Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Archive for the tag “music”

Miley Cyrus is just trying to f#(k me

WordleI guess every generation of kids has the same essential goal:  to piss off “authority.”

I came to this bombshell of a conclusion the other day when I stumbled upon a video posted on Facebook by an old friend.  It was a segment of “Donahue” (what a damn terrible show that was) from 1995 that talked about the horrifying dangers of the new trend of slam-dancing.  One whole child DIED when he (shockingly) fell down.  I mean, he FELL, you guys.  There are absolutely NO other circumstances, Phil Donahue seemed to suggest, under which a 17-year old could fall and die.  THESE MOSH PITS MUST BE STOPPED!

Enter Marilyn Manson and two other yahoos from his band that I probably could once identify, but now at my age just look like assholes.  Mr. Manson, as he agreed Donahue could call him, suggested that indeed, throwing one’s body into a crowd of hyped up concert-goers could be dangerous, but that it was the danger that made it appealing.  It’s a thrill of a different sort — fueled by adrenaline, hard music, camaraderie, and maybe just a teensy bit of weed.

As a 37-year old adult, I kinda wanted to punch that Twiggy fucktwit next to Manson who only “spoke” via a tiny Walkman with some weird recording on it that he occasionally held up to his stage mic.  As a kid who was 18 in 1995 when this moshing phenomena was rolling along (and who MAY have partaken in a pit or two herself) I thought that this whole thing was just goddamn ridiculous.  Take your fear-mongering elsewhere, 20-years-ago-Donahue, you look like a douchebag right now.

But here’s the thing:  all of the adults in the audience were shocked — SHOCKED, I SAY! — that kids would call this abomination of God’s earth “dancing.”  They were about 30 seconds away from getting the town pastor to abolish all dancing altogether (except for one brave kids who would save the day after a long routine of gymnasti-boogie in a warehouse, I assume).

shock rockAnd, Donahue commented that Manson’s “look” reminded him a bit of Alice Cooper.

Indeed.  And that’s the thing, right?  Since pretty much, like, forever (or at least since my parents were born, which was sooooooooooooo long ago — Hi, Mom!  Love you!), the goal of youth culture is to fuck the establishment, right?  Nirvana throwing their guitars in the air, NWA even having the name “NWA,” Madonna dry-humping a stage, Pink Floyd shaving eyebrows (and nipples, do I remember?  I try to block it out.  I was traumatized by “The Wall”), Ozzy eating bats, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” “NOT” being about hallucinogenics, Elvis’ hips, and so on — it was all just so youth culture could separate itself as much as possible from the established adult “normalcy.”

In the aforementioned video clip, Donahue mentioned, as he looked at the shirt-and-tie-clad father of the young man who had died in a mosh accident and the leather-clad Marilyn Manson seated next to him, that never before had there been such a sharp contrast between generations.

I disagree.  If you put a guy in slacks and JC Penney neckwear next to, say, Flavor Flav, Robert Smith, Iggy Pop, Sid Vicious, or any of the members of KISS, you might notice that there are some differences.

mileyAnd, I, of course, am a mom and a high school teacher.  I roll my eyes when my students say they like Miley Cyrus or Lil Wayne because, you know, I don’t personally love overexposed brats or misogyny, but their goal is likely the same as was the goal of Henry Rollins, Tupac or Rage Against the Machine.

Only, now I am the establishment they’re trying to fuck.

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I’m old and out of touch, just like I swore I’d never be…

I have been making a mental list of things I don’t understand.

It’s a long one.

(That’s what she said.)

And, being both a mother and a teacher I am therefore surrounded by young people for the vast majority of my waking hours.  And, you might think that this would aid me in my quest for ultimate world domination and superiority over others, but you’d be wrong.  Being around young people just makes me realize how little I know about the world around me.

macbethI have, like, a couple of degrees and whatnot.  I’m, you know, smart ‘n stuff.  I can recite a heaping chunk of the prologue of “The Canterbury Tales” in the original Middle English.  I can recall the entire first scene of “Macbeth” from memory.  I can say the alphabet backwards.  I know all the words to REM’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It.”  I know my IQ.  I am not telling you what it is, but let’s just say that I’m not not telling you ‘cuz I’m embarassed, but because I don’t want you to feel bad about yourself.

