During the Super Bowl, Lady Gaga shocked the world…by not taking an enormous political dump all over the stage. She warbled her usual agglomeration of overproduced garbage; she strutted around the stage like a maimed llama wearing Beyonce’s old outfits; she appeared to commit suicide. Twice.
But she didn’t go political.
Although Laura Ingraham originally tweeted that Gaga had ignored the phrase “under God” in her recitation of the pledge of allegiance (Gaga said it), and although Gaga did sing “Born This Way” (officially named the second-worst-song ever penned, after John Lennon’s “Imagine”), the halftime show was mercifully free of politics.
And this drove some on the left out of their mind.
Here’s Mikael Wood of The Los Angeles Times: “Lady Gaga misses her Super Bowl moment to say something profound.” Wood complained, “the 30-year-old singer offered up a disappointing 12-minute medley that lacked any edge or tension….You wish she’d taken in more of what was going on offstage.”
Here’s Chris Richards at The Washington Post: “Lady Gaga calls herself a rebel, but at the Super Bowl she played it safe.” Complimenting Beyonce’s ridiculous pro-Black Panthers routine at the Supre Bowl last year, Richards wrote, “With a forceful elegance, Beyoncé had set a precedent for what could be done on this stage — musically and politically. By comparison, Gaga whiffed.”
Here’s Piet Levy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Gaga's overwrought performance overshadowed a potentially meaningful moment.”
For today’s media, it’s a sin to merely perform the hits for which you’re known. If you’re given a large stage, you must immediately begin spouting protest lines from the Women’s March, or you’re a sell-out, no matter how many events you did with Hillary Clinton.
You will be forced to take a position, to shout about politics, to destroy your audience goodwill by insulting at least half of them.
Lady Gaga didn't.
So here’s a phrase I never thought I’d write: thanks, Lady Gaga. Most Americans who were watching the Super Bowl wanted a break from the partisan rancor that now consumes most of our event-driven lives. You provided that break. That’s a statement in and of itself in a time when everybody needs to calm down and take a deep breath.