When news last week of a new flavoured breast-milk ice cream emerged (weirdly named Baby Gaga) many were angered, confused, and repulsed (and not just because of its outrageous price). What, exactly, was this idea, and where the hell did it come from?
They didn’t have to squirm uncomfortably for long, however, as following two complaints from members of the public, as well as raised concerns from the Health Protection and Food Standards agencies,
‘Quirky’ O’Connor was, obviously, outraged, labelling this as nothing other than an “overreaction.”
“We followed exactly the same screening process … as any mother donating to a milk bank does, so if they’re saying that our breast milk ice cream is dangerous, they’re also saying that breast milk is dangerous per se and that milk given to mothers from milk banks is also dangerous”, he said.
I could get into the ins and outs of this, debating, like so many have done already, why his idea was such an outrageous one, and why we, as human beings, are so appalled by the thought of consuming our own produce (and yes, I too am of the opinion that it is gross). However, instead I’d like to focus on the Lady Gaga aspect of the whole saga and ask: how in heaven’s name did she become involved?
Well, it’s quite simple really.
Whilst analysing the discography of Lady Gaga in her relatively short career, similar themes emerge again and again, and each, I believe, adds another piece to the bizarre puzzle of the breast-milk flavoured ice cream.
First up, like many who venture into the public arena whether in song, dance, or act, it is the heavenly notion of money and fame which is the real driving force. And for Lady Gaga, this is no different. Just take the two P’s – “Paparazzi” and “Pokerface”. The former, being sufficiently self-explanatory needs no elaboration, and the latter, which conjures up an image of a straight-faced poker player with the sole intention of reaping in as much money as possible, can too, be easily associated with the Gaga, who despite constantly reinventing herself to be as strange as possible, does it with such a courage of conviction that it would almost be forgivable to forget that this is merely an act for the sole purpose of making millions. You can hardly blame a vendor for trying, then, when he becomes inspired with the genius that is breast-milk flavoured ice-cream to generate both money and fame. Alas, despite pricing the delicacy at a hefty ?14 per serving, the profit was not to materialise once the product was pulled off the shelves, however you’ve got to give respect where it’s due, and no-one can argue with the level of fame O’Connor has achieved with this escapade.
Perhaps even more easily associated with Lady Gaga than money and fame, however, is controversy. Without even mentioning the meat dress or egg costume, to name but a few recent shockers, her songs tell us all we really need to know about her desire to stand out from the crowd. Just take a look at the video of her Spanish number, “Alejandro”, which, through infusing gay love with Christian symbolism caused the Catholic church to dismiss her as a blasphemer. But it is perhaps her earlier single, “Bad Romance”, which can explain the inspiration behind the most controversial flavoured ice-cream to have ever emerged. On a superficial level, the song tells us all we need to know, with lyrics such as “I want your disease”, “I want your drama”, and “I want your horror.” With the hepatitis fears which accompanied the marketing of breast-milk, the commotion which has been made of the story, and the revulsion which so many (including myself) now associate with any type of milk, I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Connor actually used this song as his doctrine when forming his creation. And on a deeper level, a recent blog which appeared in the Guardian may tell us even more. According to writer Sarah Ditum, the reason why we are so repulsed by consuming breast-milk is due to a “power dynamic that probably feeds into the sexual connotations of adults consuming breast milk – yes there is a fetish market”, she says, “and yes, I'm sure that some of the patrons at the Icecreamists are attracted by something other than the lure of the ultimate natural and free-range food.” Which leads her on to ponder the next disturbing thought; “if human milk is a sex thing, where does that leave those of us who drink milk that comes from cow boobs?” A “bad romance” doesn’t quite cover it.
But before I completely soil Lady Gaga’s name (because I am actually a huge fan), perhaps it is now time to give testimony to her obvious appreciation for nature. Unless O’Connor had been abducted by aliens in the last few weeks, he’s bound to have noticed the infamous egg costume which Gaga emerged out of at the Grammy’s to perform her chart-topping single, “Born this way.” Birth, baby, breast-milk; you don’t need to be Sherlock to see the influence. And the inspiration in “Love game” can be seen from the mere title alone, without even delving into the actual song. For before some idiot decided to make a new ice-cream flavour out of breast-milk, the only symbolism associated with this natural produce was love, between a mother and her baby. Who can argue, therefore, with the logic of following the Gaga doctrine which teaches us to make a ‘game’ of the most natural feeling which exists to man?
Take what you will from Lady Gaga, the money, the fame, the controversy, or even her apparent obsession with nature. It doesn’t really matter, because she gets away with it all. Her raunchy pairing with Beyonce last year to produce the catchy “Telephone” showed two young, rich, and famous girls admitting that they will answer the phone if, and only if, they want to. Coupled with the Gaga’s first single, “Just dance”, in which she sings about doing just that, it’s clear to see that this young lady can do whatever, whenever she wants, with absolutely no repercussions. Again, you can see where O’Connor got the confidence to do as he wished, but unfortunately for him, this laissez-faire attitude is reserved only for the likes of a singing, dancing, meat-wearing pop-stress who, by name, is entitled to be a bit doolally.
Think I’m crazy for trying to understand the complexities of Lady Gaga and the potential influence she could have on others? That’s nothing. I know of someone who made an ice-cream out of breast-milk.