We are able to stand and fight with great passion, courage and an unyielding sense of right and wrong for environmental issues. We see our planet in peril and we know we must defend her. The facts, the statistics and the scientists help us and solidify our arguments, but our hearts tell us we must do what is right.
We are able to stand and fight with great passion, courage and an unyielding sense of right and wrong for civil rights and the rights of minorities. There is no doubt in our minds or hearts. Equal pay for men, women, minorities. Equal protection under the law. We are on rock solid ground.
Our instincts are keen. We rebel instinctively against any attack on our basic rights. Freedom of Speech is one of our most sacred rights. Sexual freedom is another. The right of a woman to control her body, her future and her destiny are beyond debate.
So when the Southern Baptists and the censorship fanatic Parents Television Council and several other conservative groups launch a very public and well coordinated attack aimed at these rights, we react instinctively.
Except.... Today's target is Britney Spears, an easy target if there ever was one. Spears is having one sensational comeback. God knows she had hit the lowest depths. She had no where to go but up. Her new album Circus is topping every chart. Her first two singles off that album, Circus and Womanizer, are super hits. You can hear them on virtually every pop and adult contemporary radio station in America.
The problem arises with the record companies decision to release the third single from the album, the obviously suggestive "If U Seek Amy." Let's let Southern Baptist Kelly Boggs tell the story:
|"If U Seek Amy," is offensive, inane as well as immature. This means with the state of American popular culture one step below the gutter the song likely will be a success. Only a week after it hit American radio it is already 92 on Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 chart.|
While it is true that lyrical depth has never been a feature of American pop music, Spears' "Amy" scrapes the bottom of the barrel. In fact, it seems as if the song's only purpose is to provide the framework for a refrain that is on par with the worst lyrics found in rap music.
The lyrics of the refrain are: "But all of the boys and all of the girls are begging me to if you seek Amy." The fact that the written lyric makes no sense is really not the problem. Quite a few rock song lyrics have not made much sense. However, what Spears does phonetically when she sings the song makes all the difference. When listing to the song, there is no doubt she is spelling out one of the most offensive words in the English language.
If U Seek Amy = F-U-C-K Me.
Cute. Actually, it is cute. And I strongly disagree with Boggs analysis of the song. It's the strongest song on the album. If kids (or anyone) really listens to the song and lyrics it is really about a person longing for an unattainable icon. It is a story of a tragically overinflated ego. But few people will ever submit this song to this type of analysis. For one reason the song is fun and catchy, fast and danceable. It is going to be a huge hit at clubs.
But what about our teens and pre-teens? As this hits radio stations, what messages are we sending? One reviewer, who I won't bother to link because he is a compete idiot, claimed that young listeners would never pick up on the double entendre. Instead I'll quote a young lady named Cassie who added this comment to a lyrics site:
|*snort* I love this song. My mum still doesn’t get it, so lets me listen to it when I’m driving my grandmother to work. My school played it at a dance. Thank you Brit for being tongue-in-cheek. It lets us pull one over on my school and my mother.|
I O U 1
Don't ever underestimate our children. They get it. The current efforts to play a "censored version" are certainly not going to accomplish a thing. For one thing the song is all over "You Tube." It's spreading like wildfire.
But back to my question. What messages are we sending to our young teens and pre-teens? Read this cautionary essay written for the UK Daily Mail by Olivia Lichtenstein, "How the faceless and amoral world of cyberspace has created a deeply disturbing... generation SEX"
|Remember that Hilaire Belloc cautionary tale - Matilda told such dreadful lies, it made one gasp and stretch one’s eyes? I used to love it as a child when telling lies was one of the naughtiest things you could do: Matilda ended up getting burned to death.|
These days, however, everything has changed and it’s the truths that children tell that make one gasp and stretch one’s eyes.
A couple of years ago, my daughter Francesca, then aged 13, told me about a party she had been to one Saturday night.
In the course of the evening, she came upon one of her friends, also aged 13, performing oral sex on a boy in the garden. The boy was standing and videoing the event on his mobile phone.
I apologise for shocking you, but then there are a number of things shocking about this event: the casual nature in which such an intimate act is performed in public, the young age of the participants and last, but by no means least, the fact that it is being filmed.
How do we, as liberals, handle this continuous onslaught of sex and sexual message directly at our teens and preteens? Do we join the conservative outraged parents in Australia and America are demanding radio stations stop playing the song? **
If not, what message are we sending? Can this problem be fixed? How? You realize it's not just this one song.
I hope you will all discuss this issue in the comments section.
**Additional link: MUCH MUSIC: Racy Brit Song Angers Parents