Everyone probably believes I’m a huge fan of Lady Gaga. I just seem like that sort of person, don’t I.
It’s not true, though. I didn’t even like her music the first time around when she was Madonna. As I write this, I’m sipping a martini and listening to Chet Baker. I needed the purgative after my foray into Gagaland at YouTube.
(The only benefit to the extensive YouTube research necessary to write this post was running across a video of an annoyed librarian in action, or at least one portrayed on That Mitchell and Webb Look. Enjoy The Insulting Librarian.)
By now you might be aware that Lady Gaga has written her first magazine column, for V magazine. I have to admit, the smooth if sometimes incoherent prose has a certain Dada charm. It’s like a good dance song, rhythmic without making enough sense to distract one from the rhythm.
In it, she says she considers herself a librarian of “glam culture,” and she makes lots of references to library cards.
The comparison between Lada Gaga and a librarian seems so appropriate and natural that most people will hardly question it. With the comparison, Lady Gaga characterized librarians as obsessional experts, and that seems apt. Scratch the surface of a good reference librarian, and you’ll find all sorts of arcane obsessions.
However, believe it or not, the analogy isn’t accurate. So here are five ways Lady Gaga is obviously not a librarian.
1) She can’t possibly be a librarian because she doesn’t have an ALA-accredited MLS. How dare she make such a claim! We all slogged through tedious courses with lots of group work for an entire year to make that claim, and she thinks she can can make it without that? People without MLSs saying they’re librarians are like people who aren’t God saying they’ve written the “bible” on something. It’s just not right.
2) She makes a lot of money, and is successful at a young age. Librarians never make a lot of money, and at the age Lady Gaga was winning Grammys, most librarians are still failing in their first career.
3) She’s young and thin. These aren’t typical librarian traits. As evidence, I suggest you compare the video for “Poker Face” with this librarian parody. The difference is pretty obvious, isn’t it. She also surrounds herself with young, thin people, as also evidenced by the video. The only time librarians do this is during children’s storytime.
4) Librarians would never write this: “Everything from vintage books and magazines I found at the Strand on 12th Street to my dad’s old Bowie posters to metal records from my best friend Lady Starlight to Aunt Merle’s hand-me-down emerald-green designer pumps were sprawled all over the floor about two feet from my bathroom and four inches from my George Foreman Grill.”
First, keeping your library collection on the floor, near both a restroom and near food? This is a librarian’s nightmare. Vintage books and magazines should be in climate controlled stacks, no food or bugs allowed. The posters should be stored flat in drawers; better yet, they should be digitized to make their content more accessible to the world. I don’t actually know what to do with the pumps. Maybe an acid free shoebox.
Second, the sentence is ungrammatical. Reduced to its basic elements, the sentence says, “Everything were sprawled.” Librarians wouldn’t achieve the Kerouacian fluidity, but darn it they would be grammatical.
5) Librarians don’t care about fashion. You may reference the Lady Gaga parody video of librarians to confirm this fact, or you can just walk around your library. Librarians are the only professionals I know of who would consider wearing sweatshirts to work, except maybe professional house painters. On the other hand, they also wouldn’t wear meat dresses.
Thus, this question would never arise: “When Yves Saint Laurent designed the “Mondrian” day dress for fashion week Fall/Winter 1965, did he plagiarize or revolutionize?”
Personally, the librarian’s answer would be “who cares?” On the other hand, if it was a reference question, it really can’t be answered because of its subjective nature, but nevertheless the librarian would try to find a range of sources on the issue so that the aspiring fashionista could explore every possible position.
So there you have it. This claim to be a librarian just won’t fly. I’m sorry, Lady Gaga, you’ll just have to settle for being young, thin, and rich, and leave the library work to us.