There was a specific moment in ABC's Thanksgiving Day special, "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving," when I realized just exactly why I love Lady Gaga as much as I do.
As the singer sat with third and fourth graders at her old elementary school, she had them decorating hand turkeys and asked them what they ate on Thanksgiving. The kids were very bashful, but a few answered with things like ham and cranberry dressing.
After she revealed her hand turkey (which she declared was nowhere near as good as theirs), she described it to them as abstract. "Have you ever heard of Jackson Pollack?" she asked. "Yes," answered all of the students. She was clearly stunned.
Later, she admitted how endearing it was that they couldn't think of what they ate on Thanksgiving but knew who one of the most important figures in the abstract expressionist movement was. The look of pride and joy at the fact that such youngsters were familiar with someone so unique and (pardon the pun) abstract was the exact moment when a chord within me was struck.
This is why I have the weird relationship with Lady Gaga that I do. It isn't really an obsession because I don't follow her every move or read about her in gossip magazines, as I view intruding on one's personal life without his or her permission to be pathetic. Rather, it is a very, very strong admiration.
Do I have posters of her in my room? Sure, but what self-respecting gay teen doesn't?
Do I have all of her albums? Yes, but I also have albums from Keane, Sonata Arctica and The Offspring, and I'm not obsessive over them.
My point is that you won't find me denying that I indulge in the occasional Lady Gaga merchandise, yet you also will not find me watching the poor woman like a hawk, examining her every move through a magnifying glass of Gaga fixation.
My admiration isn't for Lady Gaga the flamboyant performer, but for her kind and genuine true self, Stefani Germanotta. Gaga's job is to entertain; she's a persona, a puppet for Stefani to control. Stefani's job is to make sure that what she can't do herself, Gaga can.
Lady Gaga has been the biggest influence on the LGBTQ rights movements since Harvey Milk. She led a strong campaign to put an end to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Stefani Germanotta could not have done that if it weren't for her eccentric Lady Gaga persona and the star power it carries.
Most celebrities will donate to charities, adopt kids or raise money for a cause to make sure they look good. You can't blame them; they have to keep their jobs, and a good image helps that. If in doing so, they perform good deeds, then it's a win-win situation.
However, Lady Gaga started her philanthropy right out of the gate. It wasn't to look good or gain attention. She didn't need to do that; her infamous costumes and publicity stunts did it for her.