Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gray Areas

So we were driving in the car the other night, listening to the Eels' "Daisies of the Galaxy" CD, and Ted and I got into a conversation regarding the gray areas of what language is acceptable for Arlo to hear when we're listening to music.

I brought up the topic because Arlo and I were both bopping our heads and digging the song "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues"--Arlo was even Waving His Hands in the Air Like He Just Don't Care--and why wouldn't we? It's got a great beat, a zippy summer kind of energy, and a wry sense of humor.

One of the things I like about it is precisely why Ted and I started talking about it. When the song first started, I said, "God, what a great song!" Then I remarked to Ted that I wondered if maybe I shouldn't play it with Arlo in the car. I said, "Just wait for the refrain, you'll hear what I'm talking about."

The lyric in question is: "Goddamn right, it's a beautiful day. (Uh-huh...)"

When Ted first heard it, he kind of shrugged and said "Eh. That's not so terrible." We listened for a few more minutes, and he said, "Hm, well, they do say it an awful lot..." and it's true, this phrase is repeated dozens of times throughout the song.

But it WAS a beautiful day.

I told Ted that I always skip over the song (from the same album) "It's a M*otherf*#!er," and I'm sure you can guess why. We both agree that it would be scandalous and WRONG and Totally Not Okay if the M.F. word should ever cross our son's innocent rosebud lips.

However. I think if Arlo turned to me one day and said, "Goddamn right, it's a beautfiul day," I might laugh--and agree with him. Then we might have to have some kind of conversation about how he can say that to me but NOT to any of his grandparents.

Am I too liberal?

1 comment:

Joel said...

We had a similar experience with Piers. While I am certain he'll come across "adult" language, we're trying to shelter him from it. That means making playlists of safe songs. I didn't think it would be that big a deal, but, when Piers started singing the lyric "Where are my Skoal Bandits" from the very catch Split Lip Rayfield song "Redneck Tailgate Dreams," we decided to put limits on what he hears. We are lucky it was the skoal bandits line that caught his ear. The preceding line is "I'll fighy you all, goddammit." Though, I don't know which line is more difficult to explain to innocent on-listeners. Is it more shocking to hear a 2 year-old singing "goddammit" or "skoal bandit?"