Solar Anus.

Using shock tactics - along with sex, violence, and occultism- is a time-honored strategy, particularly for the semi-talented. But pumping up all of the occult hysteria not only lends these performances a significance they don't deserve, it also clouds the issues at hand, such as the commodifying of dehumanization, and the legitimizing of narcissism and empty signifying through warmed-over cultural studies analysis.

The end result of it all is a kind of ennui- a deep and gelatinous exhaustion that eats away at the vitality of the culture.

We really are reliving the 70s in so many ways, but at the same time I worry that we're also reliving the early 30s. Lady GaGa would have been a smash hit in Weimar-era Berlin; she certainly has a lot of predecessors there, too.

And we all know how that turned out.

UPDATE: Camille Paglia- "Although she presents herself as the clarion voice of all the freaks and misfits of life, there is little evidence that she ever was one. Her upbringing was comfortable and eventually affluent, and she attended the same upscale Manhattan private school as Paris and Nicky Hilton. There is a monumental disconnect between Gaga’s melodramatic self-portrayal as a lonely, rebellious, marginalised artist and the powerful corporate apparatus that bankrolled her makeover and has steamrollered her songs into heavy rotation on radio stations everywhere."

UPDATE: Reader Raj pointed out the superabundance of what he called "pseudo-analysis" of the occult symbolism of GaGa and her ilk, which inspired me to write a few paragraphs I should have included in the original post:
Yeah, the pseudo-analysis is really a much a part of the viral marketing strategy as Perez Hilton. Which is probably the ultimate reason for it- notice that we started seeing all of this stuff around the same time that MTV stopped playing videos.

Occult symbolism is everywhere, which means it's no longer occult. This was a hard post for me to write because I had to rewatch some of her (GaGa's) videos and some of the similar ones, and I just really find that imagery repellant. In fact this was a longer piece but I cut it down, since it really began to bum me out.

It's demoralizing on the face of it, and maybe all of the dopey symbolism is part of the spell- if you think there's some deeper meaning to parse, you'll keep rewatching it but it's the surface imagery that does the real damage to the psyche. And maybe that's the genius of it- everyone pretending to "expose" it is actually reinforcing the effect, making them complicit in the damage it does, particularly to young psyches.
By this I mean that these videos themselves are so dark and dehumanizing, that any symbolism that may be embedded is redundant. It's not as if there are some particularly insidious subliminals embedded into a sunny, wholesome scene- it's all essentially Marilyn Manson redux. The only good thing about it is that it seems to be cycling out again.

UPDATE: Paglia's piece stirring up the usual controversy among the punditocracy. Here's the pro piece of a point/counterpoint, titled "Pro Paglia: Lady Gaga is a Smug Diva who Exploits her Monsters and Gays."

Money Pags quote: “This grisly mix of sex and death is sick, symptomatic of Gaga’s alienation from her own body.”

UPDATE: Leave it to The Guardian to defend GaGa, and to struggle to find some redeeming political message in her narcissistic and nihilistic provocations:
Part of Gaga's brilliance is the way she plays with the darker currents in popular culture, which are hardly hidden away. She's as much Marilyn Manson as Madonna. Yet Paglia gets a fit of the vapours about the "disturbing trend towards mutilation and death" in Gaga's work, somehow missing the feminist statement in the final scene of the Bad Romance video, which shows that Gaga the kidnapped sex worker in a Russian bathhouse has barbecued her punter with her flamethrower bra. Paglia also takes literally Gaga's recent line – that she doesn't have sex very often because she fears losing creativity through her vagina – which surely was just a witty way of saying that men can be a distraction when you're totally focused on your work.
UPDATE: I guess things are so grim in the independent film industry that directors are reduced to making porn and slathering it up with the usual cultural studies mumbo jumbo. Sad.


  1. Nice points, but about the Dale issue, I think that was some kinda Misunderstanding: Her Cats were supposed to be "taken" care of, rather, she hired a Caretaker to look after those cats, but she made the mistake in never checking to see if the cats were alright.............

    Small oversight, but she's always been a Champ for Animal Rights and such a Lover oF Cats, that to have this happen is almost.............


    anyhow, Me hopes u rectify this with an Addendum or "Edit" at the end of this article, and follow up with "where" is she now (apparently, with a little digging, she got back on tour, Strange Life, Indeed, nehS?)

    Btw, just RE-Watch'd INGLOURIOUS Basterds for the THIRD or FIFTH//Sixth Time, hahahahaahS

    Connections abound, especially how I noticed you mention "torture" pron, and I was discussing this with a Friend earlier, with his "appreciation" of, at least, the First TWO Saw Films.............

    also, of note, is the Synch meter went up a notch, when Realizing that the "Jew" Bear, was chosen by none other then Tarantino's Prodigy, the Director of HOSTEL I & II? Yeupzzz, that dude, ELI ROTH...............

    I could barely STOMACH the Conceit of such a movie, let alone, his REASONING was even MORE Disgusting for making the movie.........

    The Movie itself, is harmless, in my humble opinion, though it serves to De-Sensitize the Viewer

    however, I believe it to be HIGHLY Ironic, that this age is SO ABSURD

    The Thing with Tarantino Flix is thiS: It's about Shifting ALLIANCES, Last Second Saves, BetrayaL, Who's On Who's Side, Revenge, Etc..............

