Thursday, June 12, 2008

Now That is Some Banjo Playin'!

Now, y'all listen up. I don't know much, but I do know me some good banjo pickin' when I hears it. I want to go to a show where everybody gets a seat suspended on a giant elastic band. Oh my!

Can we not all just dance when we hear the music?

Tricky Dick, MTV, and Being a Parent

When I was a kid, the three of us, me, Mom, and Dad used to sit at the little dinner table in our kitchen each night for dinner. Tater tots, pork chops, and reconstituted frozen lima beans. Dad would hold forth on events of business, politics, and culture, in his own modified suburban white Archie Bunker sort of way. My Dad loved Richard Nixon. He considered himself one of the Silent Majority. He thought Vietnam was a worthwhile endeavor to thwart the commie threat. He never understood the civil rights movement.

And so now, 35 years later, I feel I have been, in some ways, transported back in time, and the roles are reversed. I am playing the uptight, ultra-conservative parent, confused at the responses of my kids to culture.
But after watching The Merchants of Cool earlier this week, I am wiser about the poop that is being foisted on our youth, all in the name of hipness, but really with the intent of making money. Lots of it. And MTV is a big part of the force.

Those of you who are parents, or are even thinking about becoming parents will want to watch this.
Want to know what is going on? First, go take a look at one of the most recognized market research firms in youth culture, LookLook. These are the people that study youth culture, and then tell the giant marketing machines what is the latest, the coolest, and the most. Another good source of cultural overview can be found in the books of the Merchants of Cool producer, Douglas Rushkoff.

So, is this a battle? Are we in a fight for the character of our kids? Well, I do not do well with the language of war in the attempt to win the hearts and minds of young people. I prefer groups like Young Life, they do a much better job. However, the machinery of marketing to youth is large, formidable, and determined. Its about making money, and clearly, the moral ramifications of how money is made just do not matter.

Read the comment on the post below from my friend Scott, who has spent a number of years in the entertainment business. Often, I feel like I am watching our culture unravel. Save for the grace of God, I feel helpless sometimes.
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