By: Dana Driskill
(This article was featured in our print issue, which was published on Nov. 10, 2012.)
Dorian Electra Gomberg has been called the “Libertarian Lolita” by Gawker for her music videos and songs that focus on Austrian economics and free market ideas. In my interview with the 20-year-old hip hop artist, she laughs off the Gawker article and says that any political implications in her videos were unintentional.
“They seem to think I’m the product of tweenindoctrination from higher, malicious powers that are trying to corrupt youth with dangerous libertarian, right wing ideas,” Electra said. “I don’t identify with the right wing or conservatism at all, so I guess the article was good feedback that I wasn’t communicating my ideas clearly.”
Her entrance into Internet fame, which prompted the “hit piece from Gawker,” came two years ago with her first music video, “I’m in love with Friedrich Hayek.” It’s a whimsical, Regina Spektor-esque love ode to the dead economist in the title, who is considered one of the most influential thinkers in his field in the twentieth century.
“I think people enjoyed it because they liked the idea that a girl loved Hayek that much. It was new and fresh,” Electra said. “It might have also helped that there aren’t many girls in the world of Austrian economics.”
Electra said that she first became interested in economics during her freshman year of high school in Houston, Texas, when her debate coach, Burt Loan, introduced it to her. She was already interested in politics, the United Nations, and the issues of finding a solution to poverty, but didn’t know anything about economics or principles like supply and demand. Over the course of high school, Electra continued to study economics in her spare time, and began to develop her musical skills as well. She was a big fan of the band The Horrors, who inspired her to learn how to play the keyboard and the bass guitar.
It wasn’t until Electra’s senior year that she realized her two passions could be combined. “In 2010, I saw a video called ‘Fear the Boom and Bust,’ that was a rap battle between two economists, Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes,” she said. “It was so funny and cool, and it inspired me. I had never thought of putting economics together with music.”
While writing her senior thesis on Friedrich Hayek, Electra decided to create a response video that would be a love song for Hayek. She had been working with the melody for a while, but after shooting and editing the video, Electra decided to wait six months before releasing it.
While Electra wasn’t entirely pleased with the finished product, the video garnered over 130,000 views on YouTube alone. Her other videos include “Roll With the Flow,” “We Got It 4 Cheap,” “Party Milk,” and the soon to be released “Fa$t Ca$h: Easy Money.”
Electra says she wants her videos to break down difficult economic theories into catchy songs that are memorable, accessible, and easily understandable to everyone.
She consults modern-day economists and friends who have not studied economics at all to ensure that her explanation of economic principles is clear and straightforward. “What I’m trying to do is combine Katy Perry with Bill Nye the Science Guy,” Electra said. “My goal is that I can explain these difficult concepts to people so they understand these systems we’re a part of, but that are also bigger than us.”
photos- Facebook, youtube