    Just think about it: all his flicks have this major theme about Buddies working together, then somehow, later on, betraying one another, or the Opposite: Enemies becoming FRENEMIES in order to Survive?

    Just like Hans Landa, betraying the Nazi Regime, or how Bruce's character in Pulp ends up helping out Marsellus, outta some "honor" Code?

    In the end, the words Lt. Raine States: This just might be my Masterpiece

    That sounds almost Auto-BioGraphicaL, coming from the Mouth of Tarantino himself, anyhow, this ties in to "Shock" & Awe "Decadence" Theme you brought up, cuz who else, in this current moment, is the Poster Child for "gruesome" art but both ELI ROTH & QT?

    Yeupz, from Tarantino, Naively and perhaps Innocently suggesting YOUNG Children to go see ULTRA-ViOLENT "KiLL BiLL" Series...............

    To be perfectly honest, his films are not THAT Sadistic *I would think Takashi Miike, with his EARLIER entries, to take the cake, not to mention, the HUMAN CENTIPEDE Flix, with its AnaL Fixation, which I'm POSITIVE the Flamin' CELTIC RebeL would appreciate, if not, DELIGHT in Dissecting & Such, hahahhaaS

    I hope this counts as just ONE Long, Seemingly Random "Rant" from a Fellow Broadcaster of TRUTH, Freedom and Whatsoever............

    Take cares, and keep it up

    You're finally advancing into the Latter Stages of your EVOLUTION, so to speak, hehS, and I watch along, almost an Expectant Mother, awaiting the Birth of a BeautifuLL Cosmic StarChild, hehS...........

    Apotheosis, much?


  2. Great post! Ya forgot a few of course-
    Caravaggio? Of course half the vatican is full of torture porn art! I was fascinated by all those paintings of St. Sebastian, rape of the Sabines, Saughter of the Innocent paintings, etchings, sculptures. Was Caravaggio at a critical cultural moment? Or did he open doors rather than close them?

    William Burroughs, perhaps the sickest of all, yet curiously aligned with super-sensitive buddhists/sincere christians. He at least was overtly politcal- something most of these clowns aren't, (I love Baudelaire) which from an intel perspective is just perfect.
    Oh I forgot all the rest already-
    Hitchcock? why not?

    When they get it out in print/stage they are probably very gentle in real life. I once knew a shitty minamalist painter who asked my art assistant friend to catalogue his kiddie porn

    I would also send your readers over to the great Dave McGowan for a look at the intel connections to popular culture- going back to early hollywood and getting really heavy by Laurel Canyon. back then just long hair and sex was shocking- as long as it wasn't political. Jim Morrison suggesting sex with his mother anyone?


  3. Excellent post and well researched. I laughed at first seeing Cher but that is so bloody true. There is nothing new under the sun yet we are led to believe the opposite. If there is an impression that artists are 'pushing the boundaries' then real political artistic expression can be suppressed. I don't think she is the puppet of the Illuminati, as I have read,(!!!) but more of sign of how sad (pop) music has become- emptiness feeding on emptiness.

  4. I wouldn't use Baudelaire and Lady Gaga in the same sentence. Not remotely similar. Hell I wouldn't even put Crowley and Gaga in the same sentence.

    It's the difference between genius and b*llsh*t.

  5. hahaha! "And we all know how that turned out." Wheel barrows of Dollars/Pounds to buy a loaf of cheap white bread or MCDee's value meals anyone? Too true... The Rap-sons imagery and word-play is getting much more profound by the day. Is Rick Ross is the new Karenga: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JopHS8Ywihg&feature=related

    But not everyone is note pulling them up on this http://thekoolskool.blogspot.com/2010/08/no-one-man-should-have-all-that-power.html

    Added your fascinating interview with Red Ice to the Eye blog http://eyeamthateyeam.blogspot.com

  6. Lady Gaga - Holyrood - Magick?

    Rood is old English for Rod. Holy Rod. Holy Wood. Holy stick. Disco stick.

    Holyrood - Templar Knights?

    That is all I am going to say about this one.

    Weird how you picked up on Lady Gaga.
    Great post again!

  7. Speaking of dead/undead pop stars, the infamous Paul Is Dead mythos is getting the feature film treatment...

    The Winged Beatle Part One (of five) was posted just last night on YouTube, and includes references to the legend's obvious (Crowley, Burroughs) and less obvious (The Passover Plot, Process Church) occult connections.

    Gaga may be defiling the temple now, but the cheeky boys from the quarry laid the cornerstone. (Without the Beatles' "Butcher Cover" (1966), for instance, would we have seen that all-meat dress last night?)

  8. Kinda scary how much all this stuff is starting to resonate with my life. Gonna need a good ol' break before long.

    Don't mess with the occult kids! It will find a way to mess with you. (too late for most young'uns?)

  9. Hey Chris,

    Your analysis is spot on. The transgressive and the clean-cut are often used to create a dialectic to control large swathes of people. It's been going on for a long, long time, and as you write,

    "The end result of it all is a kind of ennui- a deep and gelatinous exhaustion that eats away at the vitality of the culture."

