Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wake Up, Wake Up

Oh crud, I'm sick! But I'm having one of those bursts of energy that happen during illness, usually conveniently right when I could/should be taking the opportunity to get some rest.

So here's what I've been wanting to write about MG. It's a sad thing, sort of. But funny:

She's discovered vapid teen pop music.

A few weeks ago, she started incorporating a new routine into her nightly living-room performances. Along with the somersaults and dances, she'd do this chanting/droning/sort-of-singing thing where she'd go, "Wake up! Wake up! on a Saturday night! Maybe New York! Maybe Holllllllywood imbine! London! Paris! Maybe Tok-eee-yoo! Sump'n goin' on, aaaaanywhere I go, toniiiiight....." Then with a big finish, she'd jump down and splay out her arms and go: "I'm.......Indian Girl!" [I know. I cringed. But I feel I must report the whole thing.] "I'm......Cheetah Girl!" [another jump, another splay,] "I'm..... Hilary Dove!!"

Because I occasionally do crawl out from under the rock where I live, I recognized that last reference as a mangled version of "Hillary Duff," teen sensation and Disney property (The Mouse strikes again!). A little investigative Googling produced this, and then this.

If I were as clever about childrearing as I am about tracking down information, I would've waited to do all this until MG was in bed. Instead, she heard me playing the 30-second RealAudio sample Amazon provides, and insisted on listening to it over and over, until it embedded itself stickily in my brain, torturing me for days.

"Is that her?" she asked, pointing at the image on the screen. "Is that Hillary Dove?"

"Hillary Duff," I corrected, pedantic to the last.

"She's even prettier than I thought," she breathed.

Somehow she wormed out of us the information that this song, in addition to being passed around on the playground like a virus, exists on a CD that can be purchased for money. So now it's on her birthday list.

I knew this day would come. I just didn't think it would be this soon. RW and I are consoling ourselves that at least she's had high-quality musical influences for the first 5&1/2 years of her life: The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Broadway musicals, Richard Thompson, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Lucinda Williams, Barenaked Ladies, Dan Zanes...

I know, I'm a music snob. We both are. But it goes beyond that: this is the first time that my kid is the one introducing me to pop culture, not the other way around.It's kind of a shock.

I know this is just the beginning. But her taste's gotta get better, right?


Blogger GraceD said...

Dear Els,

In regards to your pressing inquiry, the answer from this mother of a 14 year old daughter, my answer is an unequivocal no.


And, no.


10:11 PM  
Blogger witchtrivets said...

That is very funny.

I have no children, but my little sister used to put on similar shows to Madonna in the 80s. My sister did grow up to share some similar tastes in music with me -- Joni Mitchell, singer songwriters, etc. Yet she still hates Lucinda Williams. There may a correlation, but I am not sure. And it took her until her 20s to come around. I am thankful there was no Hillary Dove back then.

Hope you feel better (physically and emotionally about the next 13 years of questionable music).

5:38 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

You realize, of course, that the only way to drive her back toward good music is for YOU to start liking/bopping to "Hilary Dove". If you like it, it will no longer be cool. ;-)

I guess I'll enjoy B's Who Phase while I've got it.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

(Sticking my fingers in my ears)

La la la la la la I can't hear you!

Here's my question, though. Why is this such a gendered phenomenon. Where are the marketers who want to sell crap music to little boys? Why is my son free to go on liking CSN&Y, but my daughter will be expected to like Hilary Duff. Why, I ask you, why???

8:47 AM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Phantom--From what I can tell, the marketers are too busy selling crappy violent video games and/or licensed-character trading cards to the boys of the world to bother with music. Consoling, no?

and, Phantom and Rachel--I honestly dont't think you need to worry much; both/all 3 of your kids display the early stages of a charming disregard for the common herd. MG, on the other hand, has always been twitchily on the lookout for the latest happening thing. It's just that, until this year, the latest happening thing didn't bug us much. (Well, there was/is that Disney Princess crap. But not music so much.)

Grace--Right. Okay. Thanks. So, next question: is it too early to buy the kid an iPod of her own (not that we have one ourselves) so we at least don't have to hear the stuff? Or is that cheating?

wt--hah! (I have to admit that as a child of my time, my first thought was, "But Madonna's GOOD!")

9:06 AM  
Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

Here's how my sister handled this one. She didn't let the girls buy CDs, but did allow them to listen to pop music on the radio. Then I blew it by giving the girls ITunes gift cards as a valentine's gift. (I didn't know the rule). Sister then let them buy their 10 songs each from itunes, but made the rule that they couldn't buy more than 2 songs from a single singer. They don't have ipods--she burned the selections to a CD, mixed in with songs of her own. She's actually moved on to giving them an "allowance" of one more song each month from itunes, with the same "no duplicates" rule, and while they still have their hillary duff and other irritants, they've surprised her by trying new stuff every month--some of which is okay by her standards, and is always mixed with 50% adult choice music. Sister's big deal was to prevent those little girl crushes on singers that end up in adopting clothing styles and values of the singers. It seems to have worked.

10:14 AM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Wow, ppb, that is BRILLIANT. We don't even use iTunes-- we get our music the old-fashioned way, off the radio and CDs--but this would be a good way to start. I'm going to fwd your comment to RW, who is the Music Major of the House, and also has the only computer in the house that's new enough to burn CDs. Thank you!

And re. my earlier comment above: that would be "the boys of the United States," not "the boys of the world." Yet. I hope.

10:49 AM  
Blogger liz said...

Her taste will get better sometime around college.

Until then, it's bubblegum music.

You may want to buy her Pianosaurus's CD, Groovy Neighborhood. I think she'll like it. I know you will.

9:07 PM  
Blogger GuusjeM said...

Well, the used ones are only $4.08 cents on Amazon. At least back when we had records they could "break" or get scratched - that's what happened a really vile Disco Mickey Mouse back when my two were MGs age. No such luck with CDs. they are indestructible.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous badgermama said...

We are deep into MC Hammer, that one song "Flip Fantasia", Rapper's Delight, and De la Soul over here... also, Pink. I like Pink. A little cussing... but not too bad.

Parliament is also quite excellent.


The Aquabats!

Katrina and the Waves!

Cyndi Lauper...

Chaka Khan!

10:38 PM  
Blogger That Girl said...

Boys DO get it marketed to them - only its Eminem instead of Hillary.

PPB that IS brilliant.

I was going to say the only thing I did (which seems to have kept some taste in the mix) was to discuss what the songs mean with my son.

Since most good modern music is lyrics driven, it at least made him consider meaning.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

I was going to say, it could be worse. You could have an Ex who listens to Rob Zombie in the car. Ahem.
But then I thought about it...Rob Zombie...Hillary, I dunno...

9:58 PM  
Blogger LilySea said...

One morning in a hotel room, Cole turned on the Dizzny channel in a desperate attempt to quiet Nat for ten minutes and that bimbo appeared.

I would have preferred ice-picks through my eyeballs first thing in the morning.

And I shudder with horror that my not-at-all-straight-blonde-haired daughter will get to an age at which such a spectre is her touchpoint for feminine beauty.

But how can it possibly be avoided? Passing around the playground all viruslike as you point out.


10:03 PM  

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