Opinion: It’s hip to be weird

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman is a newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

This is my fourth semester writing columns for the Daily Kent Stater. I’d like to tell you I’ve grown up and developed a better taste over time about what to write about, but I’d be lying. I could easily talk about hurricanes, earthquakes or even the return of Jim Thome, but then I watched the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night.

The VMAs, the Hurricane Irene of award shows, are notorious for being notorious. Something controversial always seems to happen. Who could forget the year Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford interrupted a Limp Bizkit acceptance speech by climbing the scaffolding high above the stage? Or Kanye West’s now-infamous “Imma let you finish” Taylor Swift incident.

This year’s big surprise was (perhaps unsurprisingly) courtesy of Lady Gaga. The hit-making pop singer has made it her mission in life to push the envelope of sanity. Sunday she opened the VMAs dressed head-to-toe as a man – apparently, one of her many alter egos, known as “Jo Calderone.”

She looked like a cross between Ponyboy Curtis, Bruno Mars and Al Pacino. Rocking a greased pompadour, sideburns, bronzed skin and a Jersey Shore accent, Calderone began the award show with a long, psychotic, nonsensical monologue about Gaga and how she left him and they used to be lovers or some confusing crap like that.

After puffing away an entire cigarette and dropping multiple expletives, the creepy drag queen finally launched into a Lady Gaga song that – to everyone’s disappointment – wasn’t “Pokerface.” Although the damage was already done, Gaga continued the charade the rest of the show, later accepting and presenting awards as her Calderone character.

What might have been more troubling was that Gaga’s freak show antics throughout the night were senselessly cheered on by her many fans in the crowd. Since when did the abnormal become normal? Since when did it become cool to wear slabs of beef on your body (as the singer did at last year’s VMAs)? That’s silly. If I started hanging chicken nuggets from my ears, everyone would think I’m a damned fool. Or would they?

If record sales are any indication, then it’s suddenly cool to be really weird. Lady Gaga makes a living off it. So do a number of other popular acts of our time. Some may say there have always been musicians who looked and acted bizarre in the past, like Madonna. There have never been this many chart-topping ones, though.

Between Nicki Minaj changing accents mid-sentence, Will.i.am wearing Christmas lights on his face and Ke$ha wearing a beer utility belt, it’s clear there’s a new definition of “cool.”

Meat dresses are now a thing of the past. I eat meat dresses for breakfast. Lady Gaga went one step further Sunday night. She took peculiar to a whole new level.

To truly illustrate, the singer’s VMA drag stunt was enough to distract everyone from the fact that Katy Perry was wearing a big block of cheese on her head the entire time. To credit Gaga, though, her Adam’s apple did look real.