Amber L. Davisson explores the most significant aspects of Lady Gaga's stardom in her new book "Lady Gaga and the Remaking of Celebrity Culture." Achieving notoriety just after reality television began to permeate mainstream culture, Stephani Germanotta adapted the personality with an awareness as to how she could most effectively market her celebrity. She became a star -- as did the likes of Kim Kardashian -- due to a persona she cultivated publicly. Realizing the power of social media, Lady Gaga understands that everyone is always watching.
Gaga makes no claims to originality, her choice of costume, makeup, and other facets of surface presentation containing homages of the past. She interprets meaning behind her choice of colors, of fabrics, and of songs. Having genuine musical talent and a strong singing voice, Gaga shrugs off her ability with electronic gadgetry replacing her musicianship and altering her genuine vocal talent into something synthetic.
Davisson's book is a very thorough, fascinating, and informative look at this contemporary aspect of popular culture, which contains elements of parody and satire, nostalgic homage, challenging edginess, and a rare lapse into something that can be defined as conventional talent.
The author summarizes her assessments and discoveries by stating, "Gaga's monstrous celebrity model is only successful because of an army of little monsters who have supported her and pushed her forward," and "...for all her conversations about humanity, fragility, fame, and death, Lady Gaga's own personal performance ultimately does not revolutionize the concepts. In the end, we see Gaga trading her body for fame in ways that are typical of young female pop stars."
What is consistent throughout the book is the author's keen understanding of the concept of celebrity culture and how Lady Gaga's representation has altered and redefined so many of its core principles.
Recommended for libraries and media studies programs.