Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Young not so easily shocked by Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and their ilk

Video: Lady Gaga
Video: Lady Gaga

So, Lady Gaga, who may or may not be suffering a bit of a dip in popularity, has decided to hit the headlines not by blasting us all with a bit of her traditional crazeee stuff (wacky hats, meat dresses, etc), but by removing her latest artistic work from the public sphere.

In a sort of Clockwork Orange-style move, she's removed the video for her single Do What You Want from the net because she feels it is too outrageous.

Now, of course, everyone wants to see it, at which point hurrah, because, wouldn't you know, a tiny snippet of it has surfaced online anyway.

So now we are all trying to get our hands on something which wouldn't have otherwise swam into the consciousness of the nation, if at all, a) because this single was released months ago, and b) we all have more interesting things to think about, such as England diving out of the World Cup before our Panini albums are even half-filled.

Anyway, the video features R Kelly, a person who has been the subject of allegations of assaults against minors (which he disputes), playing the part of 'doctor', while the provocative Gaga, as 'patient', writhes around on a hospital slab.

Or not, because the mini-drama requires her to be knocked out, at which point she must suffer the beastly Kelly doing all sorts of things to her.

Unsurprisingly, the photographer Terry Richardson is involved as the director. Ring any bells?

This is the chap who got Miley Cyrus to straddle a wrecking ball for a music video that has now seemed to air countless times on TV chat shows in front of horrified adults, who constantly wring their hands and say how dreadful and corrupting it is to the single child left in the world who still thinks that Miley Cyrus is Hannah Montana. Well, I have news for you, horrified adults. Young people are not overly affronted, in my experience, by the likes of Cyrus (who I think is actually rather charming) and the deeply tiresome Gaga.

To them these female icons of popular culture are 'over there'. They are pantomime dames, given to walking around in crazy platform shoes, or zingy little hot pants. They are not part of real life.

People under the age of 20 do not watch a performance online from one of these dames and think "Ooh, I must do that", or "My God, I am feeling affronted and compromised."

I believe that these women and their cultural offerings are simply featherweights on the consciousness of our young people compared to the massive influence of parental opinion, peer pressure and relationships with the other sex.

Having spent time talking to the BBC Three journalist Stacey Dooley, whose horrifying documentary on domestic violence on younger women aired at the weekend, it's clear that the real and present danger to our young, vulnerable women is not silly products such as a Gaga video (which can, of course, be switched off at any time), but the presence of violent, abusive boyfriends. It would be quite a good thing if we could all calm down about commercial confections designed to shock us and perhaps take a closer look at the things which are really affecting our young people.

If the aristocratic Gaga happens to be exposed to this article, which is perhaps unlikely (but you never know), I think she should just read, learn and inwardly digest the following statement from a member of my family, aged 16.

"She used to be shocking," opined my daughter Phoebe. "But now nobody really cares." How about Miley Cyrus? "Everyone thinks she is an idiot."

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