Because there hasn’t been enough said about Lady Gaga’s new song, Out goes there:
Months before Lady Gaga’s latest single, “Born This Way,” hit the airwaves, we were prepped to receive what we were told would be the queer anthem to end all queer anthems. […] We asked two gay men, cofounder and chief creative officer of Fab.com Bradford Shellhammer and writer Mark Simpson, who fall on wildly opposite sides of the “Born This Way” debate, to tell us why we should be turning the song up — or turning it off.
I try to ignore things that I think are stupid (Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga music, “debates” on the internet, Out) in the hopes that they’ll just magically fade away. Even if they don’t, at least I won’t have contributed in the slightest to their place in the zeitgeist. But look at me, paying attention and writing about the things I wish I could ignore.
Bradford Shellhammer’s “side” of the debate (excerpted below) defends Lady Gaga:
I have been blogging for over 10 years. I have been a designer and an artist. I was the first voice of the blog Queerty and I am cofounder of Fab.com. I’ve been around gay people and I love gay people. I’ve made a career of being gay. And I understand the age-old traditions of “reading” and the need for self-depracating [sic] humor, snark, and “cuntiness.” They do serve a purpose.
How is being self-deprecating, which was misspelled (Out’s publisher laid off several copy editors last year), comparable to cuntiness? And the reflexive labeling (not just here, but everywhere online) of anything critical as “snark”? Stop doing that. Snark has become the catch-all term to marginalize any piece of writing with an opinion, and that’s boring. Also, the fact that you’re gay doesn’t necessarily make you an authority on being a cunt. Having written for Queerty might though!
But there’s a fine line between being a smart-ass and being a jackass. We’ve lost sense of that. In a pop culture world that celebrates violence and superficial, we’ve allowed ourselves to get mean. To attack. It is evident on reality TV shows that no longer celebrate the human spirit, but rather belittle it. It is evident in the political discourse of this country’s leaders. It is evident on my Facebook wall, where one by one many friends of mine have ripped apart Lady Gaga’s new anthem.
I am cool with people not liking it.
No, you’re not. You wouldn’t be writing this if you were.
I am bothered by the need to tear down something so uplifting. The lyrics to “Born This Way” are nothing new. They’re uplifting, feel-good, empowering. Similar words have been spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr., Harvey Milk, Oprah Winfrey. What’s she’s saying is not new. But the generation she’s speaking them to, singing them to, is new. Let’s not forget that.
Lady Gaga wears wigs and ridiculous costumes and belts dance floor stompers that millions of kids sing and dance to. She brings happiness into this world. We need more angles [sic] like her. We need more wigs. More dancing. And more positive influences on our youth, whether gay or straight. The next time you belittle her, attack her music or her artistry remember you’re also attacking an ally and a voice of a younger generation. Your words, whether quoted on a blog or a simple Facebook status update, have power. We’re all born superstars after all.
If you’re the kind of person who would ascribe actual power to a Facebook status update or, worse yet, something someone said on a blog, I can see how you’d also be the kind of person who would unironically equate Lady Gaga song lyrics to Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches. And if you’re the kind of person who thinks that everyone is a superstar (whatever that means) when in fact some of us are just idiots, I can see how you’d also be the kind of person who would idolize a woman who wears dresses made of raw meat. Fine. But calling criticism of some asshole who rides around in an egg the same thing as an attack on gay rights or gay youth? No.