    So true, my friend. We dare not look with open eyes at the legislation and policy-making that is going on all around us, or the freedoms that are demonstrably being stolen EVERY DAY - rather we would obssess about pop stars and their possibly sinister motivations.

    This nonsense is an old, old story. This cottage industry of Lady Gaga/Beyonce/Jay-Z pseudo-analysis is fuelled, at least in part, by peoples desire to maintain the status of their beloved demi-gods whilst tearing them down a little. Record companies play on this dual function to profitable effect; empty pop music signifying nothing whilst creating the illusion of being loaded with deeeply transgressive magical symbolism.

    Occult symbolism is EVERYWHERE, it's nothing new, and is not always a marker of depth or subtlety. To paraphrase your own words from a previous post, it's the difference between something that claims to be about magic - and something that IS magic.

    If people want real magic, or even the thrill of uncovering deeply sinister agendas then there are many places to find that, but it requires lucidity - our reason, intuition and self-honesty all working in tandem. An illusionist is NOT a magician. We need more clear-thinking of the kind on the Secret Sun, to expose the illusionist's sleight-of-hand, and OUR COMPLICITY IN SUCH THINGS. If we want to change something, we need to change ourselves. That's what a real magician would tell you. Thanks again for your inspiring work.

    Peace, brother.

  10. @Chris K

    but she's done not too badly for a girl that went to the Jesuit run
    Catholic private school called "Covent of the Sacred Heart" in New York (same with Paris Hilton) and says that if she has sex, she'll lose her creativity through her va-g-g.


  11. Yeah I think Chris is spot-on to see the larger context of this current pop icon -- which come and go. Camille Paglia's classic tome, "Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson" would be the book to read on this subject.

    It took me a couple years to read Paglia's book while, in contrast, I was also reading one scholarly book a day for about 10 years, after finishing my masters degree. It's just that Paglia's writing style is very "rococo."

    Paglia's over all message is that Western civilization is inherently homoerotic -- and is driven by the commodity fetish. So the males try to impress the females with the Edifice Complex -- huge phallic structures -- but Mother Nature remains unmoved. haha.

    Paglia attributes this power of Nature to the "Fourth Eye" of the Femme Fatale which ultimately conquers the homoerotic repressed males with their decadence obsession. Paglia is lesbian but she also says she's like a nun! haha. So Paglia says if females want to find the truth they need to sublimate their sex energy.

  12. Wow, another amazing post. Keep it coming! You're making my brain explode.

    This one brought back something I thought years ago.

    I never much liked "goth" culture. Not because I found it too risque, but almost the opposite. I found goth too Christian and conservative. Play the record backwards and it's still the record.

    Shocking stuff that's just shocking for the sake of being shocking seems conservative and old and stuffy to me now. Faux Satanism likewise.

    Want to really shock me in a good way? Give me high art with beautiful but daring themes. It should not be over the top... not more explicit or more daring than it needs to be to get across the message. The message itself should be daring. The set and setting could be quiet and plain and it wouldn't matter.

    I am completely and utterly bored by what Lady Gaga represents.

    Unfortunately I can't think of very much that our culture has produced recently that fits this mold. There was a little bit back in the 90s that was related to rave culture, cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk, etc.

  13. Interesting post and it's great to see a humorous take on the Gaga phenomenon, which has gotten a bit stale in conspiracyland. I do think there is value in criticizing occultism in its negative variety, although with people like Crowley, there is an unfortunate to focus on the more comparatively benign aspects of his writings, like criticism of Christianity or advocacy of group
    sex (who cares?). People get so worked up about this while ignoring the more deeply problematic ideas he promoted, such as culling the weak, support for slavery, misogyny, unchecked elitism, etc. I also think that his real life actions should be taken into account as well, considering his history of animal crulety and having a ridiculous number of people in his personal circle commit suicide.

    I wish there were more practicing occultists who were concerned about this because it really makes everyone look bad to see these philosophies questioned solely by fundamentalist xtians.
    As far as the relationship between lack of skill and reliance on extreme imagery, this is sometmes the case, yet in the death metal subgenre you mentioned, the skill level is incredibly high, to the point where you will not get ahead in that world without virtuoso guitar skills. I think that the prevalence of disturbing imagery in our culture serves a valid purpose, as a way for people traumatized by wars and other forms of societal problems to express and release their psychic pathologies. As death metal philosophers Brutal Truth opine, "Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Release"! But the problems come when this is the dominant mode of cultural expression, to the point where there is no choice but to be exposed to it.(I just placed a warning to the link to my disturbing art on my blog, so as to not be too hypocritical ;P)
    I also think it's important the way in which this imagery is used.
    Extremely violent/sexual art is not necessarily devoid of subtlety, although it often is. It is certainly a complicated issue as we are definitely a culture for which even the extremes of 70s punk are now viewed as, for the most part, quaint and irrelevent for many subcultures. This is somewhat of a stereotypical statement, but I don't think the kind of culture discussed here is going to go away until our society as a whole goes through a serious healing process.

  14. venusinpieces: I agree totally about people skipping over the really negative aspects of Crowley to focus on the irrelevant silly stuff. People tend to do that with a lot of other things too. Criticism of religion and political systems in general are a big area where people do that.

    You wrote: having a ridiculous number of people in his personal circle commit suicide.

