I'm not exactly a fan of Lady Gaga's music (one or two songs, alright) but I find her an interesting individual. Her interview on "60 Minutes" shows an intelligent and deep-thinking mind beneath the stunty wardrobe and makeup. Not just anyone gets accepted to Julliard.
Her song, "Born This Way," has become the mantra for the misunderstood teenager. While I may kvetch about teasing classmates, that is nothing compared to what other children go through in public schools. Suicide is now considered a viable escape for too many kids.
Gaga has now started the Born This Way Foundation, being run by her mother, for this express purpose: to encourage niceness.
. . . initially, she thought about focusing on a top-down crackdown on bullying. But, over time, she said, she decided instead to use her followers to start a bottom-up movement to try to make it cooler for young people to be nice.
As observant Jews we may believe we have dibs on "niceness," but I think that some of us has forgotten what it actually means. Being pleasant. Sunny. Complimentary. Instead of, say, the opposite.
I'm of the opinion that in the end, for a child to know not to hurt someone else comes from parents. As I mentioned in a previous post, many parents want their kids to be "go-getting extroverts" - and self-interest doesn't take others' feelings into consideration.
I asked Lady Gaga if people won’t be cynical about an agenda so simple and straightforward as kindling kindness. Exceptionally articulate, she seemed for the first time at a loss for words. “That cynicism is exactly what we’re trying to change,” she finally said.
Kindness isn't glamorous. Often it is considered nerdy, or wimpy, or asking to be stepped on. I still find it sad how quite a few equate "nice" with "sucker," and try to take advantage either by demanding favors or flinging casual insults.
Yet simply being nice can do amazing things, both internally and externally. And by making it appealing, Gaga seems to be going about it the right way.