Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Teach Your Children Well

You may think you’ll be the only influence on your child’s musical upbringing, but you’d be wrong.

First, you have to consider the musical time spent with the other parent. In my case, that means an unhealthy amount of Glee, to which I’ll counter with a bizarre helping of the Melvins.

So how can you ultimately defeat the influence of Glee when it’s the only version of “Thriller” that they know?

Normally, it doesn’t really matter, because who gives a fine fart if your kid learns the Glee version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” verses the Bonnie Tyler version.

But there are occasions in which it does. I got all bent out of shape once I learned that my kids had discovered “Don’t Stop Believin’” thanks to Glee when I thought it was sacrilege that they didn’t hear Steve Perry’s version first.

And yes, I don’t think that is any real incarnation of Journey that’s currently touring the fair circuit at the moment. A karaoke Journey does not make it an official line up.

There’s another influence afoot besides the questionable tastes of the significant other. The other influence is television, and to a lesser extent, movies.

My children dominate the television around these parts, to the point where even watching the World Series is a huge production. You’ll have my son who is into the entire Nickelodeon/Disney teen-fest thing hogging one set; you’ll have my daughter pining for a more age appropriate.

That means they’re exposed to an inordinate about of crap, so I get a bit startled when I hear something repeated that’s familiar with my own upbringing.

In the car yesterday, my son begins with “What I like about you, is that you know how to dance.” No matter if the words are wrong, my son will repeat them ad infinitum until they become the actual lyrics. And even if there is another verse somewhere, just ignore it and repeat what you know.

This morning, I could hear him getting dressed when suddenly the familiar question of “What is it good for?” was heard, immediately following a shout of “War!”

There was no “Absolutely nothing!”

No mention of the undertaker and no “Huah!” or “Good god!”

Just five minutes of “War! What is it good for?” repeated over and over again.

Which leads the entire thing into my brain where it sits, stirs, and remains on repeat even after the chant stops after he gets fully dressed.

I grab my IPod and search.

There is no Edwin Starr.

There isn’t even a Bruce Springsteen version.

Thank God for Frankie Goes to Hollywood!

What that means is for a few minutes, he has to endure a Ronald Reagan impersonator dish out the following hodgepodge of quotes before he can even get to the “What is it good for?” part.

Man has a sense for the discovery of beauty. How rich is the world for one who makes you for us to show. Beauty must have power over man…

After the end of the war I want to devote myself to my thoughts for five to ten years and to writing them down…

Wars come and go what remains are only the values of culture…

Then of course there is revolutionary love. Love of comrades fighting for the people and love of people. Not an abstract people but people one meets and works with. When Cheduvarat taught of Love being at the center of revolutionary endeavor, he meant both. For people like Che or George Jackson or Malcolm X Love was the prime mover of their struggle. That love cost them their lives. Love, coupled with a man’s pride


My son had no idea what all of the heaviness was all about.

Yes, even when you think you’re taking the high road in your child’s musical upbringing, you can be assured of some blame in a few of the more embarrassing entries.