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 Innovation/Global Risk

  Lady Gaga: She WILL Change the World!

By Shlomo Maital



 Lady Gaga, with Paul McCartney, at the Grammys

Don’t be among the many old fogies who underestimate this phenomenon called Lady Gaga!  Recently, NYT Columnist Nicholas Kristof reported interviewing her, about her Born This Way Foundation, partnered with Harvard.  The goal:  Empower kids, nurture them, and begin to deal with bullying and humiliation.  Lady Gaga herself was humiliated in high school. As a straight-A student (!) she was literally dumped into a trash can.  She was called terrible names in front of everyone.  She came through it stronger – but many adolescents don’t. Recently, here in Israel, two adolescents were found shivering and soaking wet on the Ashkelon shore.  They had tried to drown themselves because they were bullied in school; a passer-by saved them.  On the radio, responding to this, a mother told about her son, who was very short, and was bullied in school because of it.  He committed suicide. 

    Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia Germanotta (that name alone would get lots of bullying for Lady Gaga), will be the president of the foundation. She recalled that one of Lady Gaga’s most hurtful memories came when she was purposely excluded from a party to which everyone was invited. 

    And the situation has been made a million times worse by Facebook. As an expert reported on Israel Radio, once kids could feel safe at home, even though they were threatened in school.  (I recall running home to safety, with my way blocked by “Derek”, a really big bully, and dodging around him.  Is there anyone who does NOT have such memories?).  Now, they are not safe even at home. They can be bullied, before the whole world, on Facebook, and there is no escape.

     “Born This Way” is not restitution or revenge, Lady Gaga said. “I want to make that clear.  This is: …I want to do everything I can to become an expert in social justice…I hope I can make a difference and mobilize young people to change the world.”   

    Let’s congratulate Lady Gaga.  She is very smart. She has identified a problem that is not being tackled sufficiently, and is using her celebrity and funds to draw attention to it.   Don’t count her out just because of how she dresses.  Because that, too, is a mild form of bullying. 

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital
March 2012