Four Great Songs for Dispensing Parental Philosophy
That's right, I'm using Supertramp, the group John Cusack's character railed on in High Fidelity. I told you I wasn't a typical record store geek (like I said in Five Statements Guaranteed to Annoy a Music Elitist, I make elitists nuts). Besides, Cusack's character was wrong.
How can any progressive, agnostic parent not want his kids to think about the words and concepts behind Rick Davies and Roger Hodgeson's wonderful cautionary tale about socialization and conformity? I want them to question the dominant paradigm. Even if it's me.
When they reach adulthood, if my kids can still be blown away by nature, and the magical mysteries of the universe, then I assure you I will be happy about it. If they understand and stray away from the bullshit pressure and prestige of the machine - and understand that the machine won't like it when they do - then I'll be a proud papa.
Last week I worked up elitists by saying that Paul wrote more good songs without John than John did without Paul. I'll stand by that one.
But you've got to give it up to John on this magnificent song. He had the guts to suggest that we do away with religion, country, and possessions - to challenge the core Christian notions of heaven and hell - and the musical ability to put it all together in such a simple and sweet way that he didn't take any shit publicly for it... in 1971! (The song was actually charted by both Andy Williams and Ray Conniff within a year of it's release.)
It's utopian for sure, but you can bet your ass I have talked, and will continue to talk, about it's high ideals with my kids. There's nothing wrong with imagining great things - in fact it's where all life-changing ideas start - and I'd rather teach them to imagine a place without wars, religions, and countries than blindly indoctrinate them into the patriotic, faith-based ignorance that American culture tends to perpetrate.
John was a dreamer. He's not the only one. I hope my kids will join him.
Technically, the philosophy I'm advocating here isn't a lyric in this song (it's like a little studio comment). OK, if you must know, I didn't even first hear the philosophy from John Lee Hooker, and it wasn't even this song. I first heard it from George Thorogood in his popular live version of John Lee's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" (which is sort of a live amalgamation of both Hooker songs).
So what is it Record Store Geek...you want your kids to drink lots of alcohol? So they can really catch a buzz while they're illogically imagining putting a new coat of paint on society?
Oh, settle down. Of course not.
I would never advocate drinking more than two different kinds of alcohol in one session. Two's the limit for alcohol types (not drinks, of course.)
But seriously, my Parent Hood philosophy for this song is solely based on one line:
"I know, everybody funny. Now you funny too."
It's one of my all-time favorite "lyrics" because it reminds me that everybody is flawed. Everybody's crazy. Nobody's perfect. No matter how things may appear. That's what makes this whole wacky world so interesting.
I want my kids to remember that. They're not the only weirdos out there. There's no such thing as normal, so just be who you are.
Because everybody funny. Now you funny too.
Til next week... thanks for reading.
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