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We are all Gaga now.

“[P]osthumans lining the road to the future (which looks as if it exists, after all, even though Dada is against it) need the solace offered by the primal raw energy of Dada.”
—Andrei Codrescu, The Posthuman Dada Guide: tzara and lenin play chess.”


“Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah
Roma, roma, ma
Gaga, ooh, la la
Want your bad romance”

-Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”


Let’s Gaga.


Empty sexuality of all its narrative baggage.


When at the moment a pastiche phase of “Bad Romance” resembles you and we begin to share a “mon semblable” link, a phrase – Gaga, ooh, la la – severs the connect. Only a diseased contact, one that gives us no ease, is allowed.


Let me try something else.


To Gaga is to stuff the senses to the max, the saturation point. And so I am Gaga in response, so incensed my balls ache, so delighted to be disoriented, swept away, so enticed I am open-mouthed and without words. I am dis-eased.


In a state of Gaga you – and I too – can never be fulfilled. You and I will forever ache and yearn. Orgasm is one costume change away, one beguiling strut, always deferred. There is no narrative path. To Gaga is to “Dada.” We can’t begin so there will be no capstone orgasmic pop. If there is no beginning, there will be a future always. Perhaps. You know, where the orgasm is.


So let’s begin.


Let’s “bulletize.”


One:


Abelard and Heloise tried mightily to defer sex in God’s name. He had to pay the price for his eventual Gaga. It’s an age of limited spectacle “Gaga.” Dark, repressed. The disease of your mind. What shunted sexuality breeds is there for deep psychology divers to explore. Whatever. We are Hype(r)(d)Modern now.


Two:


Dark, repressed Gaga needs a release. Marketers channel it into products where no one purchase is the promised happy orgasm so all purchases are enticingly promising. The only future we now know when the world is “Gaga’d” is what marketers provide us. A whole global culture swims like anxious sperm in the waters of “Gaga,” of tight leggings and tramp stamps, Roman sandals and slides, push up bras and fishnet stockings, tight, low jeans and transparent blouses, of Gaga fad and fashion, hot looks and labels of designer orgasms. And so sexuality has no narrative but is designed nonetheless.


Go there and you will find the flesh you seek on endless replay. The DOW rises. Your penis rises. Everything is wet and ready – for yet another replay of “Gaga.” The orgasm deferred is a promised future. The more you see, the more you want to see. The more your eyes shop for “Gaga,” the more unstable you become. The frustration lingers and becomes a fever of desire. The dis-ease remains.


We are at the heart and soul, the fomenting fires, of free enterprise.


Three:


Disease becomes “Gaga.” The most fertile sexual enchantment is the perverted sexuality that remains, the fleurs du mal that vanquish – but never quite – the ennui of a hyper-modern, rootless world. “I want your psycho, your vertical stick/Want you in my rear window, baby, you’re sick/I want your love/Love, love, love, I want your love.” The Lady, like you, hurts and hungers for it. Her appetite is frustrated. She frustrates your appetite. You are mutually tied, you and the Celebrity whose life will replace yours (and you will gladly give it up). Your death is the price you will pay and you pay it because this is only the spectacle of death, the spectacle of Gaga that will always begin again. Maddening, though, that this sexy video can promise but never deliver the orgasm you seek. And this Lady wants bad, diseased, perverted, death-risking sex with you. More the lady for that, no?


History could have left us in a Courtly Love tradition where the closure of orgasm means less than the ceaseless yearning. Or, it could have left us troubadours forever singing like Arnaut Daniel, or reciting like the immortal Cyrano whose words fly to the heart but, alas, never seal the deal for him. . . But what does it matter when we have such words! We could have even been left with the romance of classic Hollywood cinema, perpetual Doris Days and Rock Hudsons twittering toward a climax without penis or clitoris. We could have settled for the fleshless transparency of Audrey Hepburn, a sterility that would surely have pre-empted “Gaga.” We could have followed Bogey as he heroically walked away from the magnetizing Ingrid Bergman and forever after lived in an aura of Bogart and Bergman romance.


Not to be. To Gaga the world is to delete any attachment with any part of history, including its narratives of romance. In a state of Gaga one is proudly detached from any past meaning.


We are all Gaga now. Love, as Newt Gingrich told us long ago (?), was a wrong turn. Or, it’s merely exhausted, like the meaning of anything. “Rah, rah, ah ah ah/Roma, roma, ma/Gaga, ooh, la la.”


Or, what was love has grown up into Gaga and we see for the first time – well, the fifth time after Ovid, Omar, the Divine Marquis and Baudelaire – that the flowers of evil smell the sweetest and that “all bad” in terms of the orgasm is the content we desire. Fortunately, Lady Gaga turns that into something “all good.” More the lady for that, no?


Four:


Back to history where bad becomes our good, when perversion is all that is left of romance, and, that looks and feels good.


A certain decadence creeps in. The moral center cannot hold. We are Hype(r)(d)modern now, call it the new Dada when yesterday is not reversed but erased. World enough and time to start again with a pre-moral beginning. Who here wants an orgasm and a side order of moral conscience? Stand up if you want to go full tilt Gaga without the Hallmark card romantic salutation? It is cool here on the dark side. Take a risk. Be risky. There’s neither heaven nor hell, good nor evil, right nor wrong, sense nor nonsense. Only Gaga. Caution is a condom handed to you by your grandmother and your grandmother will never lead you to bad romance, which is now what you want. Raw Dog is Gaga.


