In Defense Of Cathy Horyn: Lady Gaga, Please Sit Down

Hopefully, you've been following Lady Gaga's mostly preposterous columns for V Magazine. It's been a chance to see the world's favorite sensationalist evolve, like a college freshman, from the hungover self-righteousness of her first column, to second-semester signs of budding critical thought.
Her latest sermon is on the perniciousness of what she calls "Extreme Critic Fundamentalism"—a type of harmfully negative fashion journalism practiced, solely it seems, by beloved front-row curmudgeon and New York Times scribe Cathy Horyn. Gaga opens with a question: "Doesn't the integrity of the critic become compromised when their writings are consistently plagued with negativity?…When we can predict the same predictable review from the same predictable reviewer?" It's a valid query and the answer is, "of course." Thing is, in targeting that question toward Horyn and her kind, Gaga has missed something important.
In fashion coverage, cheerleaders outnumber qualified critics 100 to one. The Internet is heavy with posts and pieces heralding the genius of this designer or the transcendental beauty of that product. Rigorous appraisals of fashion are rare and precious.
Despite Gaga's claims to the contrary, Horyn is educated exquisitely in fashion, art history, economics, and many other subjects that make her an outstanding critic. She can be as effusive in praise just as she can be damning with words (both Nicola Formichetti and Gaga herself have felt Horyn's sting). As well, these Extreme Critic Fundementalists—as Gaga calls them—are some of the few people who take fashion seriously, who demand more from it, who, sometimes just through the act of writing, can compel a designer or brand to grow artistically. Rather than upending talented creatives, critics provide an intellectual framework for improvement and innovation.
Gaga is obsessed with citizen journalism, with "the range of artistic and brilliant intellectuals," she hears from every day on Twitter (is she looking at the same Twitter we are?) Democratically she asks, "Why have we decided that one person's opinion matters more than anyone else's." The answer is, we haven't—not really. The world is free to (and usually does) ignore Horyn and stock up on all the dreck it wants. But sometimes, when looking at something new and ambitious, it helps to have a true expert in the room, someone who expects more, someone who knows bullshit when she smells it. Whatever Gaga says about her, Horyn has an excellent nose—one we trust and value.

More from

On principle, I am skeptical of any internet health recommendation that has the word “challenge” tacked on to the end of it. These wellness fads come and...
When I was a little kid, my dad thought it was funny to dress me up like Elvis for Halloween. I had aviator sunglasses, a tiny white suit with glam ...
Kids these days aren't just chatting on cell phones and wearing cooler clothes than you, they're also throwing better parties. At least, that's the case ...
A few months ago, I found myself riveted by an appearance Melissa Harris-Perry made on Real Time With Bill Maher. Harris-Perry had recently left her show...
While most people count down the days until holidays, vacations, or birthdays, my calendar fills with red X’s until it’s finally fall. From leaves changing...
Winter is still a long ways' off, but we have some Game of Thrones selfies to keep us warm. Tormund Giantsbane and Lyanna Mormont, two of anyone's favorite...
In the upcoming indie sci-fi flick Crossbreed, Vivica A. Fox will play a president who sends war veterans on a mission to retrieve an alien whose DNA is ...
(Paid Content) Though the temps are still doing that awkward dance between summer and fall, we're already dreaming of sweater weather and itching to scoop ...
But take heart. There won’t be a President Trump. Not if I and millions of other women in this country have anything to say about it
A young girl delivered a powerful message of peace speaking at the first Charlotte City Council meeting since violence threatened to rip the city apart ...
Mariah Carey is basically the definition of a diva. Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, refuses to even walk the red carpet because "people are starving." So...
Nothing gets us rethinking our entire aesthetic like changing seasons. As soon as the fall equinox rolls around, it's back to the drawing board to narrow ...
Chrissy Teigen confirms that her life is just too too cute
Hillary Clinton long ago learned to let the insults roll off her back. And in doing so, she’s uncovered Trump's Achilles' heel