    That, however, is something I don't think is that mysterious. Crowley was a little bit nuts, and he put a lot of effort into appearing to be a lot nuts. He probably attracted a greater proportion of people who would have a tendency to do nutty things like commit suicide. So I think that particular aspect of Crowley is sample bias, or maybe the law of attraction.

  15. Well done, Christopher, well done. Have you not seen Stefani Germanotta's pre-drug-addled performance from before dropping out of NYU to pursue her now iconic persona? Well then, do feast thine eyes & ears on her solo piano medley, Captivated (into) Electric Kiss.

  16. why does anyone even think that GaGa, Jay-Z, etc. has anything to do with the imagery thats being put out in the videos? if one watches behind the scenes of the filming of these videos, the artists clearly have NO IDEA what is being portrayed. these artists, like our presidents, are simply the puppets (robots) prancing around in front of the audience.

  17. 20 Aug 2010 ... Lady GaGa moves into a six-bedroom house in the Hollywood Hills.

  18. Rox- I think your comment here is rectification enough, don't you? Feel free to drop some links on us- I'd be interested to see what the latest is.

    And yes, I totally agree with you about the Saw and Hostel films- pure dehumanizing nihilism. As to Inglorious Basterds, I've not seen it and I'm not much interested either, to be honest. I love Jackie Brown and thought Tarantino took a huge step backwards with the Kill Bill movies. All of that kind of thing is really geared toward the adolescent mind. I used to go see all of those crappy slasher movies when I was a kid too.

    Pygmy- I already did a post on Caravaggio in another context. I was more interested in dealing with movements that tie into the rise of mass media, which takes us up to around the mid to late 19th Century. As with all of these pieces, it's not meant to be a comprehensive history- more an overview. As to McGowan, I think his theories are interesting, but there're a lot of logical fallacies there as well. Particularly when you start factoring in all of the rock stars that were murdered or died suspicious or violent deaths at the time. Jim Morrison is a perfect example- he was a boozer when everyone was doing drugs- why would he die of a heroin overdose? Very suspicious. I've read a really excellent investigative piece a while back pretty much confirming that Hendrix was murdered.

    Don- And Cher was on the VMA awards! But GaGa is the product of something much more pernicious than the Illuminati- and that's the stranglehold on the culture by a handful of insanely huge corporations that don't care about content or its consequences- they only care if it turns a profit. I'd wager that maybe one of the reasons we see all the "Illuminati" stuff is to obscure the real issues at hand.

    628- Happily, I didn't.

    Kool- As usual, VC ripped his Kanye piece off, from Andre Heath in this case. You should throw the Alien Project a link.

    Wootie- Thank you =)

    942- Ooh, the butcher cover- good call.

    Jimson- How so? Tell us!

    Raj- Yeah, the pseudo-analysis is really a much a part of the viral marketing strategy as Perez Hilton. Which is probably the ultimate reason for it- notice that we started seeing all of this stuff around the same time that MTV stopped playing videos.

    Occult symbolism is everywhere, which means it's no longer occult. This was a hard post for me to write because I had to rewatch some of her videos and some of the similar ones, and I just really find that imagery repellant. In fact this was a longer piece but I cut it down, since it really began to bum me out.

    It's demoralizing on the face of it, and maybe all of the dopey symbolism is part of the spell- if you think there's some deeper meaning to parse, you'll keep rewatching it but it's the surface imagery that does the real damage to the psyche. And maybe that's the genius of it- everyone pretending to "expose" it is actually reinforcing the effect, making them complicit in the damage it does, particularly to young psyches.

    SE- Interesting- thanks for the tip.

  19. Spiral- Strangely enough Paglia published a piece in the London Times excoriating Gaga and it ran yesterday. So interesting timing there. Her argument is that GaGa is essentially a sexually-neutered version of Madonna.

    AdamI- Yes, goth culture is very conservative in a lot of ways. It's very nostalgic and romantic as well. That's all good, mind you, but its not going to change the world. I was very tuned into Cyberpunk and have done a few pieces on it here pretty recently.

    Ideas don't die, and they have a funny way of rejuvenating themselves when the times call for it. So don't count Cyberpunk out, particuarly the Gibson strain which is very much tied to the ancient Mysteries via Vodoun and Santeria. Cyberpunk is inherently Gnostic as well.

    Keep that brain intact! We need all brains on deck.

    436- Great link- cheers.

    Venus- Well, a lot of death metal comes from a part of the world with the highest living standards on earth, so I don't know if accept the argument Brutal Truth put forward. And yes, there is a lot of manual dexterity, but that doesn't always translate into real musical talent. It's the classic case-by-case basis trope.

    As to Crowley, he seemed to pose a danger to those around him, via his malign and domineering personality, certainly. But there's been a lot worse, some of whom are seen as heroes. I'm not a fan of the guy, so maybe I should pass along the topic to someone else. AdamI makes an excellent point- the guy was pretty wacked out and tended to attract some marginal characters and they all got together and did their best to do their heads in. So no surprise there

    Anadae- Cheers- and thanks for the link.

    Anonymous- Very much agreed, but we're using GaGa as a shorthand for her handlers and directors and stylists, as well as the artist.

