Originally published September 22 2010
The Lady Gaga saga and the coming generation of youth left behind
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) They say you can best determine the character of a celebrity by the character of their fans. By that measure, you'd be shocked to learn about Lady Gaga's fans. After a recent article I posted criticizing the superstar musician for wearing a dress made out of raw, dead animal flesh and stating that she was a negative influence for children and teens, we received an impressive flood of the most hateful, vitriolic and profanity-filled feedback I've ever witnessed.
In unleashing this torrent of emotive grunts that had virtually nothing to do with what I actually wrote, Lady Gaga's fans only proved me right. She is a destructive influence on our nation's youth, and her own fans act out the very same dysfunctional, divergent thought themes that Gaga promotes through her music and contrived persona.
Perhaps most interestingly, the hateful feedback was largely comprised of comments from people who had quite obviously never read the article they claimed to be talking about. From perusing the utter lack of grammatical structure and spelling ability in these comments, I can only conclude that many of them are functionally illiterate and most likely incapable of engaging in thoughtful analysis of any complex passage of text.
Now, for the record, the key points I made in my original article make just as much sense now as they did a couple of days ago when I first posted them. Here's what you need to know about this pop music superstar:
1) Lady Gaga is an admitted cocaine user. She says she feels "inspired" by using cocaine and doesn't believe that "occasional cocaine use" is any kind of problem.
2) Lady Gaga's decision to wear dead animal flesh seems bizarre, if not mentally ill.
3) Lady Gaga's song lyrics and messages are not appropriate for children and teens.
From this, I suggested that parents should protect their children from the negative influence of this individual. And I stand by that. There's probably not a single parent alive today who would wish for their children to worship a cocaine-using, dead flesh wearing deviant pop star diva.
But that doesn't mean I support any sort of societal censorship of Lady Gaga. Far from the "censorship" accusations that were leveled in response to this article, in no way do I support government censorship of music artists, even if those artists are bizarre. In fact, in my seven years as an outspoken investigative journalist, I've done more to combat censorship and support Freedom of Speech than probably all of Lady Gaga's fans combined. You'd be hard pressed to find a more invigorated and active supporter of free speech in our society.
But we must distinguish between censorship and parental responsibility. "Censorship" is when the government or some similarly powerful institution oppresses some individual or message such as when the FDA censors truthful information about the health benefits of cherries, walnuts and green tea. Watch my video on that topic to learn more: http://naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=544BD1D89A1519...
"Parental responsibility" is when a parent or parents decide to limit their childrens' exposure to things that harm them: Toxic chemicals, toxic foods and toxic mental influences. This is called acting as a parent, and it's based on the rather true assumption that children, by and large, are not yet capable of making wise decisions about their own consumption choices.
Children, after all, will eat candy all day long if that's what you make available in your home. Just watch 'em on Halloween and you'll see how irrational they can get about feeding on more sugar.
Good parenting leads to more capable childrenI make absolutely no apologies to suggest that parents have not only the right but the responsibility to reduce or eliminate their childrens' exposure to toxic chemicals, toxic foods and toxic cultural influences. Responsible parents don't let their children play violent video games or watch violent bloody movies on television, either. Just as young bodies are affected by food, young minds are affected by images, words and music.
Parents who care about their children are encouraging them to engage in healthier eating habits, healthier television and healthier forms of entertainment. It doesn't mean your kid can't listen to pop music, because musical expression is important for the development of children, but it does mean that caring parents will take steps to limit exposure to the most outrageous fringes of popular culture -- especially when those fringes celebrate themes of death or mental instability. This isn't censorship. It's called good parenting.
Most of Lady Gaga's young fans are too young to know anything about parenting, it seems. But they're about to find out soon enough, as I have no doubt there is a strong correlation between Gaga fans and unwanted teen pregnancies. There's nothing like suddenly becoming a mom (or a dad) to put a chill on the wild endless party you thought your life was going to be. The first time you change your new baby's diapers, reality really hits home.
What Free Speech really meansNow, if young adults such as college students want to listen to Lady Gaga, that's their own business, and I fully support their right to enjoy whatever musical expression they prefer. In fact, I'm such a strong supporter of free speech that I even support the free speech of those with whom I disagree -- and that's the only true measure of whether you really support free speech.
Though I disagree with people who argue that the Holocaust was falsified and never took place, I still believe they have the right to voice their opinions on the matter. Many others disagree: They think that people who voice unpopular opinions on such topics should be criminalized. In doing so, they admit they are not actually supporters of Free Speech but only of "selected speech."
Lady Gaga has the right to say whatever she wishes, and I actually support her right to express her ideas through words, or music or live performance. At the same time, parents have the right to decide that Gaga's messages are inappropriate for their children, and they can choose to practice "household censorship" of Gaga's music in their own homes.
This is the message of my original article. Not that anyone who criticized it bothered to read the article, by the way. And they probably won't read this one, either. The ideas are too complex for the "instant gratification" generation that thinks you win arguments by shouting down your opponent rather than supporting your position with sensible reasons.
Where is it all headed?We have a lot of bright kids in America today. I've met quite a few, talked with them and shared ideas about the future of human civilization. I have reason to believe that a few bright young minds are going to do amazing things in our world, and they will become powerful forces of creativity that will serve the greater good for decades to come.
