The Machiavellian Mother Mons†er
Hey, so, have you ever heard of this one singer/songwriter/pianist named Stefani Germanotta? You’ve never heard of her? That’s alright; neither have I. Wait a minute. . . .here’s a video of her on YouTube:
She has an impressive voice, doesn’t she? And what a modest, unassuming style too!
OK. So, here’s another question: have you ever heard of Lady Gaga?
Now, what if I told you that Stefani Germanotta and Lady Gaga (aka “Mother Mons†er“) are one and the same person? You wouldn’t believe me, would you? Well, it’s true. How could this be? The two characters could not be more dissimilar. Stefani Germanotta could be placed into the category of indie, singer-songwriters alongside artists like Ingrid Michaelson and Eva Cassidy; Lady Gaga, on the other hand, is so mainstream that she is frequently (and quite easily) compared to Madonna, arguably the most recognizable female name in popular music.
Was it completely necessary for Miss Germanotta to torch her innocence (a visual of this torching can be seen at around 4:25 in the music video of her song “Bad Romance“) in order to succeed as a popular artist today? Was it at all possible for her to succeed without resorting to shockingly violent and sexual videos? Did she really need to wear a meat dress so that people would know that she can sing? Would YOU care about Lady Gaga if she didn’t present herself in the way that she does?
Perhaps Stefani’s recreation of herself into the “Mother Mons†er” (through the persona of “Lady Gaga”) is simply a Machiavellian scheme. Hmmm . . . . well, let’s take a look and see what happens if we insert Lady Gaga’s name inside of a key quote from Machiavelli’s The Prince:
For [the Mother Mons†er] who wants to act the part of a good [wo]man in all circumstances will bring about [her] own ruin, for those [s]he has to deal with [the media and the rest of pop culture she competes with] will not all be good. So it is necessary for a [Mother Mons†er], if [s]he wants to hold on to power, to learn how not to be good, and to know when it is and when it is not necessary to use this knowledge (Wooton, p. 33).
Do we have a match? Has Stefani sacrificed her dignity in order to build fame and fortune, or is she simply expressing herself via eccentric, grotesque art?
Wootton, David, ed. Modern Political Thought: Readings from Machiavelli to Nietzsche. 2nd ed. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2008. [Words/letters in brackets within the quote above are my own and replace Machiavelli’s words in places.]