Things We Don’t Show Our Children



Many of the Rock & Roll songs I love best are dying away. Not because they are bad or aging. We don’t want our kids to know them.

About the time your father started listening to music there was a catchy, lovely song called “Alone Again [Naturally].” A lovely song about a man contemplating suicide by throwing himself off a nearby tower. I still like the song, but the odds of you hearing it from Charles are, well…. You have probably gone past episodes of MASH on TV. A lovely instrumental theme be cause no one wanted the responsibility for the lyrics to “Suicide is Painless” on television every week.

A man called Meatloaf had a song called “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.” Very good, rocking music. Most parents don’t want their children listening to songs about what young couples do at night while sparking. Actually, it is pretty innocent if conflicted. My friend, Dan, says he’ll introduce Meatloaf’s music to his children. Dan is saner than most. Janis Ian had a cultural phenomenon with “At Seventeen” but many parents want to forget the pain of teen-age years.

There was a writer called Robert Heinlein. Heinlein’s voice didn’t really speak to me, but he was the most influential Science Fiction writer in the world. At times he was one of the most influential writers of any genre. His fiction threw off powerful ideas like a grinding wheel throws off sparks. He had no problem outraging readers. [ If you are interested read. Movies made of his books seem diametrically opposed to the books themselves.] I would love to recommend two of his books, but there is a problem. In the 1960’s, when American culture was considerably more open and free than it is today, he lowered his inhibitions and discussed ideas, rationally, that are considerably beyond the pale today. Heinlein was interested in alternative forms of sexuality and marriage. He was, perhaps, an occasional nudist. And one of his marriages is said to have been an open relationship. His last marriage, in fairness, lasted over forty years until his death.

In these days of young people supporting homosexual marriage and thinking themselves open and sexually free, Heinlein’s books can cause flame wars unheard of when they were published. I would love to recommend “Time Enough For Love” or 70 percent of it. But the other 30 percent causes arguments. Character assassinations. One thing Heinlein had was a rational definition of love. One I find myself in total accord with.

Much of Rock Music is that way. I still hear Elton John but not his “Crocodile Rock.”

In high school there was a lovely song called “Lola” by the Kinks. I had a bit of a crush on a girl named Lola. I really liked that song until a figured out what it meant. Turns out it was about a man getting picked-up by a Lola who turned out to be a guy. Lovely song. I doubt I’ll recommend it.

[Update 10-27-13] Lou Reed died. I remember hearing a great sax solo on the radio and a nice dark bass line. Years later I did an internet search and found that the song was about transvestite male prostitutes who were associated with Andy Warhol’s ‘Factory.’ Not a song I wish to explain. Or a milieu.

Is this the way is should be”

Questions, comments concerns?

Uncle David


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