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Comments: Week of April 12, 2010


1. In last week’s issue, Vanessa Grigoriadis drew back the hair-bow on the making of Lady Gaga, detailing the star’s transformation from uptown schoolgirl to downtown avant-garde artist to global pop sensation (“Growing Up Gaga,” April 5). In a link at his Real Clear World blog, Kevin Sullivan calls it the “rather definitive Gaga bio,” and BlackBook deemed it a “probing look at how [she] conquered the music world” and noted that the piece makes “her rise to the top of her game kind of official.” The article was a hit on Twitter as well, praised both by Gaga’s “Little Monster” fan base (“the ultimate magazine cover. Lady Gaga + NYMag = perfection”) and journalists like Touré and New York Times culture writer David Carr, who tweeted, “Gaga/Grigoriadis. You knew it was just a matter of time. A gas.” Many outlets, such as Vanity Fair’s VF Daily blog, were interested in cataloguing the piece’s strangest and most provocative quotes (Gaga’s self-proclaimed ability to have mental orgasms was a popular tidbit). Others found more tantalizing the details about her “normal” childhood as Stefani Germanotta. “Excellent profile in New York Magazine. Really, it is excellent!” exclaimed Sady Doyle at Salon’s Broadsheet (Doyle also complained of Gaga overload). “The most entrancing parts of the profile are its glimpses of a young Gaga, wearing sweatpants, eating Doritos, and watching Sex and the City on a friend’s couch. Now that sounds bizarre.”The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog echoed that, lauding the profile’s “revealing stories from friends and associates (especially from her early days).” Commenters on engaged in a lively debate about the real versus the constructed Gaga—and which persona they preferred. “I’m surprised that this article made anyone like her more,” averred one commenter. “She seems to be so wrapped up in her own façade that she has no sense of reality. It seems like everything she says about her own life is contradicted by people that grew up around her.” Another rebutted that, arguing, “The thing about Lady Gaga that gets me is that she’s constructing her fame on a foundation of smart calculation. She’s making sophisticated decisions, where everyone else just follows a previously established mold, or simply falls into a crater of success accidentally. This isn’t about the songs—it’s about the institution of Gaga, the whole package, which is undeniably alluring, even to this 41-year-old fan of Manilow and Rundgren.”

2. We’ve got readers in high places. Sheelah Kolhatkar’s story on the impact of Wall Street’s gender imbalance on our economy (“What If Women Ran Wall Street?” March 29) provided Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner with food for thought—and the all-important icebreaker joke for his opening speech to the Women in Finance symposium last Monday. “I picked up this New York Magazine article last week … and I thought, Now, that’s an excellent question. But kind of a low bar,” quipped Geithner, in reference to the article’s title. “How, you might ask, could women not have done better?”

3. A few weeks ago, the Daily Intel blog assembled a collection of photographs of President Obama enduring many tours through American factories (“A History of Obama Feigning Interest in Mundane Things”). Evidently, this is exactly what people enjoy online; the slideshow has received 3.7 million views since it premiered. Last week, it inspired artist Dean Trippe to create a remixed response slideshow called “Barack Obama Looking at Awesome Things,” which includes the president gazing on Godzilla, Optimus Prime, and the Fortress of Solitude. Per Trippe: “I’ve decided to reveal the truth, using next-gen image-decoding software I call Photoshop. Call me a whistle-blower if you want, but the truth is the truth. President Obama spends most of his time looking at awesome things.”

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