I am in the process of deciding if I change the thesis for my sociology of religion paper to focus less on Glenn Beck and American Civil Religion and to focus more on Lady Gaga as a religious figure. I want to focus on Gaga because she’s such a large part of the queer community.
It is leading me to ask a question of whether many of the experiences and culture that we share, as queer people, can function in sacral ways. As an aside, I’ve been thinking about the similarities between the practice of coming-out and a sacrament, or for those of us who are more halakhically inclined, mitzvot. Coming-out is one of our central narratives and practices but it is also the case that Lady Gaga is a charismatic figure within our community. There’s probably only one or two queer people that I know who don’t like Lady Gaga and when they speak vocally about their dislike for her, they’re automatically shut down. It’s almost taboo to be gay and not like her.
I think that Gaga is a religious figure in the same way that Bowie could be construed as a religious figure. She has a narrative, a story. She has artificially constructed it but I think that there is a rationale behind it. I don’t think that there is some sort of conspiracy theory behind it. Rather, I think she preaches both for and against the cult of fame. She’s the high priestess of the fame cult. On the other hand, she’s the cult’s biggest prophetic critic. And here is what I wonder. Is she absurdist because she wants to be famous, or is she absurdist because images of her wearing a meat dress make us realize that the cult of fame is absurd. Who knows. Perhaps I am too tired to articulate it at this point. Perhaps I feel that there is some deeper moral or political message that she’s trying to articulate. But this is the inherent power of the charismatic figure isn’t it?
Hopefully, I will be able to conduct some interviews on this matter.