And, yet, since I am swimming in a sea of Disney-Beiber-CallofDuty-Miley-Legos-XBoxLive-ness, I too often feel like a dipshit.

maniacsI remember being a teenager and just “knowing” that my folks were so out-of-touch.  They didn’t know ANYTHING about REALITY because they thought that 10,000 Maniacs were an LA gang and that Nirvana was Viking heaven.

Of course, my parents felt that their lack of knowledge of popular culture was irrelevant and that the real REALITY was, you know, mortgages and car insurance and W2s and that sort of thing.

I agree that personal finance is closer to relevant than knowing all of the stock characters on Saturday Night Live might be.  Nevertheless, I feel just a little silly and old when I realize how much there is that I don’t know.

galtLike this:

Who is Benedict Cumberbatch? (I know who John Galt is, but for some reason that doesn’t seem to matter to the people on Pinterest as much.)

Wasn’t “Dr. Who” a TV show in the 80’s?  Why is everyone talking about it now?

Name one song by Macklemore that isn’t “Thrift Shop.”  I dare you.  (Actually, don’t.  You probably can name 20 and then I will just feel worse.)

Who the fuck is ASAP Rocky?  (And why does one student keep insisting he is better than Tupac?  I never even heard the name ‘ASAP Rocky’ before, but I can tell you that it doesn’t matter.  There is no fucking way he is better than Tupac.)

Does anyone actually believe that Katy Perry, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus are feminists?

greeneAm I the only person on the planet who hasn’t yet read The Fault in Our Stars? (I’ve read almost everything William Shakespeare has ever written.  Aren’t I done reading things yet?)

At the end of the day, though, folks, I have to admit that I love learning.  So, if anyone out there can enlighten me regarding any of this or can share some wisdom with me about our world, I am more than interested in hearing about it.  Feel free to share the answers to these pressing questions in the comments section or pose a few of your own.

Thanks for reading!

I Don’t Believe in Special Ed.

I have seen (and heard — and smelled) some weird stuff in my day.

Recently, in fact, I saw two people get married on the floor at a Nine Inch Nails concert.  They wore…um…interesting outfits and took their vows just outside of the moshpit.  Or, rather, they took their vows just outside of the area the moshpit would have been had the average age of the current-day NIN fan not been about 40.

Once the nuptials concluded, Trent could proceed with his signature sound that pulses with noise reminiscent of flak jackets, gunmetal and binary code.

216707-anchorman-2-sequel-image-will-ferrellI go places.  I see things.  I have many leather-bound books.

I consider myself fairly worldly.  I mean, I have been to Europe, people.  And, I have two whole gay friends.

Okay, I have one gay friend.

And, I consider myself somewhat educated.  I have a couple of degrees and a bunch of papers that say that this-state-or-that-commonwealth hereby decrees that I am worthy to, like, work and stuff.

Yet, with my vast set of personal experience and wealth of knowledge and worldly understanding, there are still a few things I don’t understand.

My inability to wrap my giant brain around some of these concepts is very possibly going to piss you off.

I am okay with that.

So, here is the deal:

I do not believe in Special Education.

I know.

But, let me explain.

1.  SPECIAL ED MEANS “WE DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO WITH YOU.”  —  Students all too often acquire Special Education designations not necessarily because they have medical or developmental stumbling blocks over which they must jump in order to compete with their peers.  Often, students, and overwhelmingly young male students, are identified as qualifying for Special Ed. due to factors that come not necessarily from their cognitive abilities (or lacking of abilities), but rather from the educational body’s inability to figure out “what to do” about the “problem” of these children.

According to the AASA (The School Superintendent’s Association), a 2005 article noted that “black students nationwide are 2.9 times as likely as whites to be designated as mentally retarded.”  This same article asserts that young black males faces a plethora of other assorted disadvantages in schools.  They claim that members of this demographic “have been found to be 1.9 times as likely to be designated as having an emotional problem and 1.3 times as likely to have a learning disability. Since twice as many black boys are in special education programs as black girls, it is difficult to blame heredity or home environments as the root causes for these figures. In some metropolitan districts, 30 percent of black males are in special education classes, and of the remaining 70 percent, only half or fewer receive diplomas.”  If home environments and family lineage are not accurate indicators, the conclusion seems to be that a portion of the Special Education population is labeled as such not necessarily due to factors that traditionally seem to impact learning, but instead for the “disability” of being young, male and black.

