Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga — these women have *won*. They are so crazy, so odd, that no one can sexualize them but themselves. “What are you wearing?” is always the female celebrity trap, and so Lady Gaga wears meat dresses and bubble dresses and makes the whole thing so insanely performative that there is no hope of making thing pseudonatural.
And drag: drag is so beautiful. It gender performance at its most pure form. What is everyone else ever doing, pretending we’re normal like it’s natural?
miley – more wielding than automatically fulfilling the wholesome girl persona, and yet she caricaturizes it. it’s ridiculous, and she seems to be playing a joke on the world
I think now about how Miley Chrus was the default character to make fun of for teachers in high school — and now, thinking back on it, it is so harmful. It perpetrates a form of misogyny. And yet at the time, it was so normalized, so obvious. And so I worry now about thinking about trying to condemn certain things; I don’t ever want to perpetuate something that may limit someone’s development. And so perhaps HB’s approach is correct: positive only, and mute on that which the individual may dislike.
Lady Gaga brought attention to performativity; Miley builds on that by performing those very ridiculous standards she and all women are subjected to: hyper-sexuality, then hyper-pure-ness. But of course, she must perform a caricature in her self-awareness.
This over performativity seems to me to be the only pure way of living, and yet — this seems a hopeless, disheartening path to trod.
Gaga empowers her fans to be what they want, because she understands that none of it truly exists anyway. But she empowers them on the level of personal happiness and not on that of self-awareness.
Has anyone attempted to recreate a complex person in their entirety via media?
What would we discover if we automatically took pop music seriously? If we didn’t need disclaimers?
I an reactionary; I know what is wrong. But I am not strong enough or secure enough to then defend what I think is right. Is that cowardice?
And suddenly I feel that art is no longer mine to appreciate, to love, and it frustrates me that art has betrayed me in this way, and yet it is still beautiful and meaningful to me; I pass statue after statue and it pains me that they are still meaningful to me, that they may be one of the few things that are meaningful to me, and that perhaps this reaction I have to art is nothing but preconditioned notions quietly inculcated in me by another entity; I feel that my solace has revealed itaelf to be nothing but manipulation and I hate that which I cannot contol and yet that which ai cannot control what I need in order to let go, process, change —
The bike wheels are eerily smooth against the metal floor. The city is tinted in soft blue and pink roses of my jacket. I pedal slowly, slowly, so that each push exerts no effort, each push is a glide through lukewarm, thick air. A woman begs for a man carrying a suitcase to stay. She follows him into the middle of the street and pleads in the blue and pink light. She tucks a wet curl behind her ear from behind the window of a cab.
A podcast I listened to earlier today made the hypothesis that pop music is inextricably linked to youth, and particarly the teenage youth: the definitions arose at the same time; perhaps they in fact defined each other, whittling the two into a homogeny of whirling concept to be ridiculed, looked at wistfully, pandered after and trivialized.
Are art and wealth linked like so? It kills me that the art world is so elitist, borne of socioeconomic inequality: sculptures mounted on platforms of siphoned labor and displayed again for the oppressed to long after. But what gave me solace was that art itself is pure. But I question this. What if art is inextricable from its machine? Was there ever beauty there, or was that always nothing but a tool of the elite that even they have ceased to recognize, to see it for what it is? Are they so coddled in their bubble and is everyone else so clueless as to go along with it?
What if wealth and art are one? What if there is no democracy? What am I even doing here?
Personal expression comes from privilege. Development of the self comes from privilege.
I almost started this journal off with the phrase, “for the first time in a long time…” — but I realize that’s not quite right. This has been a somewhat gradual process, an accumulation of being with HJ and living in China with not much to do and now being in New York, the city of my dreams since forever, and now being in it in a unique semi-optional but not permanent aloneness way.
Semi-gradually, I’m beginning to truly realize that life is more the day-to-day happy than the long-term happy, and perhaps that the long-term happy doesn’t exist at all; perhaps the long-term happy has always been nothing but something waved in front of me like a goading flag, always whipped away and out of reach as I think I’m charging towards it. And from there, I’m beginning to learn what makes me this kind of day-to-day happy, and furthermore to learn to actively search for what makes me this kind of happy.
I can bike for hours and be truly content. Rivers, the city, the late afternoon light is all somehow more beautiful on a bike. The wind is fresher. The rushing view is exhilarating. And I get the feeling — no, I’m not even aware of the feeling — that there’s nothing more in the world I could desire other than this: not people, not success, not friends, not family. I know this is fleeting, this encompassingly content state, born from a decent enough day of interactions and the security of the temporary solitude and HJ’s worldview, but the ephemeral nature of it doesn’t make it any less real, or any less sublime.
It has come to my attention that I have in the past devoted significant amounts of time towards gaining a single adjective attached to my being, like being well-read, or being carefree, or being obliviously attractive. I’m not proud of it, but I’m also not yet sure whether I should be ashamed of it.