  20. This Posting is really about a core running through Christianity since Jesus had his victory over the Baptist (the John you write about well). I was amazed with the juxtiposition of Crowley with Lady Gaga's control/slavery of Lina's Soul here with Lina's Mother pleading for it's release. Take one of our favorite author teams Pinknett & Prince, and their claim that Jesus was a member of a Ceramonial Majick Trad from Egypt that could enslave the souls of people who died in traumantic ways; execution, murder, or sucide. Namely the Baptist, is Lina the "baptist" of Industrial and Hip Hop Music? A thought question!

  21. Chris, I see what you mean about how this imagery can be damaging to the psyche, but I beg to differ about the prevalence of death metal in 3rd world countries. Actually it is huge in Latin America and Asian countries as well. The Latin American scene in particular has some of the greatest musical content out there and the musicians tend to be a bit more dedicated to the scene than we are here in America. Check out the website metal-archives.com, which has a comprehensive list of bands organized by country. You can see that underground metal is truly one of the most internationally distributed genres in existence. On top of that, in the US, most extreme metal fans come from the working class who is all too aware of how the common people have been screwed over and dehumanized by mega-corporations, a theme that crops up in the music again and again. This isn't meant to discount the possibility of desensitization by the media, because it certainly does happen.
    I just think it's a bit more complicated than the idea that it is all the coordinated plot of the music industry since, at least in the underground metal genre, much of the most extreme content is distributed by tiny independent labels.
    Is art a reflection of cultural norms or does it create those norms? I think it's a bit of both and to a certain extent it depends on the way the content is used, as well as its interpretation by the audience.

  22. Anyways, you really took the words out of my mouth with this one.
    "if you think there's some deeper meaning to parse, you'll keep rewatching it but it's the surface imagery that does the real damage to the psyche. And maybe that's the genius of it- everyone pretending to "expose" it is actually reinforcing the effect, making them complicit in the damage it does, particularly to young psyches."
    Although I do think there is a lot more than just the surface effect
    going on as well. I think that celebrity culture is being used as a way to condition people into accepting a surveillance society, so all of the voyeuristic focus on the sexual abuse of celebrities can really play into that if it isn't handled with respect and caution (and from what I've seen from the mind control analysis trend, it usually isn't.) I mean, how many of these so-called "mind control slaves" would actually have an appreciation for discussions about their childhood abuse on the internet? Probably not too many of them at all.

  23. Globeteacher what is to be gained , soul or otherwise with tragic self inflicted death? What tangible benifit could it grant Jtb or Jesus? Raj again you resonate with my take on this matter. Chris your output of interesting and poignant material is getting much attention. What fun. To hear some of the gangster rap and Gaga speak is not all that different from David Bowie and Black Sabbath in the day. Our decadent society is always somewhat evil in nature. The backbeat of Cashmere by Zepplin comes to mind. Embrace the darkside of ones nature, so one can sense the beauty of our existance. Two sides to every smile. Dennis

  24. The DJs on the local "alternative" station this morning were telling people "to Google Lady Gaga or Jay Z and illuminati" so ... yeah...

    Marx says in The Eighteenth Brumaire, "Hegel remarks somewhere[*] that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce...
    Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language."

  25. Chris -- that's quite the synchroncity -- that I invoked Camille Paglia -- to be honest I've never even HEARD Lady Gaga. haha.


    Yeah I am just discovering Ellen Page right now -- she's way into Democracynow and alternet.org and Ellen Page is in the 2012 documentary -- with Pinchbeck -- and Ellen Page reads Pinchbeck's books plus Jeremy Narby and David Suzuki.

    Ellen Page promotes the Yes Men Fixing the World doc on her facebook page. haha. Plus she narrates the latest Colony Collapse Disorder doc on bees. Ellen Page did a permaculture training for a month last summer in Eugene Oregon and she drives a Smartcar. haha. Ellen Page did a Free Burma video and she promotes veganism and labor rights.

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. I was going to say that Thomas Jerome Newton's '76 camelhair/ bronze fedora at the end of TMWFTE(the credits roll over it in fact) looks a lot like Rene Auberjonois' '78 fedora in TEOLM... and wonder if TJNewton was related to Helmut Newton(the apple don't fall far from the tree)but TJN was named by Walter Tevis in '62, so, just a sync. Laura Mars likewise with Spiders from Mars. I loved the clothes in TEOLM... men's suits that were like stretchy sweater-material... I bought a suit like that at Alexander's in downtown Brooklyn... gunmetal-grey-and-cream slip-on spactator shoes from Florscheim... men's clothes were getting very bizarre but as soon as Reagan took over all that went out of style.

  28. It is Wottie as in - the wotty wot wots. Which you probably won't have seen. ;)

  29. Oops. Just realized I didn't explain myself too well in the previous post. what I meant is that the *lack of privacy* experienced by celebrities is seen as something glamorous, as if having the paparazzi breathing down your neck is a sign of success and status. Now everyone is a celebrity via youtube, reality TV, myspace and endless other social media sites. It definitely seems like lack of privacy is becoming the new social standard, what with the way google and facebook can literally track your every move. This invasion of what was formerly personal space can transition us into accepting greater violations of privacy, like unchecked govt. databases and the ubiquitous surveillance camera. Why don't any of the tabloids ever get served restraining orders? It really is a little odd.