And, as far as SpecialEducationAdvisor.com is concerned, boys of all ethnic and racial background outnumber girls in Special Ed by more than 2 to 1.  Logic and a basic understanding of statistics suggests that any sub-group should reflect the larger populace.  That is, the ratio of boys-to-girls in Special Education should resemble the ratio of boys-to-girls in, you know, the world.  Yet it does not.

Furthermore, the US Department of Education notes that when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted in the 1970’s, students receiving Special Education services grew by about 81%.  Now, some may suggest that this vast growth rate is attributable to the fact that states were finally forced to provide needed services to deserving youngsters.  Or, some may interpret this to mean that the number of students who are not functioning intellectually along with their peers in America has octupled in the past 30+ years.  If the latter is the case, then, one might be able to argue that Special Education identification is fairly inaccurate.

Being black or being male aren’t the only indicators of higher probability of Special Education labeling.  Poverty is a major contributing statistical factor as well.  The Georgetown Law Journal says that “advances in neuroscience research will eventually end special education as we know it. In short, neuroscience research is challenging a number of important assumptions that undergird special education law, including, for example, the assumption that there is a real difference between students with a specific learning disability, who are covered by the law, and those who are simply “slow,” who are not covered.”  And furthermore, they cite research conducted which overwhelmingly suggests that while poverty (and more specifically orphandom or homelessness) may lead a student through a variety of reasons to test at a lower IQ than his same-age peers, the underlying causes of that lowered score are not simply a factor associated with raw intellectual capability.  Therefore, impoverished youngsters may end up in Special Education programs even though their potential levels of achievement may be quite high, but yet untested.

The Washington Monthly reported, too, that “anyone who’s spent time in an inner-city classroom can tell you that the challenges the average poor kid faces are often hard to distinguish from those you’ll find in special ed. This may be the greatest absurdity of the special ed law: It fails to acknowledge ‘environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage’ as disabling conditions. Why should a child with a broken back be guaranteed round-the clock, state-of-the-art medical care, no matter what the cost, while the millions of kids whose difficulties stem from poverty and neglect are left to hope that their teachers will break the rules so they can get some extra help? Should we really be spending $10 billion (at least) a year on ‘learning disabilites’ when we still don’t adequately fund Head Start and Title I, the federal programs that were designed to help poor children catch up with their wealthier peers?”

2.  SPECIAL ED. DOESN’T WORK.  —  Overwhelming data supports the idea that the current American system of assistance for Special Needs children does not increase their achievement, but instead inflates their statistics to give the appearance of achievement.

In an article posted on public station WNYC’s website, teacher Laura Klein notes, “The problem that exists here is related to the way that we lower standards for special education students — a trend that perpetuates the academic inferiority that these students feel.”  If Special Education programs were truly working, then the precious standardized test scores states use to determine both the worth of public school teachers and the achievement of the student body would indicate an even scoring pattern between Special Ed. and non-Special Ed. students.  In other words, if Special Education were truly honoring its promise to families to improve the education experiences of their children, then the proof would be in the puddin’.  But, Special Education students are NOT even coming close to competing with their peers on mandated tests.  But, if grades were an indicator, these numbers would suggest that Special Education students are functioning at a fully acceptable level that is on-par with their Regular Education peers.

In 2012, the New York Times published an article written by a frustrated teacher of Special Education students where he “confesses” to be a “bad teacher.”  He writes, “My students have learning disabilities ranging from autism and attention-deficit disorder to cerebral palsy and emotional disturbances. I love these kids, but they can be a handful. Almost without exception, they struggle on standardized tests, frustrate their teachers and find it hard to connect with their peers.”  But, if the system were working, these things would not be true.  These beloved students would be well-adjusted, academically leveled, and behaviorally normed.

3.  SPECIAL ED. COSTS TOO MUCH TO BE THIS UNSTEADY.  —  The costs of Special Education are well-documented.  It’s really expensive.  Mind you, it is really expensive for a broken product.

And, Special Education programming just keeps morphing itself into new iterations without actually accomplishing much at all.

For example, an acquaintance of mine remembers a conversation with the Special Education teacher in her high school building.  She recalls that the Special Ed. teacher informed the staff that the SDIs (or, Specially-Designed Instruction programming) must be followed to the letter.  In other words, it was mandated that all teachers fulfill the elements of student IEPs.  This can mean anything from teachers being required to provide deadline extensions for designated students, to teachers being forced to offer unlimited attempts at tests, or “modified” grading which can put the minimum grade a teacher may provide for a student’s work at any number determined in the IEP meeting.  When a question was raised to the Special Education teacher that went something like this:  “Ma’am, I am following everything in the student’s IEP and he is still failing my class.  What am I supposed to do?,” the response from the Special Education teacher went something like this:  “If you really have done everything you were supposed to and he is still failing, then we need to rewrite the IEP.”

