In a Slate piece titled “How Smart Is Lady Gaga?” Jonah Weiner considers the carefully crafted persona of one of pop’s most recent punching bags and ultimately seems to conclude that, you know, she is actually pretty fucking smart. He argues that she’s the rarest of pop stars: an unfailingly pretentious one who has enough po-mo reference points to somehow seem above the very idea of being a pop star, as if what she’s offering is more social commentary than honest-to-goodness mindlessness, because while the pieces of art she’s producing are in fact mindless, the way in which they’re conceived are not. Now, if any regular, non-pop-star NYU kid started blabbering to you about Andy Warhol, you’d surely just roll your eyes, but in the world of mainstream pop music, expectations are lowered considerably, and thus Weiner might have a point. Gaga does seem like a genuinely strange duck, as opposed to someone like Katy Perry, who’s been spouting the same “IT’S SOCIAL COMMENTARY!” defense, albeit without the NYU education in place to give it any real weight. The problem remains, though, that Lady Gaga’s songs are fucking terrible.