Lady Gaga, a self-styled scholar of celebrity who named her first album The Fame and sang a song in which she claimed to “live for the applause,” seems to have had a change of heart. Excuse me while I kiss this siiiiiiiiigh.
In an excerpt from her upcoming CBS This Morning interview, Gaga bemoans the pitfalls of fame—the same ones that Britney Spears cried about, that unraveled Whitney Houston, and that made trouble children out of, like, three out of four child stars years before the ink dried on Gaga’s major-label deal.
According to CBS, Gaga had this to say about the fame:
“I’m very acutely aware that once I cross that property line, I’m not free anymore,” she said. “As soon as I go out into the world, I belong, in a way, to everyone else. It’s legal to follow me. It’s legal to stalk me at the beach. And I can’t call the police or ask them to leave.
“And I took a long, hard look at that property line, and I said, ‘Well, if I can’t be free out there, I can be free in here,’” she said, indicating her heart.
Well, OK. That undeniably sucks, particularly the aspect of fame that so frequently invites stalkers (though she and anyone can and should call the police on actual stalkers, who she doesn’t seem to be specifically addressing here). And I believe that people should find freedom where they can. Gaga continued, though, apparently tearily:
“I miss people,” Lady Gaga, born Stefani Germanotta, says through tears. “I miss people. I miss, you know, going anywhere and meeting a random person and saying, ‘Hi,’ and having a conversation about life. I love people.”
This is ridiculous. It’s is like cutting off your nose to spite your face and then crying about the void in the middle of your head. It’s like getting liposuction and longing for your fat cells.
Granted, one cannot understand fame’s specific oppression until one experiences it (and to hear the famous tell it, nothing can prepare you for it). It’s also a huge part of the human condition to become so used to our reality that it dissatisfies us and leaves us wanting more. But for someone who apparently idolizes Warhol, these revelations are incredibly obvious and late coming (Gaga’s first album was released in 2008).
In 2010, Gaga told Cosmo: “I had a boyfriend who told me I’d never succeed, never be nominated for a Grammy, never have a hit song and that he hoped I’d fail... I said to him, ‘Someday, when we’re not together, you won’t be able to order a cup of coffee at the fucking deli without hearing or seeing me.” Well, that prophecy came true, and at a certain point, it failed to satisfy her—or so she says. An earnest appraisal of the downside of celebrity is, of course, an inevitable part of the public discourse of many famous people who stick around long enough to get sick of what they have and have the privilege of being interviewed about it. With Lady Gaga, whose latest album, Joanne, finds her donning “authenticity” like it’s just another outfit, it’s especially hard to say where the line is between sincerity and performance.
Be careful what you wish for, be thankful for what you have, the grass is always greener, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, etc. etc. How is it that Gaga, a disciple of pop music, missed all of these lessons that flow from our speakers like water from a faucet?