Lady Gaga
Credit: Josh Olins

Lady Gaga is giving James Franco some serious competition as pop culture’s greatest multi-tasker.

She’s the creative director for Polaroid. She’s accepted an internship with Princess Eugenie’s hat-maker Philip Treacy. She’s exchanged tweets with Harry Reid about ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Oh, and she’s the biggest pop star on the planet. (She’s even ahead of me in my Star Wars reading!)

Her latest venture? Magazine columnist. The new issue of glossy mag V features a Gaga-penned manifesto on fashion, pop culture, “body modification” and artistic thievery, with more obscure references than a trivia night hosted by Quentin Tarantino and Diablo Cody. Case in point, this name-dropping gem about her early aspirations: “I would dream of being a rock star who dressed like Mark Bolan [sic], walked like Jerry Hall, and had the panache of Ginger from Casino and the mystery of Isabella Blow.”

Just reading that sentence, I experienced emotional swings from disappointment (you misspelled Marc Bolan’s name?!) to concern (wasn’t Jerry Hall’s body “modified” by Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman?) to elation (Gaga’s a Scorsese fan! My theory that the “Judas” video is her Last Temptation of Christ is validated!) to I-have-no-response-to-that (Blow).

Of particular interest to those still obsessing over the “Born This Way”/”Express Yourself” similarity is this passage on artistic thievery:

When Yves Saint Laurent designed the “Mondrian” day dress for fashion week Fall/Winter 1965, did he plagiarize or revolutionize? Some people would say he was unoriginal, that he traced an iconic contemporary artwork by Piet Mondrian, and stole it for his own merits. Others may argue that by referencing something so “before its time,” he influenced an entire generation in fashion that transformed the female body with a more linear sensibility, graphics, and painterly shape. We now call it “mod.” Picasso said, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” … Art gives birth to new art.

That’s a pretty astute defense, even if written with term-paper high-handedness. I mean, why exactly is Gaga chided for covering musical ground Madonna’s already tread? Let’s back up to Tarantino again for a moment. How come “Born This Way” is theft while Kill Bill or Inglourious Basterds is homage? Is it just because the paying public is familiar with Madonna but not with the Shaw Brothers’ chop-socky films that inspired Bill? Or the Josef von Sternberg films quoted in Basterds?

Anyway, though a streak of oblique defensiveness threads its way through the piece, it also has its fun moments, like this description of her old Lower East Side flat:

My studio apartment on the LES, quite similar to many of my hotel suites now (knock on wood), was covered in inspiration. Everything from vintage books and magazines I found at the Strand on 12th Street to my dad’s old Bowie posters to metal records from my best friend Lady Starlight to Aunt Merle’s hand-me-down emerald-green designer pumps were sprawled all over the floor about two feet from my bathroom and four inches from my George Foreman Grill. (Starlight was always jealous that mine had a bun warmer and hers didn’t.)

Do you think she has a future as a magazine writer? Should those of us here at EW be worried?

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

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