Maybe Gaga will take your life, but, friend, if you don’t lie down with death – as your Lady Gaga does at video’s end – you can’t Gaga hard enough. And Gaga wants you. Now, where everything is happening. Over and over again. Nothing is so endlessly deferred as the deferred orgasm of Gaga, or the deferred happiness of retrieving the spectacle you can never possess, that will never be real, though it possesses you and is the only real you will ever know. We are Hype(r)(d)modern now.


But maybe you can choose to have the bad romance Lady Gaga promises. Ah, without our beloved “I am free to choose!” would we so relentlessly and endlessly pursue our desire to rapaciously consume the world’s body, turn the whole planet into flesh that we eat and empty, let it all empty into nothingness in an orgy of bad romance, a Gaga mania?


Did I say before that we are now at the heart and soul of free to choose enterprise, of a personally chosen personal freedom, of a new Gaga Tea Party orgy? “Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah/Roma, roma, ma/Gaga, ooh, la la.”


Five:


So we naturally choose to take a trip to the city to see Sex in the City II.


Carrie wants to self-design her marriage the way she has self-designed her career, her wardrobe, her hair, her accessories, her apartment. It can’t be done is the lesson here. Instructive but there’s no Gaga because everyone in the theatre born after 1980 knows that the Gaga of “just hooking up” will in no way in their lives collapse into Carrie’s marriage. Her marriage is pre-Gaga. Old school when romance, love, marriage, commitment and fidelity, and orgasm were all loaded down with “historical and moral narrative.” Empty that. Getting off doesn’t need a narrative. Or, maybe just a bad one.


But Kim Cattrall’s character Samantha Jones delivers the Gaga. She delivers what Lady Gaga only promises – the enthusiastic sex romp, the hearty hump, the sweaty tryst, the screaming orgasm, the healthy fy-uck. In other words, the Full Gaga. First, she’s banged hard in bed by a young stud, and then on the hood of the Batmobile as fireworks explode orgasmically in the sky. The whole cosmos is alive with Gaga. She’ll have it Full Gaga, please, which means nothing but the orgasm. Death is never where the orgasm is, pace AIDS. Wasn’t AIDS something back in the day? We are all Hype(r)(d)modern now. “Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah/Roma, roma, ma/Gaga, ooh, la la.”


Gaga in the city then is not about marriage in the city which is, in our new world of Gaga, as dead as history, conscience, narrative, meaning and all else not on your Facebook site. Marriage is the impossible and unwanted good romance, the one in which the un-Gaga past was bogged down. Bad romance in the new age of Gaga takes it as it comes, all prohibitions aside, sexuality finally emptied of every good romance narrative, every bit of morning after twinges of moral residue. Gaga does not call for a review of conscience. The dying do that. To be fully Gaga is to be fully alive. Everything else is laid to rest. RIP.


Six:


If we empty the world of narrative – what we say about anything and everything – we are still caught looking, silent and thoughtless, but still looking. The flesh that looks is owed to the sun. The looking itself impossible without the sun. If we empty ourselves of narrative we are still the flesh driven by orgasm. Narrative, call it history, tames and re-directs that orgasmic desire just as all manner of narrative distracts us from the simple and undeniable prominence of the sun. Gaga is a return to a narrative-free relationship with sexuality, the primal source, like the sun, of all our desire and yearning, and that desire and yearning is what propels our buying and selling, our getting and spending, our profits and losses, our building and our tearing down. To empty the primordial force of our nature, the elan vital of our being, of all vestigial connections, including romance itself, to de-moralize and de-sacralize and de-flower it, is to Gaga the world.


I can, of course, as easily explain and demonstrate Gaga as the poets can explain and demonstrate love. But I know that Gaga does not fear death or the pangs of conscience or comprehend the necessary mutualisms of a lasting romance or ask of itself that it make sense or endure, or, set out in search of truth, or in search of origin or end.


You ask if it’s exportable? Can you Gaga the Koran? Can you go to Abu Dhabi with a purse full of condoms, copulate on the beach, grab a penis in a restaurant? And so on. Can you go full Gaga which is what the moment demands, what the culture has journeyed to? When the Muslim women take their headdresses off and display the latest fashion – in Sex in the City II – Gaga will happen. It’s what they want, even if they don’t know they want it.
 
Penultimate bullet:


Gaga is the new fleurs du mal. It has no conscience and therefore engages in no moral review, but this is apt as we in the Hype(r)(d) modern world have given up reviewing yesterday’s orgasm. Gaga has no romantic roots and therefore can never lead to heartbreak. Marketers have us yearning long past heartbreak. It makes no sense and ends the search for sense with a “Gaga, ooh, la la” that completes the project of “Dada, da da da.” Millennials go to find the bad romance never touched by aged hands, never witnessed by yesterday’s eyes, the kind of romance that escapes all the dead connections, all that history once had to offer, the kind of romance that ends romance. The bad romance Lady Gaga yearns for is yearned for by those who are themselves unleashed from any narrative except what they choose to recognize. The world of Gaga unfriends the dead past. More the lady for that, no? “Gaga, ooh, la la.”
 
Final bullet:


This is the Gaga Manifesto, pace Dada.

Joseph Natoli has written about postmodernity, popular culture and politics in numerous books and articles. His first e-book, Occupying Here & Now: The New Class Warfare (January 2012), is available on Amazon Kindle. Links to all his writing can be found at www.josephnatoli.com


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