Bette Midler & Lady Gaga Drank the Same Diva Kool-Aid

lady gaga mermaid wheelchairToday in "Mermaidgate" news: Lady Gaga insists that she's a "huge Bette Midler fan" who had no idea that The Divine Miss M pulled the whole mermaid-in-a-wheelchair stunt two decades before Gaga herself tried it. "Maybe we're cut from the same cloth," said Gaga.

Some might take Lady Gaga's explanation as a lame excuse, but I actually believe her. After all, back when Bette Midler was doing her act, little Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was just learning to say "gaga" -- she was certainly nowhere near becoming Gaga.


To hear Lady Gaga tell it, the wheelchair was a no-brainer once she put the mermaid suit on -- how else was she going to move around the stage? Well, she does make a good point. I think it's absolutely plausible that this "rip-off" actually falls under the heading of Great Minds Think Alike, and/or the sub-category There's Nothing New Under the Sun. At this point in time, is there anything any performer could do that wouldn't be at least slightly derivative of something somebody else did first?

Here's a secret for you: I'm not a huge Lady Gaga fan. Nor am I a big fan of Bette Midler. So I'm not on anybody's side, per se. I just find the concept of originality in music, film, dance, painting, literature -- virtually any art form -- rather difficult to define. We are cultural sponges; we soak up our influences often without even realizing it. Even Keith Richards once said that Mick Jagger has a tendency to do this ... he'll hear a snippet of a song somewhere and, without realizing it, write it into the next Stones tune.

So might Gaga have some hazy pre-verbal memory of seeing a lady wearing a mermaid costume singing in a wheelchair? Sure. That doesn't mean she's a fraud.

Do you believe Lady Gaga?


Image via YouTube

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