CHER VS TWITTER
SHE MIGHT BE THE NUTTIEST DARK LADY IN ALL THE TWITTERVERSE, BUT NATHAN SMITH BELIEVES CHER’S UTTER LACK OF SOCIAL MEDIA GRACE ONLY ADDS TO HER LEGEND.
Cher’s consistent reinventions of her musical and star image have long appealed to queer audiences, but what has recently appealed to me is her controversial, camp, and wellpublicised Twitter presence. Known primarily for her outrage about Sarah Palin, stray dog murder in Sochi and unrest in Venezuela, Cher has also grown a reputation among followers for her spelling mistakes, overuse of capital letters and complete lack of syntax.
After reading Cher’s tweets, many have characterised the singer as crazed, mad, and “off her meds”. Her feed may be filled with rants, diatribes and incomprehensible sentences, but I find it just another opportunity to enjoy her diva-ness. Because Cher is Cher, the excesses of her stardom naturally filter into her Twitter. You only have to look at her description to realise this:
@CHER Stand & B Counted or Sit & B Nothing. Don’t Litter, Chew Gum, Walk Past Homeless PPL w/out Smile. DOESNT MATTER in 5 yrs IT DOESNT MATTER THERE’S ONLY LOVE & FEAR.
I should start by openly confessing that I have always kept Cher on a well-lit and glittering pedestal, beginning when I bought a physical copy of her single Strong Enough back in 1998 when I was only nine. I learned the lyrics and listened to the entire Believe album on my discman for months. My gayness flourished (in the closet) alongside an unwavering devotion to this figure of feminine excess, agelessness and believing in life after love.
Today, however, Cher’s grammatically incorrect, confusing, messy and over-thetop language on Twitter provides many of us fans a new way of connecting with our idol. I have tweeted Cher on many occasions and have received a handful of replies. The most thrilling experience was my attempt to intervene in constructed rivalry between her and Madonna.
I was alienated by Madonna’s ostentatious attempt at being an ‘art critic’ when she staged a Q&A on Twitter about her history in pop culture and her new endeavours to promote art for democratic purposes (yawn), so I tweeted, “Madonna’s planned art curatorial session on Twitter is like @Cher running an English language class.” I was amazed when Cher bothered responding to me, “@ queerishly RU Casting Aspersions, Throwing Shade, Taking the Piss? Does this mean I SHOULDN’T Teach My Advanced Eng. Grammar Class Tomm?”
She no doubt encountered my bitchy tweet in her feed and believed she ought to weigh in on the shade session. Cher’s response was wonderful and the sarcastic, hyperbolic and confusing tweet was gold to this gay admirer. To be insulted by Cher! What a thrill.
It seemed I was in the firing line for Cher’s vitriolic yet self-deprecating Twitter fury. This direct interaction proved to be a
transcendental moment in my history of deifying a woman who could turn back time, hang with tramps and thieves and always be my babe. The pleasure of the exchange boils down to the way Cher engaged with a trolling fan (a very unusual practice for any celebrity on Twitter) and exploited her diva status by trying to outdo the fan in terms of wit and cleverness. Naturally, Cher won in our exchange.
I get quite a thrill when I see her active online and banging out bonkers responses to questions about her upcoming tour, American politics or her most recent foot surgery. The diva worshiper in me fervently and unwaveringly deifies Cher and sees her wigs, costumes, music and statuesque, ageless body as the epitome of camp and queer clashing.
The campness comes down to how Cher writes: the way she draws attention to her abuse of the 140-character limit, her lack of understanding on how to follow people (she admits having mistakenly blocked fans) and the accidental sending of draft tweets. Cher is so Cher that it doesn’t matter she can’t tweet coherently.
Although known more for ‘crazed’ missives and convoluted messages to trolling fans (with way too many emoticons of a woman dancing), Cher on Twitter is nothing if not entertaining. Her presence on social media (a prerequisite for any pop star today) is an (ironic and earnest) attempt to stay youthful and modern, connected with fans and, importantly, relevant. The fact Cher is still so successful (anyone else catch her new record, Closer To The Truth?) in her sixth decade in music demonstrates her enduring stardom in our 15-minute fame culture. Personally, I couldn’t be more delighted than scrolling through her feed and seeing tweets that make no sense at all.
It is this famous quip about Cher that always keeps me coming back, “After a nuclear holocaust, all that will be left will be cockroaches and Cher.” … and now that includes Cher on Twitter.