    So how does a responsible person who is concerned about themes of abuse and dehumanization in the media handle this trend? Well, maybe by respecting celebrities privacy, to start with! At this point, there are enough people, like Roseanne Barr and Mariah Carey, who have openly discussed their history of abuse within the industry, that MK bloggers don't even really need to go digging through celebs dirty laundry for juicy details. Of course, even then it is important to treat those people with respect and not as items for gossip, lest one participate in the further exploitation of people who have likely already had every aspect of their personal lives put on display like a science experiment. imho.

  30. and this kind of thing can happen...


    and nobody notices - too busy soaking up the trash that is produced to see through it. Mind control via frequencies?

    Albert Einstein once said, “Everything in Life is Vibration.” Einstein knew that everything in the universe emits a unique frequency, and this frequency not only effects its surrounding environment, its energy carries on in time and space and can effect things even at great distances.

    So if you have to listen to it - keep it down please!

  31. Sidenote: This is an interesting article describing what you see on the mainstream blogs and sites- trolls using comment sections to continue the war on rational public discourse:


    Believe me when I say that I really appreciate you guys out there. Even if I don't always agree with everything everyone says (which would be boring as hell anyway), I really value the fact that this blog is an oasis of ideas in a desert of juvenile internet acting-out.

  32. Weren't the Beatles first with the meat stunt? Remember "the Butcher album". And if I recall it was baby parts and meat. Will the 20th century ever end?

  33. You know, try as I might, I just can't seem to find a reason to dislike Lady Gaga without sounding petty.

    She's talented, creative, and genuinely enjoys performing [so many artists these days tour out of obligation; be it money or contracts].

    & there's this tongue-in-cheek vibe she gives off during even her most outrageous stunts. It's nothing pretentious, just for fun.


    “Empty pop music signifying nothing whilst creating the illusion of being loaded with deeply transgressive magical symbolism?”

    ...as a music writer, your post made me feel somewhat ashamed.

    Everything I do is just...pretty nonsense.

    It's all about aesthetic.

    Although I wouldn't say the music industry is profiting.

    Here's a quote analyzing why Lady Gaga wore meat to the VMAs:

    "I think it's also a commentary on the music industry - no-one buys music anymore, everyone downloads these days, so the only thing about her that has any value is her appearance and what she's wearing."

    Following in Lady Gaga's footsteps, many artists are trying [are pushed by their managers?] to market themselves as these fascinating enlightened individuals. Concerts = religious experiences.

    ...you know, that's a smart way to deter illegal downloading.

    "Everytime you steal a song you slowly create the Anti-Christ"

  34. You know, everyone just about added everything I wanted to comment on.

    I have never felt as lukewarm as I do about Lady Gaga, there's nothing new here. Regarding another posters comments, there's nothing new that is going on with politics that we haven't seen before, everything that is playing out occurred at the start of the 1900s with the American Robber barons. What is amazing is the selective Amnesia that is occurring with politics and pop culture, it just astonishes me.

    I tried sitting through Saw and I did it, but I just could not sit through Hostel, and I have seen a fair share of horror that just doesn't faze me, but I saw no point in either film. Roth can rationalize all he likes, but it just didn't connect with me.

  35. http://www.tmz.com/2009/11/13/missing-persons-singer-finds-herself-in-jail/

    Read the 10th Commenter, I tend to agree, she needs help

    But for the life of me, I can't find the link, perhaps I was "reaching" for it, Psychically, which I tend to do...............

    Anyhow, I've had "nommo" dreams lately, VERY VIVIDLY, Syncing under water, with the ability to Rise back up, and I could LITERALLY FEEL a weight pressing down on me as I descend, but then, alas, I reverse the Claustrophobic feeling of being AWARE that I'm dreaming, my Sub-Conscious mind, trapped inside, and unable to awake, untiL I manually, calmly, Summon mySelf, thru wiLL power alone, to WAKE into ConsciousNeSS, hehS

    I don't know, but I just wanted to share that, and another "sync"

    I remember listening a few days back to one of the Celt's Rants about the Pron Industry, something about how H. Stern knows that most PRON-STars were SexuaLLy-abused as kids, and how, MOST Likely, Mr. Morpheus from the Matrix himself, aka Laurence Fishburne, perhaps abused his Daughter, Montana, as evidenced by her "chosen" Career as Pron Star............

    Why this is relevant?

    Another "Sync":

    The other day, I catch on some news Gossip Magazine Show

    Pron Stars making a CROSS-OVER into Regular Acting Gigs?

    Like Sasha Grey? Who was featured as a Lover of one of those ENTOURAGE dudes, as you can tell, not a fan of that show, and after reading Celt's blog, I now understand why: More Predictive Programming, hahahahaS

    I'd rather WATCH Queer as FOLK:

    AT least that show is ADVERTISING up front what it's about, and it actually has believable REAL Relationships, and the Complications therein, instead of "Closet" Homos masquerading as "hetero" hehS.................

    Here's a buncha pix:


    She was also featured on that Evening Magazine Show.............

    Uh, kinda weird: Don't Children of ACTORS & ACTRESSES tend to wanna go DIRECTLY into Film & Acting and such? And not, say, LIKE PRON?

