Every age gets the Liberace it deserves

And then there is the whole tired business of trying to shock the bourgeoisie. When Liberace sued a British newspaper for insinuating that his sexual preference was not for women, the showman testified in court that he was against homosexuality, “because it offends convention and it offends society.” Putting aside any question of his fibbing, note the quaint concept—that one might not want to offend convention.

By contrast, Ms. Gaga struggles with a problem peculiar to our age. She wants desperately to offend convention, but the like-minded stars of the last few decades have effectively run the batteries down on the shock machine. Ms. Gaga makes a show of immolating a lover with her flame-throwing bosom—we yawn.