Now, what this suggests is that when 1 and 1 are added and we get 3, we don’t try to figure out how to get 2, we just change the equation so that 3 is acceptable.

And, what is more interesting is that Special Education students make up just a bit more than 10% of the total student population nationwide.  While hard data relating to Special Education spending is awfully hard to come by, many organizations, including Students First, a group founded by former DC-area Chancellor and sometime controversial public figure, Michelle Rhee, published a statement in 2011 suggesting that about 21% of school budgets tend to be allocated for Special Education spending at the local level.   According to New England Cable News, “One noteworthy aspect of special education is that while Congress enacted the education policy for children with disabilities, states and districts shoulder most of the costs.”  So, indeed, it is expensive, accounting for seemingly far more of school funds than seems statistically logical, and those who pay for it are not those who demanded it exist in the first place.

k-> And, so, I find myself wondering why this educated, worldly (and beautiful!) Off Duty Mom can find more meaning and use in a Keanu Reeves movie than I can find in Special Education.

What say you?  Care to explain why I am a stupid jerk?  Hit up the comments section, yo.

Then and Now, Inside and Out

I will admit that when I sat down at my computer I had very little to say.  And, that, frankly, kinda scared the hell out of me.

Who am I if I am not a loudmouthed, sarcastic know-it-all who has something to say about everything?

I just don’t know.

My instinct, for some reason was to comment about Tupac.  I think it is because I saw a teenager wearing a t-shirt today that had Biggie and Tupac on it.  Tupac was flicking off the camera.  It made me think about the whole concept of rebellion and whether it was inherently good or bad — or neither — or both.

When I was a teenager, I remember there was a bit of a resurgence of 1960’s hippie fashion and culture.  I bought cheap babydoll dresses at Contempo Casuals and discovered The Beatles and people started tie-dying everything around them.  Then Hypercolor t-shirts became the post-modern pseudo-tie-dye reinvention.  Ugh.

And, during this time, I thought everyone over 19 was pretty fucking dumb.  They just didn’t understand reality.  This reality, of course, was whatever I believed it to be in my 14 years of wisdom.  No one, you better believe, was dumber than my parents.  They were super, ultra, extra dumb and could never hope to understand my world in all its complicatedness.

I was a rebel in my own mind.  I never got into any trouble whatsoever.  I once drove a car for about 5 whole minutes before I was 16 and had a license.  I never had to serve any penance for this crime, though.

anarchyYet, I empathized with those who struggled.  My soul seemed to identify with those who felt the need to revolt.  Maybe I listened to too many Sex Pistols songs or Sonic Youth feedback.  There was always a sort of fire in my tiny, adolescent belly that yearned to be in London (and be older), with my fist in the air and a snarl on my face.  I scrawled lyrics to Pixies songs on my school notebooks, then went to AP English class in my cheerleader uniform where I discussed philosophy and later filled out college applications to some of the more prestigious universities in my area.

I never felt like a hypocrite.  I just felt (then and now) that the person inside me didn’t always match the person I showed to the public.  Or the person my parents expected me to become.

I never rebelled.  Not in any real way.  And, I do think – now as an adult – that all of the teeny-bopper bullshit whining that I hear constantly about how adults don’t understand and the world is so cruel and the soul is so black and we’re just so misunderstood is played out and pretty fucking annoying.  I have become my parents.  But, I already knew that.

But, still, I kinda like seeing that picture of Tupac with a very adamant middle finger proudly on display on that kid’s shirt.  Part of me still identifies with the fuck-you attitude.

It is what makes me so charming.  And lovable.

The Weeds Behind Me

fire2

Today, I realized that it’s been lost
Sold and on fire, destroyed like Faust.
I recall seeing signs, blazing, “We will never forget”
But we did.

About everything.

A whole generation knows nothing of ones before.
They choose purposeful ignorance, opt to be whores
For attention.
It is about ME, they imply, not my Great Grandma Finch
Whose first husband died the night he was lynched
In Arkansas. Not Ar-Kan-Sas.

You might wonder why the schools don’t teach
About Booker T. and W.E.B.,
Wounded Knee, Kennedy, Gandhi and philosophies
Of togetherness.

