Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Of mountains and molehills

I'm bad at math. Very bad. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I can make 2 plus 2 equal 5. Thus the reason I went into music. My senior year in high school I took business math. I had failed algebra 2 the year before and had no desire to repeat it. The business math teacher, whom shall remain nameless, was to put it politely, mad as an outhouse rat. I could go on about her for hours, but I'll refrain. However, one thing that she told us is relevant. She informed us that our music was about nothing but sex and drugs. Remember this was 1999, hits on the radio station included songs about dead rappers, the sorrow of abortions, suicide, and hiding from drunken fathers under the kitchen table. Still, anyone who has heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers couldn't argue with her too much. Still, I was young and liked to argue. My rejoinder? Purple Haze. Clearly about the effects of acid. This brings us to today's topic. The ingrained need of people to rail against current cultural phenomena.

Lets start with music. People hate Stefani Germanotta. If you aren't aware, that is Lady Gaga's real name. Now, I'm going to be honest. I hate pop music. Passionately. I also am aware that her music is blatantly about sex. She doesn't make much of an effort to hide it. I mean come on, "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick"? Still, lets be honest, people have sung about sex since Adam and Eve first took a trip down lovers lane. There is a famous Irish folk song called Seven Drunken Nights. It's about a husband who comes home drunk every night of the week to find his wife sleeping around on him. He's just too drunk to see through her excuses. Anyone heard the song Yummy Yummy Yummy I Got love in my Tummy? Yeah, it's about oral sex. never gonna be able to listen to it again the same way are you? Oh, did you know that the syllable aah is the most common syllable found at the beginning of alphabets the world over? Yes there is more than one alphabet. Wanna know why it is first so often? It's the sound most people make after having sex or eating a seven course meal. Food and sex. They are ingrained in the human psyche. Deeply ingrained.

Lets move on to books. That damn Harry Potter and Twilight! Okay, I hate Stephanie Meyer as much as the next guy and I agree with Stephen King. He referred to her as the worst writer in America. I couldn't agree more. Still, this is not the first book about vampires. Hell, Dracula wasn't the first book about vampires. Oh, and it was about sex too, you just couldn't talk about sex in Victorian England. Before that was Carmilla which was about, gasp, a lesbian vampire. For 200 years people have used vampires as a way to talk about sex. Again, as humans, we're fascinated with sex. Go figure.

Lets go back to Mr. Potter. Lets set the plot. A young man, raised by his aunt and uncle, learns that he has immense magical powers and must learn to use them to bring down an equally powerful tyrant. Wait, did you think I was talking about Harry Potter? Nope, I was talking about Star Wars. The force isn't the same as magic Stewart! To which I reply, sure. But ok, lets talk about stories that involve magic. Lord of the Rings. Chronicles of Narnia. The Dark is Rising. The Prydain Chronicles. A thousand folk tales the world over. But, C.S. Lewis was a christian. Yep. Guess what, J.K. Rowling is Presbyterian. Yeah, those pesky Potter stories have to be of the devil. A decade ago it was Goosebumps. Is anyone still campaigning against that. When my wife was young she loved the Goosebumps series. Her parents were told by other parents that she would go to hell for reading them. Luckily they ignored the zealous advice and encouraged her to read them. Today she is an avid reader because of it. Any educator will tell you that the love of reading is one of the foundations of learning. The same love that Harry Potter and twilight encourage in students who otherwise wouldn't crack a book.

TV is full of nothing but sex and violence! There is that S word again. I'm gonna leave that alone.I'm actually going to agree that tv is very violent. But if we took the NFL off the air it might get less violent. That's another soapbox though. Wanna know why violence is so prevalent? Because we are a violent species. Ever since Cain hit Able with a rock we have been perfecting violence to an art form.In all of recorded history there have only been 286 years of peace. That doesn't mean 286 consecutive years, that means a month here, a year there, and so on. We like hurting each other, civilization and religion just curb our enthusiasm as best they can. Again, this is the topic of another soap box. Let's step back and look at the things our parents and grandparents opposed. Playing cards. Yep, poker cards are anti christian. If you listen to the right preacher. Did you know tarot cards didn't start out as occult objects? Nope. They were just a different type of playing card at first. Gin Rummy anybody? The Smurfs were an insidious plot to encourage communism. Sure. So were the Beatles. Although, to be fair they did spend time in communist Germany with German art students. Obviously they were communists. The founders of the ACLU were though. each and everyone. One of them is even buried in red square. yeah, wrap your head around that.

So, lets sum this up. Ask yourself this. When is the last time you complained about poker cards, Smurfs, Barney, Telly Tubbies, Goosebumps, The Hobbit, Star Wars, or any of the things we've discussed in this blog? Never? Me too. Because they aren't worth it. Time has mostly forgotten them. Just like in time we'll forget that we thought Potter and Twilight were of the devil. 

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