    HahahahaS, weird indeed...........

    Slimy & Disgusting, btw, I also note:

    Whenever I READ any of VC's posts, I never felt like he was ACTUALLY doing anything BENEFICIAL

    I've long SUSPECTED as you've just recently concluded, that he's ACTUALLY Honoring & Pushing their AGENDA Moreso, by Featuring it, and Dissecting it.................

    He's working for the Opposition, that SUPPOSED RebeL, not a Vigilant CitiZen, AFTER ALL, hahahahS................

    ALL I can say is, the Celt has SUCH an affinity for "anus" that he SMELLS it out, with SUCH aplomb, that everything he TALKS about is about ANAL or whatnot..........

    I just kinda wish he'd go in a NEW Direction hahahahahaS

    Not to mention, whenever someone, or even the Celt, starts talking as though he's the ONLY One with any sense, I just feel like Smacking the SHIT outta him, to get him to realize, NO, there are INTELLIGENT Folks out there, just talk to your Audience as though we UNDERSTAND you, cuz we DO...........

    We're not dumbass Mother-------

    We get it, you're not the only one, though you may have a knack for DETECTING BULLSHIT, it's true, he breaks it down so weLL

    Sorry, is this a rant?

    Nope, just aLL Connected, hahahaS

  36. The reason I mention those two Bloggers is because, VC, for shure, is USELESS, and is COUNTER-intuitive & Damaging, as you've stated so Elegantly, while the latter, RebeL, is redeemable, if only he'd LIGHTEN UP, hahaha, which he has, shown signs of Improving, bwahahahahaS, though, to be HONEST, I don't think I agree w/his Perhaps Honest feelings on the matter, that NO, if you "fuck" a gurL, and enter her "heart" you do NOT OWN HER, siriusly.............where in the F--- do you get that idea?

    hahahahaha, I say this in jest, because it's so ridiculous, but lately, he's getting the message:

    Getting to know a person is infinitely MORE important, and Developing Lasting Relationships are more Valuable than just MEANINGLESS "entry" cuz guess what?

    It's over after that.............

    Just like this WHOLE "obsession" with the CarnaL Act, it's over and done...........

    This whole "flesh" obsession is really Ridiculous, just understand, gaining entry is a PRIVILEGE, not a RIGHT, and no one is to be treated as PROPERTY or Slaves, there is none of that in the PLACE we are building, not on my watch, ahahahaS

    Also, I'll be even STRANGER:

    I have the ability to manipulate others, on a Subtle & Small scale, to the point that their Evolution will benefit Mankind.............

    Not to mention, themselves

    And we wiLL all EVOLVE & Grow...........

    And it's TRUE: My Predecessor was a Necro-Monger.............

    He could somehow harness an Army of UNDEAD, i.e. Aragorn in the Return of the King................

    Resurrecting SouLS?

    Yesh, JC has many aliases and incarnations, and I may be one Such Emanation, Soul Shard, Clone, Newbie SouL, relatively young, less than a thousand years old, but I've traces of my Former Lineage within me, and soon, everyone will be aware of their Latent Psychic abilities................

    The ability to Perceive will go beyond SIGHT................

    It's more MENTAL Clarity and Depth of Psychic Array, you'll be able to Reason & Discern, with no Hesitation or hang ups

    Anything is possible, and it already is..............

    We are already able to Psychically Link up, via "invisible" Air waves, here thru Tech-Magic

    But, when we TURN on the TV, are WE watching IT, or is it a PORTAL into OUR HOMES, and the SHOWS are Really MONITORING US? The individuals within the BOX, it tells US what to do?

    But do we wise up, go on a MEDIA fast, to DE-PROGRAM, and RE-Humanize Our SOULS?

    In FX, Super-ReCharging our ELEMENTAL Awareness & NaturaL Defenses against this Media Juggernaut that is meant to Paralyze us with FALSE fears of FLUS that don't EXIST to SELL their Government approved h1n1 Vaccines?

    I'm sorry, but I have to share with you this INFO at this time, because the ONCOMING future is NIGH, and we must be Prepared for the NEW Wave of GUERILLA Warfare: the age of the INFOtainment WARS...............

  37. The age where we, as the Majority Populace Citizenry are Engaged in OLDSKOOL warfare is over................

    Old relix will fight the PHYSICAL Plane, while the new war, is a SPIRITUAL Bent..............

    We win, by default, thru our Resilience and ability to see thru the Masquerade.................

    No more "worship" of ANY ONE IndividuaL: We have the Capacity & WE are the Saints & SINNERS

    We are the Mages, the Neuromancers who have forgotten our TRUE POWERS

    The ability to AFFECT INFLUENCE over others...............

    To merely COMMUNICATE by acting as a Psychic Beacon, that Super Charges and ELEVATES everyone elses abilities, acting as a Psychic TUNING Fork, able to Raise everyone elses powers, just by Proximity...............

    I may sound REDUNDANT, but a Wise Old Friend once stated:

    Repetition is the MOTHER oF SKILL

    InDeeD, it shaLL Come to PaSS:

    The HOLY War we SEEK, is one on the Psycho-SpirituaL Spectrum.........