Well, they do.

They teach it, over and over, to deaf ears and blind eyes,
To Orwellian automatons, in self-selected coveralls of
Skinny jeans, 60-dollar tees, an air of sleaze and a set of Beats.
And they cry about harassment, racism, and having to WORK,
Of sexist comments and how GW was a jerk
Without the slightest hint of irony at all for the absolute lack of knowledge and experience they possess.

All they know is Martin Luther King
Once upon a time had a dream.
And they can tell you that the dream was to end racism.

But, they can’t tell you a thing about Coretta, Malcolm, Louis, Rosa, Cesar, Bobby, or others who shared that vision
Except that one of those people sat down one time when she was tired.

They can’t pronounce “Tiananmen” because they’ve never heard of it.
Or “Gorbachev,” “Emmett Till” or even know of South Central before they burned it.

The only “Wall” they’ve lived knowing preceeds “-Mart.”
And it all makes me sad.

Worse yet, we try to teach a generation of kids who not only don’t know that their ancestors swung from trees in Birmingham, burned for the color of their skin,
But, they really don’t care.

This is a generation that wasn’t even old enough to remember the Trade Center collapse,
Let alone Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, or the Day the Music Died.
And, I first chuckled that teens had never heard of Nirvana, John Hughes, the Spice Girls or the Beatles.
Then I realized that this was an intellectual tragedy like I couldn’t dream of.
There was, kids, a world before Dubstep.

Believe it.

I used to write research papers by investigating information found in…BOOKS.
Now, the very suggestion of doing that would bring terribly confused looks
From students who appear to need to be surgically removed from their “smart” phones.
And I wonder when we will finally redefine the word “smart,” then.

They don’t know where they’ve come from and don’t care where they’ve been.
And yet they all think they will earn “big G’s,” drive a Lex and be freed
From the tyranny of their parents and the “system” upon turning 18.
And, they don’t know that when you’re 18, you’re still pretty stupid.

And, so Pat O’Leary hides the wire to his earbuds through his Hollister shirt
Adamantly refusing to read Swift or learn about how his ancestors survived tenement living in NYC
Only to be spat upon, labeled non-white, forever a slave to the New Country’s “dole.”
Because he couldn’t care less about how they paid the toll
For him to even sit in that seat and receive a book today.

Lily Locklear doesn’t even know she’s 3-quarters Crow
But, she’d rather chant in her head, “You don’t know –oh –oh”
“You don’t know you’re beautiful.”
Indeed, she doesn’t, but that is a whole different topic altogether.

And, Marcus knows how to design his own Nikes online and pay a few hundred for them,
But he’s never heard of Stokely Carmichael and he doesn’t own a pencil OR a pen.

Zooey is half Jewish. She thinks. Maybe.
But, she couldn’t tell you what that even means.
Is it a culture? A religion? An identity?
“What’s the difference, anyway,” she wonders as she draws on her hundred dollar jeans
With the same Sharpie she used to draw all over her best friend’s arm while they were supposed to be learning about Quadratic Equations.

And, it is a tragedy.

Not like the Challenger, which I actually remember.
But like that of the American Cheetah,
Which had existed but now is extinct
And our children’s minds, their heritage, their culture, their identities,
Too, are depleting, once having been beautiful, hopeful and strong.

I was not alive to witness Woodstock or Pol Pot; too young to really remember when AIDS first made the world stop.

But, I learned about them.  And, I grew.

And, now I say, “I, too, sing America,”
But the trail I leave behind me is growing thick with weeds and ugly from neglect
And, I can’t convince many 14-year olds to sing with me anymore.

 

Turn Up Your Radio (if you dare)

Remember when singers could sing?

My grandma used to tell me that it would never get better than “Moon River.”  I’d roll my eyes at her and wonder why she would refuse to get with the program and jump into the “current times.”

Now, I proudly say, GRANDMA KNEW HER SHIT.

I could write feverishly about how Auto-Tune has ruined contemporary performance.  And, I could go on for a really friggin’ long time about how the only real talent in America anymore just might be on stages, not in recording studios.

And I think about all of the bullshit in education.  The standardized testing.  The Common Core.  The state guidelines.  The benchmarks.

And nobody makes multi-million dollar artists sing for their suppers.  They could sound like…well..ME…and get a contract.  So long as they know the right people, end up in the right place, or own the right wigs.

