Die Antwoord are weird. This claim is evidenced by… their very being. Each molecule of their bodies, and each neuron firing in their brains: weird.
Their latest video is no less weird than the rest of their existences. A man dressed as some type of Lady-Gaga-like creature — in full meat regalia, duh — takes a tour of South African slums, and is given the full tourist treatment, like some surreal slum safari. Eventually, she notices some street musicians — Die Antwoord in body paint (with female Antwoorder Yo-Landi Vi$$er possibly in blackface) — and notes their oddity, saying, “I should get them to open for me,” a reference to the real Lady Gaga asking the real Die Antwoord to do just that.
The tour bus is then taken hostage by anonymous hostage-takey-guys, and Mr. Gaga runs through the slums, before arriving at a gynecologist and either birthing or otherwise expelling some kind of small insectine creature. Then she, no longer weighed down by her offspring/STD, is eaten by a lion.
This narrative is interspersed with the actual song, the very catchy and movie-trailer-fodderish “Fatty Boom Boom”, and accompanied by creative editing and more body paint’d dancing.
Of course this is the 2012 so people had to get all whiny about everything. The video was called racist, anti-Lady Gaga, and insensitive to people with eating disorders. It is not insensitive to people with eating disorders, it’s insensitive to a person with a eating disorder: Lady Gaga, and its not even about her eating disorder (the title “Fatty Boom Boom” was written prior to Gaga’s weight being a national issue [and why is the Lady’s weight a national issue?])
This whole thing is part of a previous dispute, and involved some Twitter warfare. Here’s some coverage on the Twitter war from ABC News, because copying and pasting Tweets is way beyond our journalistic prowess:
“Our stuff is like f—— hardcore,” said Ninja. “It’s not like weak, superficial sh–. You know?”
Lady Gaga struck back on Twitter and Facebook pointing out Die Antwoord does not have a hit song while she has sold out concerts in South Africa.
“I fink you freaky but you don’t have a hit. Hundred thousand tickets sold in SA. #thatsmysh–t,” wrote Gaga.
The rap duo replied on Twitter, “Lady… even tho u r ‘larger’ than us… we still cooler than u.”
So yeah, the video is anti-Lady-Gaga. And yes, Ms. Vi$$er does wear blackface, kind of. In general, body image acceptance folk are the most vocal of the seekers of the politically correct.
But Antwoord were not going after Lady Gaga for her weight issues, they were going after her for something else: her fakeness. Much like the Vi$$erian blackface, Lady Gaga wears ‘weirdface’ in her everyday life. Hardcoreface, freakyface, interestingface, artface, whatever you want to call it, Lady Gaga is masquerading as a unique and interesting individual, when in reality she’s a pop star catering to mass appeal, the lowest common denominator (yes, we live in a time when the majority is the lowest common denominator, which doesn’t even make mathematical sense [probably, writers don’t need to know math.])
Lady Gaga was not “born this way”… Well, actually, Lady Gaga was born that way: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was not. Lady Gaga does not wear weirdface, Germanotta does, and that weirdface is Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is a carefully calculated character created to cull currency. Germanotta is normal, Germanotta and her management are scientists of fame, genuinely creating the Fame Monster that is Lady Gaga. Germanotta is Fame Frankenstein, and Lady Gaga is her Fame Monster.
And that’s what upsets Die Antwoord. Lady Gaga is participating in weirdwashing, like a white actor stealing a minority role from potential minority actor, for mass appeal and marketing. Lady Gaga uses weirdness, embraces faux freakiness and feigns hardcoreity for mass appeal. Die Antwoord isn’t buying it, and play the role of a Roman emperor throwing Gaga to the literal fictional lion.
But Lady Gaga is right — she is more popular, and isn’t that the goal of pop? That’s what the name of the genre comes from; “popular”. The epitomal goal of pop is to create music with mass appeal through legitimate knowledge of music theory and what makes something catchy. Gaga is simply better at that art than Die Antwoord. And Die Antwoord is doing just what they’re accusing Lady Gaga of: using image to hide lack of substance. Some, like Portable Managing Editor Kat George, might assert “Once Lady Gaga is no longer a visual icon, people will start talking about her music as some of the greatest pop music ever written.”
At the end of this feud, Lady Gaga comes out looking clean, and Die Antwoord looks jerky, left only with a mildly clever music video and no number one hits.