Monday, June 20, 2011

Gaga on Persecution and the Art of Writing

Gaga's first contribution to V Magazine is a complicated text, complete with footnotes, which at once explores philosophy's rootedness in the history of thought, while simultaneously pointing towards a potential rebirth through an authentic confrontation with its origins.  This rebirth seems intricately intertwined with the conflict of "battle," and only invoked through the provocations of (political) persecution.  It is for this reason that one dons "the mask."

However, in the central paragraphs, Gaga questions the very possibility of an authentic confrontation with origins, suggesting that any such confrontation must inevitably be masked, or inauthentic, arising only out of the apparent theft of appropriation art.  Gaga appears to yearn for a cosmic childhood, while keenly aware that childhood is characterized by images borrowed from the past, specifically Sharon Stone's star turn as Ginger in the 1995 film Casino.  "To put it more bluntly, the Hussein Chalayan vessel I wore at the Grammys wasn’t inspired by a chicken. It was stolen from an egg."

Furthermore, as the subject matter of the essay under discussion may be said to fall within the province of the sociology of knowledge, it does not seem wholly improper to note that, for Gaga, the precarious status of philosophy in popular culture is not in every respect a misfortune for philosophy.  The official recognition of philosophy in the academic world made philosophy subject to departmental supervision.  The precarious position of philosophy in popular culture guaranteed its private character and therewith its inner freedom from supervision.  The status of philosophy in popular culture resembled in this respect its status in classical Greece.  It is often said that the Greek city was a totalitarian society.  It embraced and regulated morals, divine worship, tragedy and comedy.  There was however one activity which was essentially private and trans-political: philosophy.  Even the philosphic schools were founded by men without authority, by private men.  Gaga recognizes the similarity between this state of things and the one prevailing her own time.  Elaborating on some remarks of Nan Kempner, she compares the philosophic life to that of a librarian.


  1. Note Gaga's distinctly Heideggerian stance in this analysis:

    "An expertise in the vocabulary of fashion, art, and pop culture requires a tremendous amount of studying.
    Any writer, or anyone for that matter, who doesn’t understand the last two sentences of this column should NEVER be writing about or critiquing fashion or artists in publication. As someone who references and annotates her work vigilantly, I am putting all of you on notice. I’ve done my homework, have you?"

    Gaga holds that the aletheuein of the techne can only be presentified with the "tremendous" effort of the "vigilant." So Heidegger, too, held that the preservation of the work of art requires the standing-within the truth that is dis-closing itself, un-concealing itself through itself.

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