We test the bejesus out of kids these days so that we can allegedly assess their understandings of literature, geometry, history, grammar, biology, algebra and chemistry.  In the end, the only people who actually end up answering for these assessments, though, aren’t the kids who either did or did not take them seriously, but are the educators whose livelihoods depend now on encouraging a 13-year old to sit for two hours and fill in bubbles accurately in silence.

Yet, we don’t require a goddamn thing — not even talent — from the demigods to whom we pay our sheckles for their willingness to make noises come out of their diaphragms.

Spectacular.

I propose an A Capella singing assessment be issued to all singing “artists.”  In fairness, I should have, perhaps, also put “singing” in quotation marks as well.

The airwaves would be very different.

Although, then, perhaps the only thing that might come of that would be that vocal coaches all over the country would get their salaries tied to how many of their pupils passed those tests.  And then the system would be all fucked up.

 

Many Thanks!

Off Duty Mom has reached its one year anniversary blogging at WordPress. 

Thank you so much to all of the readers who have helped motivate us to talk incessantly about varicose veins, the Lazy Town acid trip, potty training, wine consumption, bow hunting, Pinterest, sexual fantasies, snot, exhaustion and Snoop Dogg.

It has been a great year.  The Off Duty Family appreciates your support.  We thank you for visiting us on WordPress, Twitter and Facebook. 

Happy Holidays!

Owning Up

In a recent post, I lamented the fact that popular culture has generaly sucked of late and that my children are, essentially, growing up in a vacuous abyss of mindless, useless, thoughtless “entertainment.”

I admit today, publicly, on the internet, that it’s, like, not all bad or all that new.  In fact, I will admit here, for the first time, that I have, um, actually enjoyed the abyss.  A little.

Since my youth in the 80’s and 90’s, I have been interested in movies, music, books, and television.  Perhaps I have been too interested, really.  Nevertheless, I admit here today that there may be in inherent cultural standard for television-watching, or that there just may at least be some kind of a benefit to brain-rotting entertainment media altogether.

If I hadn’t had baseline familiarity with The Smurfs, Blossom, Saved By The Bell, and Saturday Night Live (when it was good), there would have been a whole slew of conversations in which I couldn’t participate.  The 14-year old version of water-cooler-conversations included chats about The Real World (the ORIGINAL in New York — how cute was Eric?) while we sat on the bleachers trying to do as little as possible in gym class.  It was hard enough just growing up.  Period.  But, to add in additional awkwardness and ignorance of youth culture and contemporary society was probably no better for my upbringing than watching too much Spongebob Squrepants would have been.  So, being the pop culture junkie that I am, have been, and always will be, I will now admit to a list of 10 awesomely awful things I admit I LOVE, even though throughout my lifetime of the late 1970’s to today, I have likely watched, seen, heard or read far more stimulating, interesting, valuable and relevant examples of American media.

Whodunnit?

1.  Clue – This is just about my favorite movie ever.  I can’t even pretend to be able to give you good reasons why it ought to be or why you should remotely agree with me.  It’s campy, pointless and was likely produced for $23.  AND I LOVE IT.

2.  America’s Next Top Model – This one hurts a little.  And, I would be lying if I said that admitting to enjoying this show wasn’t made easier by the fact that I am totally anonyous on this blog.

3.  LMFAO – IAM sexy and I DO know it, y’all.  This makes me dance in my car.  I hope they keep coming out with ridiculous music so I can blast this and sing loudly when I drop my kids off at school one day.

Ahhh..a sea of khakis, hair product and teen angst...

4.  Dawson’s Creek – I didn’t get into this until after it had really picked  up momentum, and I was a little older than their target demographic, but whatever.  Dawson.  Pacey.  Joey.  Awesomeness. 

5.  James Bond (even with Daniel Craig) – I am desperately in love with James Bond.  The character.  No matter who plays him (except maybe Roger Moore.  And Timothy Dalton).  And, he loves me, too.  I am sure of it.  Why wouldn’t he?  I am very lovable.

6.  Debbie Gibson – I am not so much of a fan today as I was at the height of both her fame and my adolescent awkwardness, but I was the ULTIMATE Debbie Gibson fan.  My first slow dance was to “Foolish Beat.”  The boyfriend with whom I shared that dance also loved the song.  And now he’s gay.  True story.  Not saying one thing leads to another.  Just sayin’.

7.  Jimmy Fallon – He laughes at his own jokes, breaks character, and is getting a little old for his man-child persona.  But he makes me laugh so hard I sometimes pee a little.  To be fair, though, after having two kids this is not hard to do.

