Bette Midler vs. Lady Gaga in a Battle of Mermaids

Midler did the mermaid thing first, and she isn't afraid to say so

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The Players:  Bette Midler and Lady Gaga

The First Serve:  Fresh off being egged at a concert in Australia, Gaga has attracted one more critic of her "Mermaid in a Wheelchair" act --Bette Midler. The writer/singer/comedienne took to her Twitter account.  "I'm not sure @ladygaga knows that I've performed my mermaid in a wheelchair for millions of people -- and many of them are still alive..." Midler wrote on July 15.

The next day, Midler seemed more insistent. "Dear @ladygaga if you think a mermaid in a wheelchair seems familiar-it's because it is!You can see it on youtube 24/7-with ME performing it." For said YouTube video, click here.

The Return Volley: For now, Lady Gaga's Twitter account has been silent on the subject--it has been busy focusing on a recent visit to Howard Stern and promoting the singer's new album. But this isn't the first mermaid controversy to float Gaga's way. On July 12, Katy Perry tweeted a planking mermaid picture, drawing the ire of Gaga's chief choreographer and creative director, Laurieann Gibson. Gibson tweeted: "Proud of my artist #1 in the world @ her vision& passion. even though they try to steal a tail there's only 1 Mermaid, Swim On!!!"

Midler may or may not have scrolled down far enough through Twitter to find the Gibson proclamation, but she did offer up an olive branch last night, posting to Twitter: "@ladygaga let's drink this over at the Emmys in September. Fabulous mermaids can coexist!"

What They Say The Fight's About:  Credit and mermaids.  Midler wants Gaga to acknowledge that she was the first to put fins on in a wheelchair. Gaga and her reps haven't publicly responded.

What The Fight's Really About: Gaga's originality. With the release of "Born This Way" Gaga's already drawn criticism over musically and aesthetically copying Madonna. Midler is joining in the conversation.

Who's Winning: Midler/Gaga's biggest critics. Gaga's fans skew younger and many probably weren't aware of Midler's mermaid theatrics before this spat. Now, it's out there for over 11 million of Gaga's Twitter followers to see. And Gaga's critics have one more icon to point to when questioning her creative talent.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.