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College Campus Cultural Change; also, Musical Fluff

Posted Jul 22 2008 8:20pm
We're going to take a break from the serious today, but for some interesting commentary on the gender gap in college, be sure to check out Richard Whitmire's blog.  Whitmire speculates on the possible social consequences of the growing lopsided gender balance on college campuses--especially related to how it might affect marriage and courtship on a broad scale.  To be honest, courtship on college campuses had already greatly eroded by the time I was in school--though I suspect it was related more to the sexual revolution than anything else.  The new question is how the shortage of men on college campuses might affect the search for "marriageable mates." And now for the fluff, wherein I will describe a frivolous behavior of my own son and expand it wildly into a larger statement about boys.  So, without further ado, here are the top 5 songs that my four-year-old insists on listening to when they come on the radio on the way to the grocery store: 5. "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys.  I want to blame the video game Rock  Band for this, since I know it's in the playlist, but my husband almost never plays it, so I'm not really sure where this is coming from.  My son is not allowed to watch MTV (though that's really irrelevent to the question of whether he can watch music videos) but perhaps he has some sort of ESP about cool cop show spoof videos?  In any case, I have to admit that it's kind of hilarious to hear insistent requests to listen to, "Sam-a-tage." 4. "All the Small Things" by Blink-182.  Well of course he likes this one, the lyrics include about two minutes of, "Na na na na na."  And when you're four, life really is all about the na na nas. 3. "Hey Ya" by OutKast.  Probably the least surprising of the bunch.  I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't like OutKast's "Hey Ya."   It's quite an accomplishment to create a song that can win over DJs, investment bankers, and people who occasionally put their shoes on the wrong feet. 2. "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden.  This is definitely the fault of Rock Band, seeing as it's one of the few songs that my husband can play on drums on expert.  And it is slightly disturbing to hear your preschooler demand that you let it play.  I thought about forbidding it on the grounds that it has a creepy video and morose lyrics, but I couldn't begin to tell you what those lyrics mean.  And my short internet search has revealed that no one else can either.  Including the writer, apparently. 1. "What I've Done" by Linkin Park.  I know, I know.  It's not something I'm proud of, believe me.  But let me explain.  You see, this song is prominently featured in the Transformers live action movie.  Transformers is, of course, a marketing and merchandising juggernaut about good robots who can turn into vehicles that fight bad robots that turn into planes.  I don't know if there is anything on earth more interesting to a small boy than a robot fight that includes planes and trucks, and I'm pretty sure that this is what my son thinks this song is about.  And considering how expensive an Optimus Prime toy is, I'm happy to confine the robot battles to the imagination with only a little accompanying soundtrack. So what have I learned?  Well, little boys like guitars, drum solos, and emulating their daddy.  It's always a little disconcerting to see how your smallest habits get picked up by your kids, and sometimes it takes repeated requests for a Linkin Park song to hammer home how pervasive that influence can be.  So take it from someone who would be happy if she never had to listen to "Black Hole Sun" ever again, be aware of how pervasive pop culture can be and how easily your tastes can be absorbed by your children--especially if you're not a big Soundgarden fan.
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