But they are in a minority. Most of today's youth are wildly ill-prepared for the real world that's headed in their direction all too soon. Because real success in life takes more than dumb luck and good looks (or even bad looks dressed up to imitate good looks). It takes learning and investing in your own skills, dedication to your work (or art) and making good choices that will improve your long-term prospects.
To do that requires good examples. Role models. Parents. There aren't a lot of good models out there these days, and too many kids are reluctant to model anyone who isn't "cool enough" for their tastes. Kids think science is "geeky" and some are actually afraid to perform well academically because they're concerned it would be un-cool.
(For the record, when I was in high school, I was both a starting member of the varsity football as well as a top award-winner in the math club. This apparent contradiction confused the entire football team who asked me questions like, "What do you do in math club… MATH? Really?" The thought of using your head to solve problems rather than to spear your opponent in the chest was almost incomprehensible to them…)
Kids gotta get real about what's headed their wayI gotta tell you something. I've traveled the world. I've lived in Asia, and South America, and Australia and visit many European countries. I'll give you the cold, hard truth that today's youth continues to hold in a state of denial: The kids from India, Korea, China and Japan are kicking our butts academically. As a country, India now graduates ten times as many engineers and scientists each year than America.
America's dominance in the sciences is dwindling fast. As a nation, we are headed into academic poverty. Our public schools are increasingly watered down to the point where many high school students are graduating in a state of functional illiteracy. Even students coming out of college can't find jobs as easily these days, and it's not merely because of the economy. It's because -- dare I tell you the truth? -- employers know that students from other countries will work harder, faster and more intelligently than most (but not all) American students.
Ask any entrepreneur or small business owner in America: Who works harder and smarter, American graduates or those from India or Asia? That answer is consistent and true: The graduates from India and Asia work harder, smarter and faster, by and large, than most American graduates. This is not an opinion statement, it's a verifiable matter of fact in our global economy.
I say this with a sense of sadness. I don't want to see America lose its position on the world stage. I don't want to see our children suffer with anything less than the very best education they all deserve. I want to see these kids grow up healthy, capable and successful.
But I can assure you of this: They won't get there if they remain engrossed in destructive celebrity icons and meaningless social networking at the expense of lasting investment in their own futures.
Most kids today can cite you the lyrics of "Pokerface," a popular Gaga song. But they can't tell you the capitol of the very state in which they live. They can't perform simple multiplication in their heads and many can't calculate a fifteen percent restaurant tip without using a calculator. They know who Sponge Bob is, but they can't tell you anything important about Thomas Jefferson or Harriet Tubman. They know who Kanye West is but don't know where a Taco Bell burrito really comes from. (They don't know about food ingredient origins, in other words.)
The gaps in their knowledge are truly frightening. By the time I graduated just from high school -- and I went to an ordinary public high school, by the way -- I was practicing calculus, chemistry, fiction writing, and I had earned college credits in microbiology and genetics. While a few of our children today are on similar paths (thanks to their parents who help guide them toward academic achievement), the bulk of our children graduating today don't even understand the basic fundamentals of physics (such as formulas for acceleration or gravity).
Of course, you can't blame Gaga for all this. It's not her fault, really. She's more a product of our failing public education system than anyone responsible for it. Her popularity is merely symptomatic of a deeper underlying problem that burdens the whole of America today: We all got too comfortable and too lazy, and too many of us forgot how to go after our dreams in the way our American ancestors and immigrants once did.
When you look at students in Taiwan today, they remind you of something… us! They remind me of the way Americans were once hungry and ambitious and willing to work hard to achieve greatness. That valuable quality has now faded from memory across the USA, replaced by an entitlement mentality where people who graduate from school literally believe that "a job is a right."
Actually, it isn't. A job is something you compete for. It's something you earn, and it's something you might spend a lifetime preparing yourself for. To compete in our world for the next twenty-five years will require far more dedication than I see being put forward by the majority of today's youth. Sadly, they are in for a real shocker when it comes time to find out if the way they spent their time during their childhood and teen years will actually translate into anything resembling a livable income.
Because, for a disturbingly large number of them, it won't. They are the new "generation poverty." The college-degreed homeless who forgot that Gaga may entertain your ears, but she won't give you a paycheck. For that, you're on your own.
By the way, also for the record, I serve as a volunteer executive director on the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center that gives out thousands of dollars in grants each year to help support nutrition programs for children and expectant mothers. It's part of the real-world action I'm taking every day to help give our children a better future. You can read some of the success stories of what we've done over the last three years right here: www.ConsumerWellness.org
We've about to give away another $12,000 or so in grant money this year, too. It's not nearly enough to make the kind of positive impact I'd really like to make, but this is what we have. And, notably, 99 percent of all donations currently go to programs (with almost zero going to salaries and administrative overhead). We are one of the most efficient and high-integrity non-profits operating today, and we're putting money directly into the hands of schools, teachers and program instructors who are making a lasting difference in the lives of newborns and moms.
My entire compensation for the hours I invest in this effort is nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing I'm doing something, even if it's small, to help invest in our childrens' futures.
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