Letters to the Editor
Gaga a-go-go, Figment responds and more
Published: June 15, 2011
Re: "In defense of Gaga" (June 8), I'm not a Lady Gaga fan. I can appreciate what she represents, and don't hate her, but I am not part of that musical demographic. But it was gratifying to see a publication devote space to an old-fashioned critical essay, with perspective, in an age of Twitter journalism. Bill Holdship's essay stands as an excellent counterpoint to Camille Paglia's negative Lady Gaga essay in the London Sunday Times magazine last winter. —Morira Morden, Santa Monica, Calif.
You gotta be kidding
Not being familiar with Lady Gaga (seriously — I love music but don't watch much TV or listen to what is popular in music a whole lot), I launched into Bill Holdship's cover story on Lady Gaga with great interest. I have no preconceived notions about Gaga; I was a captive audience in a hospital waiting room once when, on the television screens prominently placed all over the room, she was displayed as a guest on a daytime talk show, and I thought she seemed like a junkie. On the other hand, I was touched when I read in a magazine interview that she is not at all materialistic (she said the only big ticket items she has spent her money on were for her parents, including an operation for her father). So I approached Mr. Holdship's article with an open mind, wanting to know more about Gaga and why she is so popular. What I found was a piece that was not at all objective. Mr. Holdship did little but rail against the Gaga "haters." I didn't realize so many millions of folks hated Gaga! Why would anyone hate her? Either you like her, or you don't. Simple as that. No? By the time I finished the article, I concluded that Mr. Holdship had written the entire article with his tongue firmly in cheek, and that he is one of the Gaga haters himself. Hilarious! I mean, comparing Gaga to such awful artists as ABBA, Meatloaf, Queen, etc. Way to go, Bill — you had me there for a minute! But if Bill is indeed serious about Gaga's greatness, I can't imagine that anyone who was undecided before reading his article would be swayed by it in the least. —Ken Sauter, Royal Oak
Hatred isn't intolerance
In his recent book, 33 Revolutions per Minute, author Dorian Lynskey insinuates that anyone that thought that "Disco Sucks," back in the late '70s, was a racist homophobe. As though people simply weren't sick of hearing it constantly, as well as annoyed by the fact that some of their favorite rock groups, such as the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart, recorded Disco songs. I'd wager that the vast majority of people back then, both among disco's supporters as well as its detractors, were totally unaware of any connections between black or gay subcultures and disco music; certainly neither were portrayed in Saturday Night Fever.
In his article on Lady Gaga, Bill Holdship totters on making the same argument. Ms. Gaga writes songs in defense of immigration and gay rights; therefore, anyone who doesn't like her must be against these as well. Those who don't share Mr. Holdship's enthusiasm for Lady Gaga are derided as "haters." Personally, I wouldn't waste the energy. I feel that her ridiculous costumes are attention-seeking devices, and that her music is bereft of any original ideas.
But it's cool: He can spend his summer listening to what, seemingly, everybody else is listening to. Which prompts the question: Why does it need defending? Will he not be satisfied until everyone else conforms to his musical tastes? Is there no room for dissent? I'll spend my summer watching what a relative few others will: The documentary of the 2004 Le Tigre world tour, Who Put The Bomp. If that makes me, in his eyes, a "hater," well, so be it. —Don Handy, Mount Clemens
I am the project lead for Figment-Detroit and I just read your piece "Public offense" (June 8). I must admit that I am taken aback by some of the points you presented. There are a few one-sided and false comments printed in your article regarding Figment, and I wish you had contacted me for verification.
I personally met with the producers of Access Art in April to discuss a possible alliance, but no follow-up has ever been asked of us. In my view, there was never a "turf war" for Belle Isle. Instead, I think the island should welcome all collaborative efforts that benefit the city and its people. I see Belle Isle as an arts destination of 982 acres in Detroit.
I understand that there are others who've been creating events there, but it's a public place, and a big one at that. Surely it's big enough for everyone.
Figment-Detroit is about participation, engagement and the experience of art, which by nature involves collaboration and community too. Yes: It did start in New York, but some of the other facts are incorrect. This project is not about outside art, it is all about what Detroiters make it. It is organized and run by Detroiters with extensive histories of bringing art to the city in a variety of forms. Collectively the curators, who are artists, have more than 100 years of experience in Detroit arts.
Through art, Figment seeks to level the playing field between people of all backgrounds and build community. It encourages the idea that we are all artists and makes art more approachable, moving it from white walls to a place where it can come to life by the people creating it and participants engaging in it. It is not about politics or personal egos.
Figment has collaborated with hundreds of artists and cultural organizations of all sizes in Boston, New York, and Jackson — and is looking for collaborators in Detroit. —Danielle "Doxie" Kaltz, Detroit
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