Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good for a Laugh

I've believe that a well rounded person never takes themselves to seriously. A mature person knows there are real issues and real problems in this world. This world has enough trouble that I should not take myself so serious. Being able to have a good laugh at yourself is typically not only a mark of good wit but maturity and even sometimes intelligence. Most often a wise person can see when they've done something stupid or funny and will laugh.

In this light, I find it very interesting that Weird Al has posted on his blog that Lady Gaga refused to allow herself to be parodied. I confess, I don't follow Lady Gaga very much (meaning at all except for the reports of antics that the morning "news" shows force me to endure--thankfully with the royal wedding approaching I am forced to endure "celebrity" news that is at least civil, whether its news that I need to hear about every day is another story--I digress).

What strikes me as down right ironic is that Lady Gaga takes herself so serious. So she has standards and draws the line at parody? I mean at what point did she say "this parody has gone to far"? She's a performer no doubt. Her antics border on absurd to draw attention. She's in it to sell records and I don't begrudge her of that. But really, do you expect us to take you seriously? 

It would seem that Lady Gaga takes herself so seriously since she won't even let Weird Al parody one of her songs. Either that or she knows to be true what so many have suspected: she's already the joke. Kudos to Weird Al for having a personal policy of consulting with all the musicians before he parodies them. This just puts Lady Gaga in an even worse light: she obviously takes herself far to serious, and that itself is a good joke.

Now maybe she might say 'My song 'Born this Way' is about a serious issue and parodying it makes a mockery of the issue.' When the antics performance art isn't drawing attention--suddenly we are supposed to listen the celebrity championing a cause? Excuse me if I'm suspicious that it is just another shout out for attention--almost in the way a prisoner has a miraculous conversion to religion in order to appeal to his parole board.

It seems the whole thing is like the court jester complaining when the second court jester parodies the first. Wierd Al has some funny parodies and I had some friends in high school who got me into him for a little while. It's good for a laugh. But this whole thing strikes me as Lady Gaga's trying to avoid an 'the Emperor has no clothes moment.' "No, No, take me serious! Pay no attention to the obvious." One could make the case Wierd Al is the little boy getting dangerously close in his parody to pointing out what should be absurdly obvious.

The whole thing is good for a chuckle. It's a good reminder: don't take yourself too seriously--especially if you have to engage in antics to say "take me serious." As an aside one moral from the story: churches and pastors beware. You can't engage in antics and at the same time say "take me and my message seriously." How many churches engage in the equivalent of modest Gaga-antics and then say "but take our cause serious." What does that tell you? 

Wierd Al writes this:
"My parodies have always fallen under what the courts call “fair use,” and this one was no different, legally allowing me to record and release it without permission. But it has always been my personal policy to get the consent of the original artist before including my parodies on any album, so of course I will respect Gaga’s wishes. However, given the circumstances, I have no problem with allowing people to hear it online, because I also have a personal policy not to completely waste my stinking time."

What is so ironic here is its the professional comedian that we can actually take seriously.

Here's the video.  It was uploaded April 20th and as of today has 1.8 million hits. And surprise, surprise, it looks like Lady Gaga has now approved it. Makes you wonder what she's really in the business for.

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