An Open Letter To Lady Gaga, V Magazine Columnist

Date: September 2011

Re: Critics Are Meanies!


From: Johnny Darling

CC: critics, bloggers, Daphne Guinness, Halston, Mark Zuckerberg, NetFlix, The Northern Hemisphere


Dear Mother Monster,

Brava on another steaming pile of brilliance in V magazine! We await your column each month with the same sort of anticipation one feels on the way to a colonic. It’s as though you’ve reached up inside yourself and extracted the intellectual bile potential we’ve always known lurked within you. Oh, the hard truths that you tell! The searing observations! We feel challenged—inspired! Allow us to quote a sample of your pristine prose:

“Accomplished creators of fashion and music have a visceral effect on the world, which is consequently why they are publicly distinguished. So why do so many notable critics seem so impervious to the emotion of the work? Why such indifference? Does intellectualism replace feeling?”

“It’s so easy to say something is bad. It’s so easy to write, “One star, hated it, worst show of the season.” It’s much more challenging to reckon with and analyze a work. It requires research, but maybe no one does their research anymore. …When does the critique or review become insult and not insight? Injury and not intellect?”

When you sat down to write this treatise on the role of the artist and the critic, your immaculately rhinestoned nails filed to dagger points as sharp as your wit tapping away at your keyboard (style doesn’t rest simply so one can type) we have to believe you were channeling us! We’ve often pondered why writers, who’s job it is to critique other people’s art, have to be so damn critical!

Why don’t more notable critics understand that the artist must never be questioned? It’s obvious to us, as we’re sure it must be to you, that if a journalist pans a work of true art, he or she clearly just didn’t get it.

“One star. Hated it. Worst show of the season.”

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve received those kind of reductive and unsatisfying reviews, sometimes word for word. We agree that it’s unfortunate most critics cannot project their vital living spirits into the soul space of an artist’s work. Why don’t they teach that in journalism school? The ability to feel the essence of a work’s energy, to taste of its essential aura of creativity and risk, the violence, the subtle chafing and itchiness inherent in the creative process! All of this is lost on intellectually and spiritually bankrupt critics, such is the sad state of fashion journalism. But you offer a solution:

I’m going to propose a term to describe this movement in critical journalism: Extreme Critic Fundamentalism. I define this term as instilling fear in the hopes and dreams of young inventors in order to establish an echelon of tastemakers. There is a difference between getting a B- in Biology with a series of poignant red marks from your teacher and being given a spanking with a ruler by an old nun. The former we can learn from, while the latter is just painful. 

The biology analogy is so astute, but we actually think you could have taken it further! Screw your B- grade, Herr McBiology Professor! The work must be allowed to flow from us.  It shouldn’t matter if our answers were right or wrong—the answers were an act of creation, of expression of our view of biology, and to question it is to stifle, to stanch, to strangle, to choke the very chicken of our artistic selves!

The true learning process of the artist must be one of lawlessness, of experimentation and rule-breaking, of don’t-give-a-fuckfulness!

Back to the column for more riches: