Sunday night, in front of thousands of adoring spectators who had no choice to watch if they wanted to be at the Super Bowl, Lady Gaga put on a Halftime show that will be remembered until June, and then, shortly before the following Super Bowl, cause us to remember to ask our significant others to remind us about it again. Wow!
Beginning with a dramatic (pre-taped) entrance from the open top of NRG Stadium (the sponsors could not afford the electricity for two Es and a Y), Lada Gaga swooped down on guy wires to land on a high platform and detonate harmless, friendly explosives. With her flashy, high-shouldered silver outfit, eye decoration from the local elementary school winter festival, and the world’s most uncomfortable underwear (which elaborate pyrotechnics later tried to conceal takes five minutes to uninstall), Gaga delivered a rollicking, fast-paced dance-a-thon covering her greatest hits from 10 years ago. Using techno-futuristic sets and a crowd of performers armed with coordinated, color-shifting flashlights, Gaga amazed people across the political spectrum with her mildly pleasing inoffensiveness. When she jumped off another high platform at the end of her performance to catch a silver-bejeweled football and then plunge into a bath of warm money (post-taped), it was evident that she had claimed a special kind of performative genius to which other celebrities could only hope not to be killed by.
Even better than Gaga’s impressive choreography is the fact that I can write about all of this and get people to read it. Just by mentioning a cultural phenomenon that millions of people themselves watched, and presumably had independent reactions to, I can guarantee that several more people than usual will read this headline and wonder what it’s about—a crucial marketing victory that will allow me to up my advertising rates from asymptotically zero to not-quite-a-penny-an-hour.
Even better than that, the fact that I can reinforce the cultural hold that certain well-marketed, perpetually recurring performers seem to have on musical expression in the United States, I immediately gain reflected glory that improves the respect I receive from my own audience. This will, in time, do me no good, but it will degrade journalism.
Best of all, by pretending that I actually care enough about common tastes to write a description of a forgettable, short-form concert telecast, and ironically situating it as a piece of humor in a larger project of satire and parody that is—let’s be clear—not making me any money, I prove to a certain slice of pretentious readers that I, in fact, am self-aware and ironic enough to be worthy of a place in our national infotainment converseplex! Eventually, my newfound following will allow me to support a full-time national magazine of humor and good taste, own several parrots simultaneously, and send all my children to the first year of college!
At that point, the magazine will be nothing but pictures of Lady Gaga.