Thursday, April 19, 2007

How Rude?

This morning, during my driving lesson, a song came on the radio which got my instructor quite riled up. It's that one by Sandy Rivera (see above photo) about licking ice cream and lollipops and other such sexually explicit confectionary. It made him angry because his 5 year old daughter, who doesn't understand the connotations of what she's singing, often dances round the house belting out hearty renditions of the tune. It made me think of another couple of examples when innappropriate lyrics have been warbled by innocent voices.

I remember when I was a kid singing along (quite passionately) to "Girl I Want to Make You Sweat" by UB40. I'm not sure if I'd have been able to offer any suggestions, at the tender age of 10, as to what was making the poor girl cry but I certainly didn't clock the strong references to, what now seems to me, pretty forceful sex, bordering on rape. I had no idea. Even my grandparents would be subject to my sung tales of how I was going to push it, push it some more.

Another story that came to me was when I was in Manchester with Rhema Theatre Company and I stayed with a family one week while we were on mission. One evening the family invited me to join with them in a game of Playstation Karaoke. We got into pairs to play the duet game and I was teamed up with the family's 8 year old son. He chose for us to sing Maroon 5's This Love and I, not being wholly familiar with the song at the time (but knowing it was a good tune) was quite happy with this. The song started and I couldn't believe it. This 8 year old was happily and unwittingly singing about all the things that he does to keep his girlfriend satisfied and I, unsurprisingly, decided to opt out (I was unable to sing the rude lines because they were rude but was then unable to sing the rest for laughing). The father apologised and explained that his son, of course, had no idea what he was singing.

I guess this happens all the time in our current pop culture. I'm just not sure how to react to a child singing innuendos. Do you tell them not to sing it and then have to explain why? Or do you just let it slide because, as far as they're concerned, what's wrong with licking a lollipop?


Matt L said...

Yeah, I have so many sweet memories of being rocked to sleep by my mum as she gently cooed "Smack my bitch up".

In my innocence I of course had no idea the song was of course about the rigorous and violent world of pedigree dog breeding. I feel so cheated.

Liz said...

Sorry, gonna be serious here.

As a parent, I don't think I would WANT to explain the innuendo to my eight year olds, and I have have 2 of them in my house. However, there are times, particularly with my daughter, when she asks outright about something that she's heard and I can get away with saying stuff like, 'Well it's kind of rude' and she just blushes and says 'Oh'.The scarey thing is, I have the feeling that things are explained at school and some kids really know a lot.

I guess when she asks outright why it's rude, than I'll have to be honest with her and mention sex. She's aware of the connotation of the word because looking at application forms she says - OH IT SAYS SEX. I'm not over reacting at the moment, but she will need careful looking after.

As a kids worker though, I don't think it's our place to be explaining innuendo to children, but if, as a case study, it was really rattling you, you MIGHT want to mention something to the parent - 'Little Johnny was singing THAT SONG and he might ask you what it means at some point' Problem there is that the parent might need the lingo explained to them as well.

Oh no - now I've got to do that word verification thing:)

Yep - here I am again.

Glyn said...

Yeah sorry, the word verification thing bugs me as well. I had to put it in because I was getting a lot of spam comments. If you look at my posts in July of last year sort of time you'll see what I mean - they're very strange.

Liz said...

Hi Glyn, sorry I have re - read my response to you and the word's 'I don't think it's our place....'etc, make me sound a little as if I'm not sure, so for the record:

It is most certainly not our place to explain innuendo to children and if you are really concerned that language or behaviour is inappropriate, speak to your Safe and Sound Co-ordinator ( or CO if at the Corps or Dean Juster at THQ)

Hope that really clarifies it for you - sorry to be so serious, but we have to be so, so careful.

lucy ar said...

Ew, I remember singing that song too when I was a tike, and even took part in singing "Lick ya bum bum down" on the way home from Army at Nunhead no less! (Do you remember that one, he wanted to be Vanilla Ice)
Also Glyn, it is fabulous when you procrastinate as with your bumper blogging you enable us all to join in with the deferring till morning.
AND about the dirty sheets thing think about all the energy saving you are doing by not changing them, you eco warrior you. I am with anonymous- changing sheets is WELL overrated.

Mitchenstein said...

I can't believe it - I have had that song on my mp3 player for years and listen to it all the time (Maroon 5, not Snow: Informer - although I always thought it was 'lick ya boom boom now') and I had no idea that it had suggestive lyrics - I never pick up on that stuff.