There was something sort of sweet about Republican contender Tim Pawlenty’s admission last week that he’s fond of Lady Gaga, particularly the acoustic rendition of “Born This Way” from her HBO concert movie:
But however charming I find the Minnesota candidate’s confessed affinity for the pop phenomenon who’s also been one of the more politically active and effective celebrities of recent years, it’s entirely predictable that Republican commentators are jumping all over Pawlenty for it. Specifically, Laura Ingraham took to the airwaves this morning to declare that it was “idiotic” for Pawlenty to say he likes Gaga because both she and Rihanna are contributing to “cultural decay” in America.
If by “cultural decay” Ingraham meant a death of creativity, she has a point. “Born This Way” has clear and much-remarked upon similarities to Madonna songs. And David LaChapelle and Philip Paulus are suing Rihanna for ripping off their fashion photography for the video for “S&M,” the song that has Ingraham in a snit:
But freighting two 20-something pop queens with the downfall of American society? Not hardly. Gaga’s music is full of a deep skepticism about sex. In her personal life, she’s said that she didn’t enjoy sex until she was in a stable, monogamous relationship, a more realistic compromise on the evangelical promise that sex will be better if you wait for marriage. As for Rihanna, I don’t think Ingraham has to worry has to worry that teenagers are going to rush out and buy designer ball gags and harnesses. That stuff is expensive.