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Author Karen Spears Zacharias blogged about Lady Gaga yesterday. I like Gaga’s music, but I’m not an über-fan or anything. I only noticed the blog post because a Twitter friend tweeted about it.
Zacharias says that “Lady Gaga’s a Fake & You aren’t great” (capitalization hers). Specifically, she finds Gaga’s over-the-top appearance and performances fake. Zacharias says that this is nothing new — it’s been done before, by artists like Madonna. And she points out that Gaga isn’t just like the rest of us — she comes from a fairly privileged background.
Okay. I can understand that. I frequently find Gaga ridiculous. I do recognize that she’s not the first to embrace the outrageous (and that “Born This Way” sounds an awful lot like “Express Yourself”). And I would agree that Lady Gaga doesn’t have a real rags to riches story.
But she goes on to say that the message of songs like “Born This Way” is wrong, too. That Lady Gaga’s going around telling people how great they are, and to embrace their greatness, and that this is somehow wrong.
Apparently, teaching kids to value themselves leads to “self-obsessed, pot-smoking, whoring-around delusional little monsters.”
Really? That’s what encouraging self-esteem leads to? Huh. I guess I’d better pull my kids out of Girl Scouts.
Zacharias suggests that we embrace humility instead, and “appreciate the wonder of being ordinary.” After all, we can’t all be stars. Most of us are, and will continue to be, ordinary.
Absolutely! Humility is an excellent quality, and a Christian value — but I think it’s possible to have a healthy sense of self-esteem and humility. It’s not either/or.
And ordinariness? Yes. I am ordinary. I’m not a genius of any kind, although I do have my own talents and gifts. I was born this way, and I can embrace that. I think that goes along perfectly well with the message of “Born This Way,” which is to embrace who you are! You don’t have to apologize for your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, hairstyle, OR ordinariness.
Finally, Zacharias makes a big mistake by playing the Hitler card.
But imagine for a moment a world in which future little Hitlers, Pol Pots, Stalins, or Osama Bin Ladens go around singing the chorus of Gaga’s Born this Way:
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Karen, megalomaniacs are going to be crazy no matter what pop songs they listen to. Songs that encourage people to value themselves simply aren’t going to create dictators or terrorists.
Don’t like Lady Gaga? Fine. But the idea that encouraging people’s self-esteem is somehow bad for society? I don’t get it.