I was driving my 6th grade daughter to her last day of school this morning. It was 7:29.
She immediately turned the radio from NPR to the mainstream station she and all her friends listen to.
I love music and am one of those moms who sings along and car dances whether I’m alone or with a gaggle of girls. My daughter loves music too, plays the viola and has a fine reverence for The Beatles. However, I have to say most of the playlist on this small Connecticut station is to me simply mind numbing. I tease my daughter with my critiques of these singers, telling her I would like so and so, if they had any, you know, talent. I complain that they’re overproduced, and when their lyrics are too big girl, off goes the station.
Anyway, a dreadful song had just wrapped up and a new one began. But lo and behold this one had an interesting beat, and I said, “Ah! Thank God. Finally a fresh sound!” The words were still leaving my lips as the artist produced this lyric: “She goes down like she never wanna breathe.”
Rise and shine.
I paused, cocked my head the way a dog does when it appears confused, and quick, clicked us back to Morning Edition. My daughter, because turn about is fair play, proceeded to tease me by singing her interpretation of the intro music to NPR shows, little ditties she makes up that are a cross between those plucked Law and Order punctuations and the Mission Impossible theme.
I realize that in my last post I went on a tear on this very same topic over a beer ad, and yet here I find myself again, which is the whole point of going on this second tear.
My ire doesn’t come from prudishness. It’s that I’m disheartened by the ridiculous quality of it all and the dulling influence it has on us, especially our kids. These visual and auditory messages don’t even convey what they intend, they’re not sexy or sexual, erotic or arousing; they’re laughable and they provide us with nothing. They’re so removed from the real thing they lead us to believe sexuality comes from a can.
I contrast this with the shopping expedition my daughter and I went on yesterday, which involved buying her some special pieces to accommodate the ways she’s getting older. As I watched her trying things on, she looked so quietly proud, and I felt celebratory for this emerging sense of her dignity.