“HwOOD $IgN I$ oFFiciaLLY My bIZnatCH!!!!! Good work2allmyHoTCULpritss!! LOOK AT THE SIGN LA!”tweeted trashy pop tart Ke$ha at 3:20 am this morning.  The following viral video soon hit the web.  (In case video doesn't work, watch it here.)



She's ruled the charts for seven weeks with "Tik Tok", and now she rules Hollywood, refashioning it's most treasured landmark in her own trashy, glittery image. 

Some argue that Ke$ha's Hollywood sign vandalism is nothing more than an elaborate computer generated hoax.  The sign is closely monitored 24/7 and you don't have a prayer of getting in sober let alone wasted wearing a fuzzy Indian chief headdress.

Regardless of the whether or not this publicity stunt really happened, it's doing its job.  The video has gone viral, and the blogosphere is eating it up.  Ke$ha gave the Internet something it can't refuse to post.  Although the singer (and I use that term very very liberally) hasn't gotten the most glowing commentary on this site, and she seems far from the sharpest tool in the shed, maybe she actually knows exactly what she's doing.

In our post-millennial world of viral videos, social networking sites, and do-it-yourself fame, its no surprise that people like Ke$ha and Owl City have No. 1 singles.  Making music in your parent's basement and getting it out to the masses was impossible ten years ago, but today, its as simple as understanding how to get eyes and ears to your MySpace and YouTube account.

Even the premier pop star on the planet right now, Lady Gaga, knows that.  Each performance, each elaborate outfit, each interview, has the potential to go viral and be seen on blogs, Twitter feeds, and Facebook walls across the Internet, and she takes advantage of that.  I mean, honestly, how many costume changes does girlfriend need for a single awards show?

Gaga uses each photo op, public statement, and performance to advance the character and ideas that make her Lady Gaga.  She doesn't sing and dance at an awards show, she gives the world a performance art piece.  Her songs aren't about sex or dancing, they're deep artistic statements about fear and fame.  She uses the endless new media news cycle to promote the pop star she is and the music she makes.

Although spray painting sheets and hanging them over the Hollywood sign (or hiring some computer guy to make it look like you did) isn't as high browed as singing on a bloody burning ladder set in a coffin (or something equally morbid and thought provoking), Ke$ha is advancing her image as the drunk, I-don't-give-a-damn free loving party girl.  Her Hollywood escapade video is "Tik Tok" in action.

The ability to interact and promote yourself on a 24/7 basis provides ample opportunity for artists to create their larger than life image and sell it, but it also makes it harder for artists to fake it.

Britney Spears was pop's teen queen at the turn of the century.  Carefully planned videos and appearances cultivated the image of a squeaky clean sex symbol that went on to sell millions of albums.  As the decade progressed however, the star's self destruction was impossible to hide behind press releases or tightly controlled interviews.  Legions of paparazzi reported every detail of the star's fall from grace and the public ate it up, not only in traditional tabloids, but through new media outlets.  Her purported comeback lacked authenticity as cell phone videos of her Circus tour flooded the Internet showing one of the decade's biggest entertainers flailing her arms and lip syncing.  And then you have her Twitter account.  Over 4 million followers, but do any of them actually believe it's Spears herself who sends out those messages?

To succeed as a pop star today, you have to be a 24/7 pop star.  Creating a persona to sell records and concert tickets is crucial, but if it's all a show that ends when the mike is hung up, it shows.  Good news for authentic and headline grabbing musicians like Kanye West, but bad news for "posers".  In the words of Ms. Spears herself, "...don't try to front, I know just what you are."

The rise of pop stars like Ke$ha and Lady Gaga have left many wondering if the persona that they portray to the world is the real them, or if it's just an elaborate act.  Does Ke$ha really brush her teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniels?  Does Lady Gaga really go to bed every night in a different space suit?

If the joke is on the public, I suppose we'll find out soon enough.  If not, welcome to an era where pop stars aren't born and bred in Disney's laboratories, but instead are creations of a dog-eat-dog online world where she who gets the most page views wins.

6 comments:

Nick said...

Hmm... I love the tone that you take with Ke$ha. It is true, Lady Gaga's performances are an art performance. Her display is equally important as her music.

AmyHatesPeople!YesThatMeansYou;) said...

To me it like they can't come up with better crap to get people to like them. It is pathetic really.

kels said...

Ke$ha is trash. bleh

Mr. Will-W. said...

i love it. and no i doesn't really matter if she did it or not. this whole party girl thing is an alter-ego; people need to understand this.

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