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The L: In a way, I do think it's important to have something to rail against, as a character builder. Maybe it's more important when you're young...
Amy: No, it's always important. There's always a lot of injustice in the world, it doesn't go away when you get older. And you just have to not give up your youthful idealism that makes you think you can fight it.
Patrick: But how do we maintain that and continue to define our identities positively? Ian: We don't.
Patrick: And yet we must.
The L: To the record for a second, though. The last line: "Please don't ever leave." I've always taken that to be you stating the importance of the opposite.
Patrick: Because I'm scared to go into a future where I don't have a legion of enemies in opposition to whom I can define myself easily and have a sense of self-understanding. Our hero on the record has come to realize at that point that he's spent all this time saying, "You do this and this, you're a jerk"—the implication being, you know, "You're a jerk, therefore I'm great." Our hero is saying, "All these things about me are bad, but it doesn't matter, because look what this other guy's doing, so I'm pretty much off the hook. And as long as this guy's around, I don't really need to be responsible for myself, for defining my own personality. I can just look at what the bad guy's doing and say 'I'll just do the opposite of that.' Then what am I really doing? I'm just getting caught in all kinds of po-mo paradoxes... getting blurred into a house of mirrors." So the question is, how do we continue to fight injustices, like Amy says, which is obviously super important.
Amy: You make art about it, just like Lady Gaga!
Patrick: That's not what she did. What about your other hero, your best hero, Joanna Newsom, who says that Lady Gaga is just fluff. That's probably true, isn't it?
Amy: Let me tell you. I tend to agree with everything that Joanna Newsom says all the time. But then Lady Gaga made this statement about how this video was for all her gay friends. And she didn't have to do that, she didn't have to include Catholic imagery that would make half her audience mad because she's having simulated sex in front of a cross.
Patrick: Didn't Madonna do that 20 years ago? She's just following precedent so closely.
Eric: Couldn't she just be trying to sell a ton of records?
Patrick: She can sell records to everybody now, whereas Ke$ha will only sell to teenagers, because people are convinced Lady Gaga's a conceptual prankster. She's just the same as Ke$ha really, although her songs are awesome.
The L: Well, I agree: I think that's the problem with the idea of the post-modern pop star. Gaga's the most obvious example, but even someone like Katy Perry—their whole thing has always been being in on the joke, knowing that and placing themselves above it, or apart from it. So we're supposed to then think everything they do is ok, because they're in on the joke, and we don't expect them to then do anything smart. We're letting it be enough that they just declare that they're in on the joke. I think we're not holding our pop stars accountable enough.
Patrick: Very fair assessment.
Amy: I didn't like her until I watched the video today, and then I realized that without having to do anything because she has a lot of money, she decided to make a political statement with her video. It's political in terms of gender and sexuality. She decided to say something political with her music, which very, very few pop stars really do.