Message for Lady Ga Ga - Outrage is out of date
POOR Lady Gaga! My heart goes out to the platinum-album selling, serial award-winning, multi-millionaire pop star.
She just isn't getting the attention she deserves.Park.
I'm not being sarcastic. Record buyers and music reviewers are gaga about Gaga, as they should be. She's one of the most gifted songwriters in the biz, and is blessed with the sort of charisma and marketing nous that keeps her face on the front pages, and her songs in the charts.
But that's not enough for Our Lady Of The Permanent Wardrobe Changes.
Gaga wants to go down in rock history, along with Elvis and Madonna.
Which means doing more than merely composing an endless succession of cracking tunes.
To earn her place alongside those other regal rock and poppers, she has to be the cause of fury, outrage and disgust.
What other reason can there be for her wearing a dress made from what appeared to be raw meat, when accepting one of many MTV awards last week?
Sure, it was a crafty marketing gimmick. Guaranteed to attract the maximum amount of attention.
But the steak dinner dress was about more than attention-seeking.
It was Gaga's bid to be despised; shunned by the easily shocked.
Elvis gained notoriety wiggling his hips. In the 1950s there were genuine fears that his jailhouse jiggle would corrupt the morals of the teenage nation.
Presley's hips were so hot that eventually broadcasters would only film him from the waist up.
A quarter of a century later, Madonna's sensual gyrating caused stirrings in the trousers of young men... while stirring up outrage from the moralising mob.
Gaga wants a slice of that action. That's why I feel sorry for her. Because she isn't going to get it.
It's a different world, now. Outrage is outdated. At least in its ancient forms.
When we glimpse Gaga in a meat dress, most of us ponder whether it would taste better with pepper sauce or an orange jus.
She swanks down a street wearing no more than a thong, and we sigh: "The poor pet! She'll catch her death in that skimpy little number!"
If her heels are too high, we smile indulgently, as though watching a toddler recite the alphabet."How awfully clever of her not to topple over in those things!"
Most of us are willing to buy Gaga's records. But nobody is taking her bait.
Though I do know how she could go about earning our enmity, if only she had the guts.
Lady G should openly admire the teachings of the Pope.
The Pontiff - in Birmingham today - has been the target of the kind of opprobrium that Elvis and Madonna received in their heyday.
Though it's not the right-wing ranters who are gunning for the head of the Catholic Church.
It's those smug lefties... today's snapping and sneering set.
This thoroughly modern moral majority has gleefully heaped bucketloads of scorn upon the Pope, even before he set foot in the UK.
In many ways I understand their distaste for the man and his archaic beliefs.
He stands firm against many of the tolerant attitudes that have evolved in this country.
Attitudes we now cherish.
And his reaction to the child abuse scandal in his church proved he has the flaws of a man.
Yet isn't the liberal mind-set that opposes the Pope in danger of becoming as fearful of challenge as the right-wing dogma it replaced?
To refuse to debate the Pope's beliefs, and, instead, dismiss him as a ridiculous and morally bankrupt figure isn't just bad manners.
It lacks intellectual courage and curiosity.
Just over one hundred years ago, the Catholic novelist, GK Chesterton, published a fine novel, The Man Who Was Thursday.
It begins in a pretty little suburb called Saffron Park, a place where feckless, pampered, liberal 'intellectuals' hold sway.
Into this insular world arrives a right-wing poet who scoffs at the local bohemians' stale affectations.
The UK seems a lot like Saffron Park at the moment.
Smug. Sanctimonious. Complacent. Far too secure in the belief that right-on always means being right.
The Pope may be looking in the wrong direction.
But at least his gaze reaches far beyond the insufferable suburb that is Saffron