the suzi parker files

Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Lady Gaga Pushes ‘Born This Way’; Sarah Palin Backs Gay Group

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Sarah Palin and Lady Gaga on the same page?

When it comes to expanding rights for gays and lesbians, the two powerful media mavens — one on the left, one on the right — appear to share some similar views.

On Friday, Lady Gaga is blanketing the media to promote her new album, “Born This Way,” which won’t even be released until May 23. The title, which is also the first single released Friday, says it all, and the song is already being called a 21st century gay anthem by the likes of Sir Elton John.

Earlier this week, Sarah Palin restated that she supported GOProud, a self-identifying gay group, and that they should be included in this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

Palin, who is not appearing at CPAC, said on Fox News, “I don’t have a problem with different, diverse groups that are involved in political discourse, and having a convention to talk about what the answers are to their problems that face America.”

Her position is a rarity among most conservatives, but Lady Gaga would be proud. Maybe she’ll discuss it with Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” this Sunday. Or perhaps Palin will get a shout-out at the Grammy’s when Lady Gaga performs later that night.

While February was deemed a no Sarah Palin zone (it hasn’t exactly worked), Lady Gaga is about to seize the rest of the month.

No one – not even Palin – knows how to work media, social and otherwise, like Lady Gaga. She has more Twitter followers (more than 8 million) and Facebook fans (28 million) than any politician, including President Barack Obama (18 million) or Palin (2.7 million). She’s a powerhouse who’s already sold millions of records and broken social media and YouTube records. She can make any Twitter hashtag trend in less than an hour and uses Facebook to communicate with fans.

Last year, she took on Washington, challenging numerous politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, during the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” battle. Millions of her fans, called Little Monsters, bombarded Capitol Hill with calls asking their senators to repeal DADT.

The repeal movement succeeded, despite conservatives’ resistance, and Gaga can certainly share the credit.

Like her right-wing Alaskan sister, she generates controversy.

Lady Gaga appears on the March cover of “Vogue” in a pink 1920s flapper wig. Lady Gaga leaked the magazine cover on Facebook, which reportedly infuriated Vogue editors.

Then there’s the dance-pop “Born This Way” song itself.

The lyrics focus on civil rights for an array of people — “black, white, beige” and gay and straight, Gaga says. But she throws in a couple of words that have puzzled and angered people — “chola descent” and the passé word, “orient,” to describe Asians.

“Chola,” in urban slang, describes a negative stereotype of hardcore Latina gangbangers, and some in the Latino media have slammed Lady Gaga for using it.

So is Lady Gaga a racist or simply ignorant of the meaning of ‘chola’?” asked the website My Latino Voice.

On Thursday, more controversy bubbled when Lady Gaga announced that she had partnered with Target to offer an exclusive deluxe edition of her new album, “Born This Way.”

Last year, Target gave a $150,000 corporate donation to Republican candidate Tom Emmer — an opponent of same-sex marriage — in the Minnesota governor’s race. While Target’s chief executive apologized, amid protests and boycotts, the corporation declined to make a donation to pro-gay-rights groups. Maybe promoting Lady Gaga is the company’s way of calling it even?

Once the single was released Friday, music critics immediately started comparing it to Madonna’s 1989 hit, “Express Yourself.” Many outlets, including US magazine and Popeater, ran articles noting the songs’ similarities. Twitter was buzzing about the two songs. Lady Gaga has not responded to the comparison.

Palin, too, is facing a brewing controversy as liberal gay rights advocacy groups refuse to acknowledge her support of conservative gays.

Any hullabaloo is only good for Lady Gaga and Palin.

For now, Lady Gaga is blasting ahead full throttle with her enterprises — she recently became Polaroid’s creative director, co-designing a product line that includes an instant mobile printer, an instant digital camera and the “GL20 Camera Glasses” — still wearing the crown of reigning diva of the gay community.

Palin, ever smartly, could become a trailblazer by including gays and lesbians in the GOP dialogue just in time for 2012.

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Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 3:44 am

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