    And Reality is merely Multi-DimensionaL, Layer'd Existence, which our Current "ModeL" is Limited in its Scope to Perceive, but thru Clarity & StiLLnESS of the mind, Clearing the Psychic Space, wiLL allow one to SEE without "SEEING"................

    Back to KNOWING...............

    Immediately at once, you will understand my thoughts and feelings, and WORDS will not get in the way, because I will no longer need to BEND the Molecules around my mouth for the Vibrations to create SOUNDS that Reach your ear:

    I merely PROJECT my THOUGHTS, like a Psychic BANNER, and you PERCEIVE thru Psychic Awareness, Like an Invisible VISOR atop your FOREHEAD, located on the THIRD EYE, where the PINEAL Gland is...............

    See, you shaLL, and much greater things wiLL you achieve:

    I bestow you the GiFT of finally having Permission to RECOGNIZE your Birth RIGHT & BRILLIANCE:

    ACTIVATE Your Hidden Shadow SELF

    The one that OPERATES your Body, like an Invisible Marionette, with the HOLOGRAPHIC Perception, but the Consequences VERY ReaL, and affecting MULTIPLE Realities & Timelines SIMULTANEOUSLY:

    I give you the Gift to see other Realities or POTENTIAL Outcomes, and thereby allowing you FULL Authorship, to dictate the Direction of your LIFE, and the ability TO SENSE other ROUTES, even if you CHOOSE Not to ENACT, or act on, those URGES or PotentiaLities:

    And FINALLY, I bless thee with the WISDOM & COURAGE to go forth, and to blaze your own GLORY, without anyone's permission, or your OWN Limitations of Thoughts or DOUBTS

    I hereby grant you: INFINITE Grace & Wisdom............

    May the FORCE be with you, hehS

  38. Globe-Yes, very interesting sync there- the Eternal Return. Has anyone discovered anything details of her death.

    Venus- I think we're having parallel arguments here. I never made any universal claims about death metal- just the opposite.

    Your celebrity/surveillance point is well taken. Witness shows like Big Brother, etc. I hate reality TV, as Secret Sun readers know well!

    Dennis- What's evil about Kashmir? That's the thing about Led Zeppelin - their "occult" mystique isn't reflected in their lyrics, for sure.

    Nick- Yes and the Guardian did a big piece on all the Gagger theories. It's all a put-on, there's no two ways about it.

    Spiral- And she's Juno!

    Ned- Plus, Faye Dunaway in her prime.

    Venus- I think a lot of people don't realize how screwed up the entertainment industry is, and how it's a kind of clearinghouse for mental and moral cripples. It's always been that way. It's much worse for women, since there are so many predators running around.

    Wotie- Ugh. Coming to a streetcorner near you.

  39. Lynn- Hah!

    811- Cheers.

    Nick- 20th Century? I'd settle for the end of the 70s!

    Well, that's all fine, but she's promoting an aesthetic and worldview that's best left to the demimonde.

    Matt- Does Roth try to rationalize? I just see juvenile narcissistic rage in those kinds of films,

    Rex- Um, I'll let you and the Reb hash it out elsewhere. But as to certain other individuals what are we to make of someone who plagiarizes other researchers work, don't credit their sources, deletes comments that do credit the original sources and then turn around and sell their audience to the same corporate interests they're allegedly exposing? Do these types pay royalties to the people they've ripped off?

    Eventually all of you will come to realize that on a moral basis the alternative media is often no different than corporate or state media.

    But as you point out we have inborn tools to achieve our own inner emancipation....

  40. Hey Chris, Regarding Roth, I saw him in a Hostel Q&A prattle off about how Americans are seen in Europe, as well as another general discussion about the objectification of women. Indeed, it is narcissistic rage that's saying nothing, and I just feel that good horror should have something to say.

  41. The only good thing is that Eli Roth & QT both have Helped the RZA on his Script and Financing for his Bloody Homage to Grindhouse Old skooL MartiaL Artzzzzzzzz Flix vis a vis The Man with The IRON Fist................

    And supposedly, RZA had his hopes on Russell Crowe playing some Part, but Mr. Crowe replied via Twitter that he may or may not, and that he wasn't on Board yet, hahahaS, though he did mention something like: RZA is a Good Friend, whatnot

    Don't know where I get this from, but it's like, Sync here Sync There, here a Sync, there a Sync, everywhere a Sync Sync, hehS...............

    WeLL, I'd rather ya'll search and see what ya come up with

    I can Conjure by CoinSyncidence but then again, I'd rather see what you discover, on your Merry Mischief Search 4 da TRUTH............

  42. Chris it is the back beat of Kashmir that fools around with your heart. I am not saying that it is evil, just dark and mysterious.Dennis

  43. I knew that the truth was on my side and I felt fortunate that the jury was able to see that. Rob and I made our agreement in 2005. We are now entering 2015. The journey has been a long one. My attorneys at Dunnegan & Scileppi did an extraordinary job at helping me reach this milestone. I am so thankful to them for making the Herculean effort that was required to win this case. It would be wonderful if the verdict helped other people to remember that agreements are enforceable. Do business with people who are worthy of your trust. Be the living example that your word is your bond. It’s a tough business and people need to be valued for their work.

  44. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it
    seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos
    to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?