8.  Entourage – No, people, it never sucked, never ran out of steam and never lost its edge.  And, I DO hope there’s a movie.  And, it WILL be better than the “Sex and the City” movies.  (How could it NOT be?  How could ANYTHING not be?)

9.  Real World/Road Rules Challenges – I DVR this and have the priority for it set on “high.”  I can’t get enough.  I am likely the only person who watches it religiously who knows what “Road Rules” even was, but that’s okay.  I have come to a place where I am at peace with my love of Johnny Bananas and Mr. Beautiful.  I really don’t need counseling for it at all.  No, really.

Tommy want wingie. Off Duty Mom want more Tommy.

10.  Tommy Boy –  yes, really.

There you go.  Therapy complete.  I feel better now, thanks.

You know, anyone can admit to liking John Hughes movies, Justin Timberlake, and Modern Family (which I do).  But only someone who is ready for real honesty will put it on the internet that she once owned a pink, knit Debbie Gibson hat.  Yup.

“Bikinis, zucchinis, martinis, no weenies”

 

With his phenomenal lyrical prowess, it is shocking -- shocking, I say -- that Juvenile didn't go further in his career.

The older I get, the older I get.

I barely understood my own youth culture half the time.

Then, I became a teacher. I thought I was young and easy to relate to at 22. But in actuality, I had no patience for or frame of reference by which to truly understand pants that start at your thighs, giant, tire-sized piercings or obsessions with Justin Bieber.

If I can’t even relate to a Juvenile (yeah–that was really his stage name. I don’t think irony was intended) song that came out the same year I graduated from college, I don’t know how I will be able to connect with my kids’ generation.

Yet, I still try to understand that song from the 90’s. I heard it today. Here’s what I gathered:

The gentleman insists that his female companion reverse her direction and move her pear-shaped physique in his direction. Repeatedly. Perhaps this young woman is afflicted with some type of malady that increases the size of her hindquarters and also causes her to be hard of hearing. If, indeed, she were suffering from hearing loss, that would be unfortunate since she’d miss the opportunity to hear the veritable cornucopia of words that rhyme with “yeah,” most of which, not surprisingly, are actually the word “yeah” itself. Fascinating.  And it doesn’t end there.

Ummm...it's not just me, right? I can't be the only one who doesn't understand how some people get to be famous.

Does Britney Spears really resurrect the world’s worst pick-up line from about 1982 and ask, “If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?”  Did Will Smith not teach his kid better writing ideas other than “I whip my hair back and forth?”  Did Nicki Minaj just say that her panties were coming off?  Did the Black Eyed Peas really tell me to, “Get up off [their] genitals?”  Just when I didn’t think it could get worse than “My Humps.”  But, then, I realized that J. Lo’s 2011 song features a briliant piece of artistry: 

“That badonkadonk is like a trunk full of bass on an old-school Chevy
Seven tray donky donk
All I need is some vodka and some shonky-tonk
And watch she gon’ get Donkey Kong”

>sigh<  I just don’t even know what to say about that.  Luckily, someone else did:  http://entertainment.ca.msn.com/music/photos/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=29514912&page=10

 

There's a novel idea: THINKING. Thank you, Chuck D.

I used to think that my parents were so lame because they thought that 10,000 Maniacs were a riotous punk bank (they must be with that name, right?) and that Nirvana was shocking for busting up so many guitars.  And, forget gangsta rap from my youth of the late 80’s — I wasn’t allowed to listen to it, but at least it had a message.  And a point.  If you tell me that 9-1-1 is a “joke,” I can at least understand your plight in the American ghettos and the idea that your community is continually ignored by the very system that is supposed to save human lives.  What I will not soon understand is Rihanna begging to be loved like she’s “a hot pie.” 

I don’t know what I would do if I had to listen to my kids hear Katy Perry ask to see someone’s peacock, cock, cock, cock. Honestly. That’s a real song, people. I wish I were kidding.

When my 3-year old is 16, what crap will he be listening to?  And what stupid shit is he going to do to his hair?

What I’d love to know is whether I am just old and out of touch or if popular culture is just becoming that much more vapid. 

Your daughter's role model. I actually found a picture that wasn't overtly sexual. Winning.

Of course, I prefer to believe that youth culture sucks.  I don’t think that’s all there is to it, though. 

Truth is, I am now my parents.  How did that happen?

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